By @. Review of China’s Mobile Economy by Winston Wenyan Ma. Managing Director of China Investment Corporation (CIC), the sovereign wealth fund of China, with a focus on long-term investments in large-scale concentrated positions. Prior to joining CIC, he served as the Deputy Head of Equity Capital Markets at Barclays Capital.
Mobile first and mobile only!
China is different, and China is the way the future is going, and, if it works in China, it is going to work next and massively in India, quickly followed by many of the other mega-sized Asian population countries such as Indonesia, and then Thailand, Vietnam, and also in Africa too.
For those of us with an outsider’s view of China this is a great book to read. By the end of the first page you will understand what BAT is (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) and why they have such a big influence on every area of commercial life in China. There is already a growing awareness that we are evolving from the time of merely made in China, to innovated in China.
Winston Ma’s book helps drill into more detail about what this means, what this is, and how it will play out, both for these companies, China and the wider global economy too. Chinese companies have already invested large amounts of money in successful Silicon Valley startups, so ensuring that there is already a cross fusion of innovation and influence going both ways. Previously too, outside observers would have simplistically described WeChat as a version of WhatsApp, except that it is clear that you can do a whole lot more on the former. Again this brings you back to the consideration that China has developed a massively successful commercial ecosystem through mobile first, and invariably often mobile only. This is a completely different model to how e-commerce was rolled out in the West. Ma’s book helps explore what this means, what the implications are of this now, and going forwards.
Chapter 9, ‘ Going Overseas’ also explores what happens as Chinese companies then look to build and grow in other countries like India, so creating a scenario not dissimilar to that experienced by Western companies looking to tap into the Chinese market. Ma does not see it all playing out well for lower spec Chinese phone companies here, potentially exposed to getting squeezed from above by Apple and from below by cheaper India competitors.
If you want to get a better grasp of how things are in the world’s largest trading entity then this is a smart book to take the time to read. We enjoyed it, and also intend to watch the Chinese big three (BAT) carefully to help spot what the world’s future probably looks like.