Due to Baidu's flying shares, the interest in Chinese Internet companies has increased a lot in the last few weeks.
As a consequence many visitors have come to my weblog to find information about other promising web companies from Middle Kingdom. So I've decided to make a short overview on China's leading internet companies for those not yet familiar with China's online sector.
Portals, Search, Online Media
Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine
with a market share of almost 70% (Google 23%, Yahoo 3%). Besides the search engine Baidu also operates very popular search query-activated message boards (Baidu Post Bar), a social question & answers service (Baidu Knows) and an online collaboratively-built encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia (Baidu Baike
Sina is the leading internet portal
in China. Most of China’s netizens go and check Sina for breaking news at least once a day, giving Sina a similar position in the news market like CNN and MSNBC in the US.
Sina is also one of the biggest blogging service providers in China(Blog Sina
) and together with China Telecom they are operating the fast growing video sharing platform Sina-Vnet Podcast
Sohu.com is a well established online brand in China and Sina's archrival. Sohu’s most important web properties are Sohu.com
(search engine - market share 2%); Chinaren.com
, an online alumni club; 17173.com
, a games information portal and Focus.cn
, a real estate website. In an attempt to gain an edge over its competitors, Sohu bought the right to create the official 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
website and to use the logo in marketing.Tencent QQ
(SEHK:700 Hong Kong; not traded on Nasdaq)
Tencent is China’s instant messaging (IM) king
. Its flagship product Tencent QQ, generally referred to as QQ, is the most popular free instant messaging service in China with a market share of almost 80% (over 250 million subscribers). Tencent is quickly leveraging its IM leadership into other business lines, including online media (QQ.com
Portal), mobile & telecommunications value-added services , online gaming, e-commerce (Paipai.com
C2C auctions; Tenpai.com
online payment ) and online advertising services.Tom.com
Tom Online is a leading mobile Internet company in China that offers an array of wireless internet services such as SMS, MMS, WAP, wireless IVR (interactive voice response) services, content channels, search and classified information. Tom Online is also operating the quite popular Internet portal Tom.com
. In 2005 Tom Online partnered with Skype
to provide Skype Voice over IP (VOIP) communications services in China. Tom Online also holds a 51% stake in Eachnet.com
(formerly known as EbayEachnet) - a joint venture created with eBay
Tudou.com, known as "the YouTube
of China", is the leading video sharing website in China. As of August 2007, Tudou had 28.84 million weekly unique visitors and 360 million weekly clip views according to Nielson/NetRatings.
However, it is not clear yet if Tudou can keep its leading position in the future as China’s internet giants Sina and Tencent have launched their own video sharing sites – and not to forget the fact that there are already at least 150 similar services available in China.E-CommerceThe Alibaba Group
The Alibaba Group is the largest e-commerce company in China and operates the world's largest online business-to-business marketplace
As of September 2007, the Alibaba Group is made up of 5 companies:
1.) Alibaba.com: Alibaba International
is now the world's largest online business-to-business marketplace, with more than 500,000 people visiting the site every day and 3 million registered users from more than 200 countries.Alibaba China
is the largest B2B marketplace for domestic China trade. As of June 30, 2007, it had nearly 21 million registered users across China.
: Within three years Taobao has dethroned eBay as China’s auction king
and is now the largest C2C online auctions platform in China with a market share of between 70% and 80%.
3) Yahoo! China
: In October 2005, the Alibaba Group acquired Yahoo! China
and formed a long-term strategic partnership with Yahoo! Inc.. Under the agreement, Alibaba owns and operates Yahoo! China, with exclusive rights to use the Yahoo! brand and technologies in China. (In exchange, Yahoo took a 40 percent stake in Alibaba.)
: A service similar to PayPal and now one of the leading Chinese online payment systems.
: Alisoft provides web-based business software services for SMEs in China.Ctrip.com
Ctrip is the leading online travel service company
in China with a market share of almost 50% (Zacks Equity Research). Ctrip provides all kinds of travel related services including hotel reservation, air-ticketing and packaged tour services. Other activities include Internet-related advertising services and hotel management operations in China.Dangdang.com
Dangdang.com is China's version of Amazon.com
. They are the biggest online bookstore with a market share of around 27%, slightly ahead of Amazon’s Chinese subsidiary, Joyo.com
, which the Americans purchased in 2004.Online GamingShanda Interactive Entertainment
Shanda is one of the leading operators of online games
, especially massively multiplayer online role-playing games ( MMORPGs
), in China. They were the first company in China to license and operate online games from abroad.
Shanda has recently aquired Chengdu Aurora Technology Development, a Chinese developer of 3D online role-playing games and also increased its stake in Korea's MMORPG developer Actoz Soft Company to 50.1%.
The most important MMORPGs that Shanda operates at the moment are The Legend of Mir II
, Dungeons & Dragons Online
and The World of Legend
NetEase online games business focuses on offering massively multi-player online role-playing games to the Chinese market, known as MMORPGs.
Unlike its main competitors Shanda and The9, Netease has developed most of its games in-house. Netease’ flagship product Fantasy Westward Journey
is the most popular online game in China.
Besides its online gaming business NetEase also operates 163.com
, the third most popular web portal
The9 Limited is a Shanghai-based online game operator with the exclusive license to operate and distribute World of Warcraft
in mainland China. Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft
is the world's largest MMORPG in terms of monthly subscribers. As of June 30, 2007, approximately 8.3 million accounts have been registered and activated for the World of Warcraft game in Mainland China.
The9 has also obtained exclusive licenses to operate additional MMORPGs in China, including Granado Espada
, Guild Wars
, Soul of the Ultimate Nation
and Ragnarok Online 2