Southeast Asian companies are copying business models proven to work in China. A decade ago Chinese companies had success with “Copying to China” what worked elsewhere. Now others have success with “Copy From China”. Chinese companies adopted the business models of established US technology and internet companies.
They are replicating
Tencent Holdings’ WeChat super-app model,
Alibaba’s Taobao e-commerce model and
Alipay’s innovation of escrow payments for e-commerce transactions among others.
Mobile-first business model were first pioneered in China. Mobile-first is becoming popular in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is at a similar stage of internet connectivity as China was a decade ago. Both regions have high mobile penetration rates.
Singapore-based mobile classifieds platform Carousell pioneered the “snap, list, sell” model to sell second-hand items, earlier this year launched CarouPay, a payment system within its app that serves as an escrow service. If a buyer makes payment through CarouPay, the funds are held by the third party until the buyer has received the item, whereupon payment is then released to the seller.
This model is similar to the strategy that Alibaba took with building its e-commerce empire, where it launched Alipay as a payment and escrow service to improve trust between buyers and sellers on its Taobao e-commerce platform. Alipay’s escrow service is widely credited with increasing the popularity of the Chinese e-commerce platform as it created greater confidence between buyers and sellers in China’s generally low-trust society.