It is well-known that China has the largest Internet population around the world, but it is much less of a common knowledge when it comes to what the Chinese Internet landscape is like, such as the trends and regulations. The China Internet Report 2018 (“the report”) recently published by Abacus News covered some themes of the Chinese Internet landscape, which provides an inside look of this unique ecosystem.
Chinese Internet giants are doing everything
Unlike the Internet companies in the US, which usually focus on a specific solution or related ones, the Internet giants in China are expanding their reach to every corner of the Internet. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT), the three biggest Internet companies in China, has each established their own empire covering a variety of industries through either building solutions internally or through investments and acquisitions. These vertical industries range from e-commerce to sharing economy to messaging and social apps.
However, BAT’s expansion did not slow down the thriving of startups. According to the report, Beijing is the top startup city in China with 61 unicorns and a total valuation of $305 billion.
Chinese Internet empowers rural population
The Internet provides people with additional resources they need but do not have access to locally, especially for rural populations. As of 2017, there are 209 million rural Internet users in China with a penetration rate of 35%, according to the report. They are catching up with urban populations in online shopping and entertainment and may become the main force in driving some companies’ success. Pinduoduo, for example, the latest Chinese company to go public in the United States, has a large consumer base in rural regions in China.
Not only do rural populations obtain resources from the Internet, the Internet is also becoming an important channel for rural populations to earn additional income by selling local products on e-commerce platforms, such as Taobao.com, owned by Alibaba.
The government is the visible hand
Recently, a new Director of Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) was named to oversee the Internet regulations in China. The new director, Rongwen Zhuang, will also be a key point of contact for foreign technology companies doing businesses in China, according to South China Morning Post. China is likely to enforce stricter policies on foreign companies, as Facebook’s business license in China was withdrawn by the CAC within days after it was approved by a local government agency.
The current scrutiny of illegal Internet content will continue. Delivering content from a server located in China without a valid ICP license is considered illegal. To learn more about ICP license and requirements, click here. ChinaCache also offers the Hong Kong delivery option for companies that do not currently have ICP licenses.
Nevertheless, what is trending right now may go out of style in a short period of time. In 2017, there were dozens of bike sharing companies in China, all trying to get a piece of the pie. Majority of those companies did not even last a year. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay on top of what is going on in China.