Friday, May 20, 2005

China's Future: A Nation of Geeks?

From Fortune: China's Future: A Nation of Geeks?

"You already knew that most of your electronic devices are made in China. But it is becoming state-of-the-art in the use of technology too. For instance, China has 350 million cellphone users, according to Information Industry Minister Wang Xudong, who spoke at the FORTUNE Global Forum earlier this week in Beijing. That’s more than any other country in the world. As for the Internet, about 100 million Chinese are already online. That puts it No. 2 behind the U.S. As more and more of its 1.3 billion people get online in the next few years, China will lead the world in this too. And it won’t be long before it becomes the world’s largest market for personal computers (it recently passed Japan to become No. 2)."

"Yahoo’s Terry Semel and eBay’s Meg Whitman, both of whom played prominent roles at the forum, both told me that China could represent the largest part of their business in 10 years. (...) But while Yahoo and eBay are global tech giants, their market leadership in China is not pre-ordained. This country is too entrepreneurial for that. The biggest web portals are local—Sina and Sohu. Both are among the world’s top 10 Internet sites in terms of traffic. And eBay is facing tough competition in China from Taobao, which entered the online auction market later than eBay, but made its listings free, forcing eBay’s prices down. Both now claim to be No. 1 in China, but it’s a hard-fought battle, made more so by Yahoo’s auction joint venture with Sina."

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