Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Beijing are everywhere in China’s huge internet ecosystem

The South China Morning Post in conjunction with a US venture capital firm have published the 2018 China Internet Report.

* Whether it’s building, investing, or acquiring, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are present across the internet ecosystem.

* China Internet Empowers Rural Population – The number of rural internet users in China reached 209 million in 2017 with a penetration rate of 35%. The internet has contributed significantly to the development of ecommerce, education and media in rural China.

* China’s Internet Companies Embrace New ‘Social+’ Model. Chinese ecommerce companies have adopted a Social+ model where their business is anchored by a social pillar that drives user engagement and growth.

* China’s Government Is The Visible Hand. Success or failure in China’s internet landscape, especially media or fintech, is contingent upon government authority.

* Among all of China’s 124 unicorns – private companies with a valuation of US$1 billion or above – 50.8 percent are controlled or backed by BAT, according to a February report by information service provider ITJUZI. The triumvirate is also looking beyond China for investment opportunities with a total of 150 companies outside of China receiving money from BAT, the China Internet Report noted.

* Although China’s internet penetration is just over 50%, its sheer scale means that there are 3x the number of smartphone users and 11x the number of mobile payment users in China than in the U.S.

More than 600 million people in China regularly use social media apps, according to data by eMarketer. This enables a new business model called Social+. In Social+, different industries such as education, news and e-commerce are anchored by a social pillar that drives user engagement and growth.

Social commerce apps Pinduoduo and Xiaohongshu are leaders in Social+.

Pinduoduo leverages WeChat, China’s largest messaging and social networking app with one billion users, to grow its user base.

Xiaohongshu started a small community of its own, attracting users to be a part of it and contribute content.