OPINION30 October 2017

China’s terrific three

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In the West, the ‘Fearsome Five’ – Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft – dominate market power and thinking to such an extent that it is hard to appreciate that in China, the world’s biggest consumer block, the media ecosystem is overwhelmingly dominated by Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu. But how much do we know about these Chinese titans in the West? By Lorna Tilbian.

Tencent officers media, entertainment, payment systems, internet and mobile phone value-added services and operates online advertising services; it has a market capitalisation of $350bn. It is one of the largest internet companies globally, leads in gaming,  and owns mobile chat service WeChat. 

Alibaba is China’s leading e-commerce player and overtook Walmart to be the world’s largest retailer, with gross merchandising volume equal to Amazon and eBay combined. It has a market capitalisation of $360bn. 

Baidu, the leading Chinese search engine, has a market capitalisation of $60bn. Of the ‘Terrific Three’, Baidu, the smallest in market capitalisation terms, appears the most ambitious. Founded in 2000, Baidu spends 16% of its revenues on R&D and was recently rated the second ‘smartest company’ globally by MIT. 

The focus of Baidu’s strategy is the shift from mobile to Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Interaction has evolved from a PC with a keyboard and mouse (two hands) to mobile devices with touchscreen displays (one finger) and is now moving to voice controlled/conversations with ...