Web Strategy Field Report: The Hong Kong and China Web Sphere (Part 3 of 4)

(Left: Teacher and her School Children, Mainland China)

Navigate to other reports
| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |

Summary
I ventured to Hong Kong and met with many of the web industry leaders, below is part 3 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).

“China blocked Feedburner when they were acquired by Google”

thus making stats for subscriptions using Feedburner highly innacuriate. Why? China already has more internet users than all of North America combined…any many are learning English.

“Koreans are separated by 2-3 degrees at the most, but don’t feel comfortable chatting”

The old saying that everyone in the world is connected by 7 degrees may still be true, but in South Korea, folks are highly connected and can easily find others.

“Asians don’t have a recovery system for failure, therefore the dating websites are scary”

In American culture singles (and sometimes the married) clamor for online dating services. In Asia, rejection hurts, is fierce, and there is no recovery from it, so Asian dating sites have a very tough time getting started. Web Strategists should be aware of reward mechanisms and failure systems that allow passing and failure, the culture is different. Who told me this? An already multi-successful web entrepreneur.

Tencent QQ is a chat feature that’s used as a Social Network for young teens”

Active discussions occur on this IM tool, which is the world’s third largest. There are virtual coins that can be used to upgrade one’s avatar or blog.

“BBS (bulletin boards) are popular and China, so why would Social Networking be important?”

asked a CEO of a stealth startup in Hong Kong’s Innocenter to me. Technographics studies may indicate that individuals may like to join networks, participate, but may not want to demonstrate relationships in the world wide web.

“Chinese Culture [mainland] doesn’t do a lot of real world social activities, so applying that to the web is challenging”

He questions if there’s real value in Social Networks, what can an individual learn or gain in such a network. For many, the process should be: Meet, then exchange contact information, then information, then add real value needs to be shown. For many Chinese, the value is not yet realized.

“Chinese bankers don’t have time to use social networks, they’re going to use the newspaper and their blackberries”

Tells one investor analyst. His focus in his career was to provide research to busy bankers, they’re not likely to share online, unless direct contributions will result in return.

Love to hear your commentary, even if you don’t agree. Stay tuned for part 4 next week.

Navigate to other reports
| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |