Meet the 8 Chinese Tech Giants You Need to Know
The New Chinese Dragons
Think the American startup scene is amazing? Just check out what China has to offer.
Despite massive inequalities and a litany of human rights abuses, the nation’s strange hybrid of free-market insanity and state-controlled socialism has led to one of the biggest booms in human history.
LeEco: The Netflix, iPhone, and Spotify of China
Founded in 2004 as a streaming video service, Letv has quickly grown to encompass a mind-boggling array of offerings. The company launched in the States in October 2016, offering low-cost televisions, smartphones, and audio accessories. That’s in addition to the music streaming service, wildly futuristic electric car, smart bike, and sports broadcasting businesses the company has spun off in China. In July last year, LeEco also announced the purchase of Vizio – the biggest US manufacturer of televisions – for $2 billion
CASC: The SpaceX of China
The state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is the country’s main contractor for its burgeoning space program, producing launch vehicles, satellites, rockets, an experimental space station, and deep space exploration products. In a decidedly less appealing vertical, the company produces China’s tactical missiles and defense systems; they also manufacture armed combat drones that have been sold to the U.K., Italy, and Saudi Arabia.
Didi Chuxing: The Uber of China
Didi Chuxing, formerly Didi Kuaidi, managed the seemingly impossible – beating Uber at their own game. In July 2016, Uber sold their Chinese operations to the ride sharing and taxi hailing service, pulling out of the country. Apple has invested $1 billion in the company, and in March, Bloomberg reported that SoftBank is considering a $6 billion investment.
Alibaba: The Amazon of China
If you’ve heard of a Chinese tech company, it’s most likely Alibaba, very possibly the world’s largest ecommerce company. Founded by school teacher Jack Ma in 1998, the company now encompasses Alibaba.com (a B2B trading platform), Taobao (a C2C shopping platform), and Tmall.com (an online retail store). That’s in addition to Alibaba’s payment platform, cloud computing services, film studio, and ownership of South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s newspaper of record. In May, 2014, the company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange with the biggest IPO in history – the stock price is nearing its all-time highest, and investors speculate the future looks even brighter.
Baidu: The Google of China
Taking a cue from their American counterparts, search engine giant Baidu has not remained satisfied resting on its past success. The Beijing-based company hopes to launch a commercially-available autonomous car; in the meanwhile they have opened up their driverless car tech in an effort to become “the default platform for autonomous driving”. Their partnership with Amazon should cement their role as China’s de facto search engine for years to come.
Xiaomi: The Samsung of China
Xiaomi sells about 5% of all the smartphones in China, and while that number might not impress you, consider that the country is home to an estimated 1,000 different phone manufacturers. Their Mi smartphones are priced close to the cost of materials in an effort to drive sales of software and services. Xiaomi has also launched fitness trackers, smart home products, smart TVs, and tablets. In May 2015 they began selling inexpensive tech accessories in the U.S., among them a well-reviewed Mi Band fitness tracker for $15. And their recently released Mi Note 2 smartphone has been called “close to perfection“.
Jiayuan: The Tinder of China
Dating site Jiayuan was founded by female entrepreneur Gong Haiyan, whose rise from high school dropout to massively successful founder deserves to be read. With more than 5.3 million monthly active users, many of them paying, Jiayuan was traded on the NASDAQ until its early 2016 merger with competitor Baihe Network, valuing the company at $250 million.
Sina Corporation: The Twitter, Tumblr, and Huffington Post of China
Shanghai’s Sina Corporation is a media giant that offers Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform; Sina Qing, a “light blogging” service similar to Tumblr; and Sina.com, the largest Chinese-language news portal in the world. The company debuted on the NASDAQ in early 2014; it currently has a market cap of nearly $5 billion.
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