China, the New Tech Superpower ?

Large companies can be located all over the globe. For instance, auto companies can be found practically anywhere on a map. Ford (USA), Toyota (Japan), Volkswagen (Germany), Hyundai (South Korea), Volvo (Sweden), Tata Motors (India), and Magna (Canada) are just some of the biggest companies involved in the production of vehicles or parts. While the banking, pharma, energy, and retail industries also have geographic spread as well, the same cannot be said for the rapidly-growing tech industry.

Among the 20 largest tech giants globally, zero are located outside of the US and China.

No alt text provided for this image

45% of the world’s 20 largest tech giants are Chinese.

China’s Internet giants used to be called copycats for creating clones of Western social media platforms back in their home market – but those days are long gone and that trend is now in reverse.

Today, global Internet companies are looking to replicate Chinese concepts – from models such as the all-in-one super app, to social commerce as well as short videos. The China Internet Report (authored by the South China Morning Post and its sister site Abacus) delves into China’s drive to be a global leader in innovation and examines opportunities and challenges facing its technology-led industrial transformation.

Companies such as Facebook, GO-JEK (Indonesian ride-hailing company), LINE (Japan’s messaging app) are now moving towards the super-app model, originally pioneered by the Super Apps WeChat (Tencent) and Alipay (Alibaba / Ant Financial). WeChat and Alipay offer users a range of services from making mobile payments to ordering food deliveries, that can all be accessed without leaving the app.

China is also leading the way in social e-commerce as well as short video. The short video craze was popularised by TikTok, an app by Chinese company Bytedance, that allows users to post 15-second video clips. TikTok took the world by storm and became the most downloaded app on the iOS app store for five consecutive quarters.

No alt text provided for this image

Another key trend for China technology this year revolves around China’s ambitions to lead in next-generation 5G technology networks. China currently holds the most number of 5G patents, and has 5G pilot projects going in over a dozen cities with a total population of 167 million.

Artificial intelligence is also being used on a massive scale in China, with applications ranging from paying one’s subway fare or checking into a hotel using facial recognition, to making custom recommendations for online shopping or browsing news online, the report found. AI is also used widely for surveillance purposes, such as helping authorities track down fugitives on the run or enforcing traffic laws.

Tech companies from around the world are taking cues from new digital innovations and new tech business models in China driving the fourth industrial revolution.

The China Internet Report will be essential reading because of China’s internet industry’s growing global influence. It helps to better understand the vibrant dynamic internet landscape in China and its digital innovations that drive the transformation of payments, blockchain, retail, e-commerce and education.