The digital landscape in China is in a constant evolution

The digital landscape in China is in a constant evolution

The past weeks in China have been fantastic—this time I had the chance to explore China beyond Shanghai and Beijing. Even though I travelled to Shanghai at the start of this year, I'm still fascinated every time I arrive in China by how the digital life here is so different from the rest of the world. Here is a perspective: the only app from my home screen on my phone that works here without a VPN is LinkedIn.

New companies are coming onto the scene every couple of weeks in China. This constant transformation and intense market competition are cultivating a unique culture of innovation. For example, in China, the lines between search engines and social media are already blurred. Every digital platform (WeChat, Weibo, RED, Douyin) can be categorised as a social-search platform. Outside of China, we barely have one i.e. Pinterest. New classes of tech and use cases for digital platforms are being created here in China.

Baidu-Alibaba-Tencent (BAT) companies are pushing the boundaries in digital marketing and creating China's digital experience infrastructure that cannot be found anywhere else. In the context of digital advertising, new media buying types (cost-per-hour: CPH) and client experiences (O2O) are being tested. The lines are also blurred between traditional e-commerce (+social commerce) and in-store shopping experiences.

WeChat has been in the spotlight for a while and has launched numerous features: mini-programs, new functionalities (search features, subscriptions, etc.) and e-commerce features. Read more about it on JingDaily.

Life without WeChat in China is difficult: from commuting on the metro/taxi to buying groceries. I have wondered if this is a good thing or not. Should big tech (whether it is China or not) have so much command over what is becoming more and more public goods and services?