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Major new Chinese Internet report released

by Tom Pattinson
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The South China Morning Post has released a major report revealing the key Chinese internet habits and trends. With just a few Chinese internet giants playing a dominant role, the research reveals that social is a priority for them, that government support is often key, and that the internet is fast arriving in rural areas. Released at the RISE conference in Hong Kong in July, the China Internet Report gives some of the deepest, and most current, insights into China’s digital revolution available.

First introduced in 2017 by 500 start-ups, this year the report is published by Abacus, the Morning Post’s digital news arm, who have identified four overarching themes across the industries investigated.

Chinese internet giants are doing everything

Internet behemoths Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT) are present in all burgeoning tech, with the three companies investing, building and acquiring business across all the 12 industries analysed by the report.

Chinese internet empowers rural communities

Internet access in rural China is rocketing. In 2017 there were 209 million rural users, with a penetration rate of 35 percent, whilst 10 years previously, in 2007, there was just 7 percent penetration. This has meant that 55 million rural students are now taught through live-streaming classes, whilst just under 500,000 online shops are run by rural households.

55 million rural students are now taught through live-streaming classes

Chinese internet companies embrace ‘Social+’

E-commerce often integrates social at the core of their business model, but other online industries, such as news and language learning, will also use it as a means to drive user engagement and growth.

Government is the visible hand

Government plays a key role within the ecosystem, with the report arguing that business, particularly in areas of finance, can live or die depending on the degree of government support they receive.

Other key takeaways from the report include a massive shift to cashless; US$ 15 trillion of transactions were made using mobile payments in 2017. China also holds a leading place in online gaming; in the same period, there was US$ 30.8 billion in gaming revenue, a quarter of total global income from the sector.

“We are all about unboxing China tech for the rest of the world, and this report fits that mission,” said Ravi Hiranand, executive producer of Abacus. “China’s internet population is huge and its tech sector is vast, but this report helps to break it down by giving you a curated look at key trends and companies that you need to know.

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