a16z Podcast | China and Tech | Summary and Q&A

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January 2, 2019
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a16z
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a16z Podcast | China and Tech

TL;DR

The big tech companies in China, such as Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, are often misunderstood, with their business models and revenue sources not accurately portrayed in the West.

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Key Insights

  • 😃 The big tech companies in China, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, are often misunderstood in the West, with their business models not accurately portrayed.
  • 🚗 Chinese companies are innovating in areas like logistics, ecommerce, messaging, education, and mobile payments.
  • 😀 Chinese consumers rely more on third-party app stores than Google Play, highlighting the need for entrepreneurs to consider various distribution channels.
  • 😀 Tencent's WeChat is a multipurpose messaging app, offering features ranging from taxi bookings to celebrity following.
  • 🏙️ The growth of ecommerce in China is driven by the adoption of online shopping in second and third-tier cities.
  • 👻 China's dense population and low labor costs allow for experimentation and innovation in logistics and customer experience.
  • 🔬 Chinese companies are investing in and exploring opportunities in the U.S., offering mutual learning and cooperation.
  • 🐕‍🦺 The Chinese mobile ecosystem, dominated by Android without Google services, presents opportunities for foreign developers to tap into the Chinese market.

Transcript

hi this is Chris Dixon this is a 16gb podcast I'm here today with my colleagues Benedict Evans and Connie Chan and we were going to talk about tech in China so Connie has been a lot of time thinking about China I think just because a lot of people who might be listening is don't really understand the landscape there could you just give like a quick... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are the big tech companies in China?

The big tech companies in China are Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, commonly known as the BAT companies. Additionally, emerging companies like Xiaomi are also gaining attention.

Q: What is the main source of revenue for Tencent?

Contrary to popular belief, advertising is not Tencent's main source of revenue. They generate the majority of their revenue from games and value-added services, such as in-app payments.

Q: What is unique about WeChat?

WeChat, created by Tencent, is an innovative messaging app that offers various features beyond communication. Users can order taxis, send money, order food, follow celebrities, and get local traffic updates through the app.

Q: How have U.S. websites and services performed in China?

Google has not succeeded against Baidu in China. However, some U.S. startups, like LinkedIn and Evernote, have found success by partnering with local companies for better market penetration.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The big tech companies in China are Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, also known as the BAT companies, but there are also emerging companies like Xiaomi to watch out for.

  • Tencent's main source of revenue is not advertising, as commonly believed, but rather games and value-added services, like in-app payments.

  • WeChat, created by Tencent, is an innovative messaging app used by Chinese consumers for various purposes beyond communication.

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