Web Strategy Field Report: The Hong Kong and China Web Sphere (Part 1 of 4)

(Left: Hong Kong Harbor at night)

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Summary
I ventured to Hong Kong and met with many of the web industry leaders, below is part 1 of 4 of my Web Strategy Field Report to understand the web sphere in Hong Kong and China. If you’re a web strategist with global responsibilities you’ll need to understand what’s happening in one of the world’s largest internet user base.

Opportunity
To date, there are more Chinese internet users than all of North America combined, and only a portion of China is full online, the potential has not yet been tapped. Simply re-skinning your website in Chinese and adding a ‘.cn’ domain may not be a sufficient strategy.

Purpose
I want to understand the global web better, and am doing what I can to learn more. It’s easy to become very insular in the Silicon Valley bubble, so if you’ve any suggestions, please leave a comment

Methodology

30-60 minute formal or casual interviews. I’ve met several successful Entrepreneurs, Investors, Analysts, Professors, CEOs, Strategists, Bloggers, Podcasters, and Marketers during this period.

Limitations

Please note this field report is incomplete. I’ve neither the time nor resources to do thorough analysis, and do a 360 degrees research. The information and anecdotes collected are from interviews with those that I met. As always, a web strategy and plan should have thorough research completed before starting. If you disagree or have other data points to add (even if it’s just your own opinion, I welcome them in the comments, please don’t be shy).

“The screen is getting bigger for a reason, some kids are playing 4 MMORPGS at once”

declared Yet Siu, the CEO of Outblaze over lunch at a fine seafood restaurant on Lamma island. He’s noticed that some youths in China and HK are playing up to 4 MMORPGs or web games at the same time…each in it’s own window.

“Mini –Homepy (pronounced mini-home-pie) aggregates one’s network”

Is a new feature coming out of South Korea that aggregates one’s network and is like a filter for an individual. If you want to communicate with an individual, you will go to his mini-homepy and leave a message. It’s a combination of a blog, homepage, aggregator, and message board an individual. I did some searches for this product but didn’t find much.

“America has never seen an Alibaba”

On more than one occasion has a few strategists told me about the success of Alibaba. What is this website? It’s an online marketplace for small to medium sized businesses, a site that has no North American relation or comparison. It sports a storefront (free) for any company, and those that wish to upgrade can add video and other features for a fee. Some companies pay up to $5,000 a year. In fact, the company is due to go public soon, and investors are expecting the stock to split within the first 24 hours of IPO. (so I’m told). Ther are 24 million registered users (compared to how many US users) with

“The internet industry is grouped in the Software industry”

Unlike the United States the internet is listed and categorized as a subset of the Software Industry. In the US, internet is often clearly separated from desktop or enterprise software, and we strive to maintain that separation. Over time, this may change in China as well. For many web professionals, they clearly see the web as an evolution to re-purpose desktop applications in the browser, and then the mobile web.

“There are 1.4 million new broadband users in China every month”

During a presentation from China Mobile various stats were given. Although this growth seems massive only 10% of China is on broadband, I believe the stat in United States is around 70-80% (from memory)

Stick around next week, I’ll be releasing part 2. If this was helpful or even if you have some contradictory information, please leave a comment.

Update: I had a great conversation with Carleen Hawn of GigaOm’s Found|READ, she’s summarized much of what I’m reporting back to you all.

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