China is a bastion of giant tech firms from Huawei and ZTE to Xiaomi and Alibaba
As one of China’s largest internet companies, Tencent provides a wide gamut of online services, ranging from web portals to social networks and multiplayer game; think of it as a mixture of Amazon, Google, Facebook.
It is arguably best known for its Tencent QQ instant messenger services, but its WeChat mobile chat service similar to WhatsApp has been making waves. The difference is WeChat has more functionality, offering the ability to make payments, play games, order goods and enable other apps to offer services within the application effectively making it as much a platform as a mobile application.
While Tencent and WeChat are very much a Chinese phenomenon, it appears to have its eyes set on thr global stage having partnered with British designer brand Burberry back in 2014 to allow the clothing company tom make its own WeChat apps to provide live streams from its fashion shows.
Like the lovechild of Twitter and Facebook, Sina Weibo is used by more than 30 percent of China’s web users and has more than 600 million users including 120 million active daily users. It’s not quite the same scale as Facebook’s 1.5 billion users but the microblogging service has certainly got a following.
The company has got embroiled in the past with concerns over censorship, but it remains a platform that can still offer Chinese citizens a place to voice their opinions, though within limits.
Detractors of Xiaomi have called it a rip-off of Apple, but the phone and device maker is far more that just a Cupertino-influenced brand. Sure its smartphones and tablets have more than a little whiff of Jony Ive’s design language, but it has a much more open approach to it products than Apple.
Xiaomi welcomes people to make their own products and sell them through its Mi online store and its sells quality smartphones at massively slashed prices so as to build up an evangelised community who buy into its services where it spins most of its money.
The company also has a broad line of smart devices, from scales and light bulbs to TVs and blood monitors, which is has made by other companies it has invested in. This approach has allowed Xiaomi to operate at the size of a tech giant with a mere 8,000 staff, demonstrating to established tech trims outside of China that there are different ways to approach the industry.
Furthermore, creating a hardware ecosystem backed up by a vast community of Chinese followers has catapulted Xiaomi into the stratospheres of success in a mere six years after being founded in April 2010. This success now has Xiaomi looking at extending its reach further on an international level.
And the rest
China may have some big tech players but it also have a thriving startup community, though at a scale that dwarfs that of London’s Tech City. From Shanghai to Shenzhen, China now boasts tech startups working on everything from consumer drones to wireless agricultural sensors. The advantage these startups have it their potential to scale on well a vast scale thanks to the huge population of the nation.
So while China enjoys a gargantuan bout of shopping, there is no doubt its tech companies will be lining their coffers and looking at growth that would make Silicon Valley a little green around the gills.