Today is Singles’ Day in China, an extravaganza of discount shopping that makes the US’ and UK’s Black Friday looks like a trip to the local shop to buy some milk.
Amidst the furore of purchases of everything from clothes to homeware items, technology is also on offer, and it is with that segway that we shine a light onto China’s most interesting tech companies.
Under its group banner are web portals for sales services, electronic payment services, a shopping search engine, cloud computing services backed up by data centres, including one in Silicon Valley, and an eBay aping consumer to consumer portal called Taobao.
That’s plenty to keep most companies busy, but Alibaba also has a research and development division, a recently launched Netflix-style streaming service called TBO, and is even flirting with virtual reality. Suffice to say Alibaba has fingers in tech pies and show no sign on settling with the string is already has on its harp-esque bow.
The latter used to be dismissed as cheap smartphones loaded with spyware, but now Huawei offers flagship mobile devices that can challenge the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC in the premium stakes, particularly with the newly announced Mate 9.
The company ins now a true tech giant with R&D instituted dotted across the world and even an investment into artificial intelligence (AI) research showing that the company is not content to rest on its laurels.
But mobiles are just one feather in its cap, with ZTE offering GSM telecoms equipment, operating a network carrier division, as well as offering wireless, exchange, and optical transmission products.
Since it was founded in 1985, ZTE has grown well beyond China with subsidiaries worldwide and partnerships with telecoms giants such as BT. And, like Huawei, ZTE has its CGO innovation laboratory signalling that it will look to push into other technology areas as well.
Lenovo has also made headlines with some major Western acquisitions – most notably IBM’s PC and server businesses as well as Motorola’s mobile division.
In 2015 it was considered to be the world’s largest personal computer vendor in terms of unit sales, and while it might lack the appeal of Apple devices or Asus laptops, the company has grown from China into more than 60 countries. It also has a healthy research division in China operating in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen to name but a few locations.
Compared to some of China’s technology companies, Lenovo is the elder statesman, but it nevertheless stands as an example of how China can have a serious role in the technology world.
See more of China’s tech giants on page 2…
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