Daily Digital Pulse Of China: Bitcoin, Alibaba, QR Codes & Tencent
Alibaba to expand global footprint
The battle for mobile messaging applications rages on. Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba invested heavily in WhatsApp killer Tango. With an investment of $215 million the 4-year old California-based messaging application Tango is valued at about $1 billion. Tango has over 200 million registered users spread across the US, Europe, The Middle East and Asia. Not only does the move help Alibaba pave its way to an upcoming and possibly the largest public offering of a Chinese company in the US, but also strengthens the company’s position in mobile. This expertise might come in handy, as last year Alibaba launched its messenger Laiwang to compete with Tencent’s WeChat. Just like WeChat, Tango is more than just a messenger. It’s also a content platform with video, social and gaming. Therefor Tango could contribute to further overseas expansion of Alibaba’s online commerce business.
Tencent may team up with JD.com
Tencent Holdings Ltd, China’s largest Internet company, and online retailer JD.com are discussing to combine their E-commerce business. Currently JD holds about 13 percent of the online retail market share. Therefore a partnership with Tencent might help to narrow the gap to market leaders Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China’s dominating E-commerce operator. It is, however, still unclear how the prospect for any binding agreement would look like.
Chinese mobile Internet users reached 500 million
The number of Internet users in China has reached 618 million, while the mobile Internet usage arrived at 500 million subscribers in the end of 2013. According to a report released by China Internet Network Information Center the development theme have shifted from “quantitative change” to “qualitative change” during 2013.
Source: I Research China
QR Codes No Where To Be Seen – Except In China
The black and white scan codes are nowhere to be seen in the US and Europe, but in China they are thriving. In the mist of all Chinese social networks, the checkerboard-like codes are enjoying a comeback – much thanks to WeChat who brought life back to the 90’s trend. One of the reasons why QR codes are so popular in China might be that many of the consumers are more used to mobile internet than desktop computers. Scanning with the phone comes more naturally than typing a web address. Chinese users scan codes to enter contests, connect with brands on social media or to buy products. According to Imageco, 113,6 million QR codes were scanned in China in October 2013, a 38% increase from the previous month.
Source: Ad Age
Alibaba Offers TMall Global
Tmall Global has officially been launched this past Wednesday. The new subsidiary platform will allow overseas brands and merchants to sell directly to Chinese shoppers. The domain is www.tmall.hk, and will be independently operated. This effort represents a big push into overseas expansion. The platform offers a direct delivery service, in which all purchased goods are imported to China via international logistics companies whilst implementing proper customs processes. The new B2C marketplace currently offers four categories of merchandise: Mothers and babies, food, cosmetics, and clothing and shoes. Alibaba will soon expand the range of categories to enhance its porfolio of products. More than 140 companies, homes to over thousands of international brands, have opened their businesses on Tmall Global. In general, Tmall Global will be great for wealthy Chinese shoppers to buy their desired overseas products directly online, and for young shoppers who want to buy foreign-brand fashion without the heavy luxury.