Baidu’s Adventure in Japan

November 19, 2008

Perhaps the most discussed topic during my trip in China was Baidu’s decision to enter the Japanese search engine market in January 2008. It was the first thing that came to mind of just about everyone I spoke with on the topic of my study. Following a nearly year long study of Japanese-language search technology and localization, Baidu’s expansion plans were first announced at the end of 2006. In a reaction on earnings for the fourth quarter in February 2007, Robin Li said the company would spend $15 million, 14 percent of Baidu’s total budget in 2007, trying to replicate its home market success in Internet-savvy Japan.

Getting Started in Japan

Earlier in May 2006 Baidu had announced Read the rest of this entry »

PICNIC Special on Social Gaming

October 4, 2008

Facebook + gamingA PICNIC special that I was particularly interested in on Friday was the Games go Social organized by Ex Machina, an Amsterdam based company that enables social gaming across mobile, web and broadcast. As described in the PICNIC program guide the session was promising: industry leaders, interesting case studies and panel discussions with visionaires were planned to give attenders a deep insight into the future of Social Networking (SN) and gaming.

The special started of with an interesting and clear presentation from Kristian Segerstrale, CEO Playfish, a social games company. Based on deep insights in both the gaming and SN market he was able to express why social gaming is the next logical step for both industries. In order to increase the life cycle of existing SNs such as Facebook and MySpace they have to improve constantly otherwise users will not come back and get bored of the service, social gaming will make the users come back. Kristian argued that the gaming industry is missing out a large piece of the market because there are a lot of emotions that the gaming industry has not tapped in yet, namely Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Language and Interface Design

September 16, 2008

While in most Western languages vertical lists are perceived as easier to use, given the writing and reading orientations, research has indicated that for Chinese users a horizontal menu in either English or Chinese is more effective. This makes sense because the writing and reading flow – the intrinsic reading and writing directions of the language – in the Chinese language is mostly vertical, from top to bottom. As a result of the different reading flow native Chinese netizens will scan a screen differently from netizens that have been raised with the Roman system.

The screenshots below show the the basic interface structure of Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook vs. Xiaonei + a lot of questions

August 28, 2008

Nicholas Guan did an interisting test on the popularity of Facebook compared to other market leading SNS in Asia. He based the popularity on the amount of times the SNS were searched for in Google. As Nicholas mentions this could possibly result in a less representative outcome since not Google but Baidu is market leader in China.

There are several spikes in the graph of Facebook users in China. Especially at the end of May there seems to be a sudden interest in Facebook. Also at the end of June of this year it seemed that Facebook was catching up fast during that time. It would be interesting to do a more thorough research on this while taking the popularity of the search engines in a country into account.

Furthermore according to the graph Xiaonei is becoming less popular. So according to this graph it would mean that Chinese netizens are losing interest in both SNS Facebook and Xiaonei! Is there another Chinese SNS that is growing in popularity (51.com, QZone?) or is Social Networking in general becoming oldfashioned in China?

I wonder how much these numbers are influenced by the differences in Baidu and Google users. Are Chinese netizens that use Google instead of Baidu different than their Baidu counterparts? A hypothesis could be that  Chinese Google users are more experienced compared to Baidu users, Chinese Googlers use their Internet more for information rather than entertainment? Anyhow, you can find the full Asia SN popularity test here.

Tangos Chan on the Chinese Internet (Beijing 05/13/2008)

July 29, 2008

This post contains parts of a 2 hour interview I did with Tangos Chan from China Web2.0 Review. Among others I asked him about his views on the globalization of Chinese Internet companies, the future of the Chinese Internet market, and the role of VCs.

Pieter-Paul Walraven: What are your thoughts on Chinese Internet companies going abroad?

Tangos Chan: Actually most of the Chinese companies will not consider a globalization strategy so far because the Chinese market is huge. So if they can serve this market well they could become very big companies. Look at for example Baidu and Tencent. Of course there is also the language barrier. I think an English language service in the US such as Google is automatically a global service because it serves all the English speaking people. In China companies are bound to be a Chinese service.

So I think there a really 2 kinds of services that will consider to go abroad. Firstly it is the very big companies such as Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Farmer Builds Airplane

July 2, 2008

I found this remarkable video today: a creative Chinese farmer that has built his own airplane. Prety cool to see how he lifts off from an ordinary road as the people are watching him from the sidewalk. Respect!

It seems that more and more people in the rural areas are getting into private-made tech stuff! Is there a trend coming up of autodidactic farmers in China? Check out this submarine or this story of a guy that has built his very own helicopter! Also farmer Wu Yulu is into home-building; he makes his own robots.

Patterns in China’s Economic Development

June 20, 2008

\'four tigers\'

The emergence of the Chinese economy has many similarities with the past emergence of the Japan and the ‘four Asian Tigers’ Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Republic of Korea. Even though there are major differences in the economical climate for these tigers they have all gone through a certain development pattern in order to sustain their growth. Private domestic investment, combined with rapidly growing human capital, were the principal engines for growth.

Chronologically their development pattern looked something like this: Read the rest of this entry »

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and P2P in China

May 27, 2008

PPStream PPLiveAccording to this wikileaks source the U.S. government and entertainment industry are jointly working on a multi-lateral agreement concerning intellectual property rights. By creating a new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement they hope to stop the growing use of peer-to-peer (p2p). The so called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will turn the facilitation of p2p possibilities without making any profit into an illegal activity. The paragraph on the criminilasation of fileshares is already described as the ‘Pirate Bay killer’.

What would this implicate for China Read the rest of this entry »

Earthquake and Stock Prices

May 23, 2008

Last week China went through three days of national mourning for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake. As I mentioned in my previous post major portals as Sina, Sohu, and Netease decided to show their content in black and white and were limited to news only. Entertainment websites had to cope with the mourning more drastically: during the 3 days the government restricted access to entertainment content both on the Internet and broadcast media. China-Daily reported the following about it: “All public amusements will be suspended for three days from Monday.”

Perfect World:PW stocks plunge because of the mourning?

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Back home with a bag full of interviews

May 19, 2008

Keeping up with the latest earthquake newsI am back in the Netherlands after a very succesfull time in China. What a great 5 weeks it was! When I look at my extensive business card collection I realise how lucky I am, how many people I actually met, and companies I visited; its almost unreal! Now that I am back it is time to structure and process all the data I have sucked in, and it is a lot:

I have collected around 25 hours of interviews, nearly 5 kilos of booksleafletsreportsanalyses, and a fortune worth of digital reports made by some prominent research companies. Furthermore I have a lot of new Facebook and LinkedIn contacts, around 150 pictures, AND, last but not least, a Read the rest of this entry »


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