The New Internet Giants – by Maarten Schäfer

During my perpetual trip ‘Around the World in 80 Brands’ I spot global trends. One of them is the rise of the new internet giants.

What is it about?

Chinese and Asian internet portals such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are growing massively year by year. Are they set to become the new Internet Giants?

What does it mean?

We’ve all heard of the ‘Internet Giants’ – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – companies that have grown with dizzying speed and have spread their tentacles more widely than any other companies before.

But while these giants are still firmly holding their ground, new Internet Giants are already rearing their head in Asia, with listed firms worth almost $300 billion, a figure which is constantly rising.

In fact it’s all a question of scale: with a population of over 1.4 billion, China’s potential for growing an online market is huge. Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea are already the world’s third and sixth largest ‘e-tail’ markets respectively.

Shanghai

Shanghai


Why is it important?

I’m here in Shanghai at the moment preparing for a number of meetings. My first reflex is to Google people and to try to connect with them on Facebook. But our familiar giants don’t function here – a stark wake-up call that the much-hyped ‘globalisation’ is not as globalising as we imagined. Here we use Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent to find what we are looking for and connect to new business relations and friends.

Maarten Schäfer

 

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