Baidu Maintains Lock On Search Revenue

Baidu dominates search revenue market

Online search leader Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) has just become the first of China’s “big 3″ Internet companies to release third quarter results, showing it’s not in any danger of losing its overwhelming share of China’s search advertising revenue anytime soon. Many media like to focus on the fact that Baidu has seen its dominance in China’s search market fall sharply over the last year, as newer rivals backed by Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU) and Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU) have collectively grown to take nearly half of the market by traffic volume. But while Baidu’s share of traffic may be sinking, it still holds the lion’s share of money that advertisers pay to search engines in China. Continue reading

China Tech IPOs Soar In 2014, Due For Pullback

Tech IPOs post banner returns in 2014

In the absence of big company news so far this week, I’ve decided tolook at the scorecard for the flood of technology IPOs over the last 12 months and what it might say about what’s ahead into next year. The record so far looks quite good in general, especially for companies that made a flurry of New York offerings at the end of last year and whose shares have mostly doubled or more since then.

But one notable exception to the trend is mobile games, as 2 of the 3 major players to make recent listings are now squarely in negative territory. That doesn’t bode well for a 3 upcoming similar listings, 1 in New York and 2 in Hong Kong, which appear to be stalling due to the cool investor sentiment. Continue reading

Weibo: Zuckerberg Charms China At Tsinghua, Xiaomi Events

Facebook’s Zuckerberg visits Beijing

Chinese tech executives have been buzzing for much of the past week over Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was working hard to charm many of China’s high-tech elite on a semi-official visit to Beijing. Zuckerberg was in town to attend an event at the prestigious Tsinghua University, often called the MIT of China. But he also found time to visit smartphone sensation Xiaomi, where he received abundant praise from company officials led by the increasingly influential and high-profile CEO Lei Jun.

Separately, 2 homegrown Chinese tech legends also received widespread praise and admiration, as Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) veteran Chen Tong and Zhang Xiangdong, president of recently listed mobile game maker Sungy Mobile (Nasdaq: GOMO), both announced they would leave their longtime employers. The departures of this pair also drew a certain degree of reflection and nostalgia, as many noted the passing of the Internet from an earlier generation of technology enthusiasts to a new, younger group of more marketing-savvy, seasoned business people. Continue reading

News Digest: October, 30, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on October 30. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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Alibaba’s Ma Eyes New Partner In Apple’s Cook

Alibaba, Apple weigh electronic wallet tie-up

The headlines are buzzing today with news about newly listed Alibaba (NYSE: BABA), led by word that the e-commerce giant may explore an electronic payments tie-up with global gadget leader Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). I’ll be quite frank and say that such a tie-up would seem destined for disaster, based on the previous experience between Alibaba and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), its only other major partner in a similar past tie-up.

Meantime, Alibaba has also announced a spin-off of its fledgling online travel business, posing the interesting possibility of some major acquisitions as it tries to quickly expand the unit and also presenting a challenge to sector leaders Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) and Qunar (Nasdaq: QUNR). Lastly there’s the largely technical news bit that Alibaba’s stock broke through the $100 mark for the first time in the latest trading session, putting it nearly 50 percent above its IPO price, as investors eagerly await the company’s maiden earnings report set for next Tuesday. (earnings calendar) Continue reading

Struggles Continue At Shanda, Perfect World

Shanda Games CEO resigns

More signs of turbulence are coming from the troubled online game space, with word that the CEO of Shanda Games (Nasdaq: GAME) has resigned and Perfect World (Nasdaq: PWRD) has overhauled its R&D division to breathe new life into the company. There’s quite a lot of back story to these latest news bits, including a strategic equity alliance announced by the 2 companies at the start of the year that later fell apart for unexplained reasons. The bigger story is the fierce competition in China’s online game market, which has left companies like Shanda and Perfect World struggling to grow and has dampened investor enthusiasm for new gaming IPOs. Continue reading

Shanghai Street View: Creative Problem Solving

Retirement areas: good home for dance troupes
Retirement areas: good home for dance troupes

Separate news items this week got me thinking about 2 major headaches for many ordinary Shanghai citizens, and my own creative solutions for the problems. One issue involves the all-too-familiar problem of unwanted noises in our bustling city, while the other involves the bothersome security checks at our subway stations.

There are many sources of unwanted noise in our city, but one of the most common is the loud music that often comes from karaoke singers and dancers who hold their activities in large public spaces. The issue of subway security is also a controversial one, as the city walks a fine line between trying to keep our subway system safe while avoiding bottlenecks and too much passenger inconvenience. Continue reading

News Digest: October 29, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on October 29. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • Alibaba’s (NYSE: AAPL) Ma Meets Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) Cook, Talk Cooperation (Chinese article)
  • Xiaomi Becomes World’s Third Largest Smartphone Maker In Q3 – iSuppli (Chinese article)
  • Shanda Games (Nasdaq: GAME) Announces Resignation Of CEO (PRNewswire)
  • Qihoo (NYSE: QIHU), Enlight Media To Launch Premium Video Site – Source (English article)
  • China Telecom (HKEx: 728) Announces Q3 Results (HKEx announcement)
  • Latest calendar for Q3 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

Smartisan Hammered In Smartphone Price Wars

Smartphone price wars hammer Smartisan

China’s bloody smartphone price wars could soon claim their first victim, with word of massive price cuts from Smartisan, a highbrow brand that launched earlier this year with backing from a well-known personality. Despite its relatively late arrival to the crowded space, Smartisan has gotten surprisingly strong media attention since its launch in May, though not all of it has been positive.

One of the company’s main backers is Luo Yonghao, whose name is well known to many young Chinese professionals due to his popular series of English language instructional tapes. Just months after its launch, Smartisan made news after admitting it was experiencing production problems due to capacity bottlenecks. Last month the company also made a minor splash when Luo got in a high-profile online spat with an influential gadget critic who wasn’t impressed by Smartisan’s models.

Continue reading

Xiaomi In India Data Shuffle

Xiaomi feels insecure in India

Smartphone sensation Xiaomi is rapidly becoming an expert at shuffling its user data from country to country, with word that it will store data for its users in India on western-based servers rather than shipping such information back to computers in its home China market. This particular move looks largely preemptive, aimed at preventing a new brouhaha similar to one it faced in Taiwan related to concerns over national security and protection of user privacy. The move looks like a relatively smart one in the current climate of global concerns about cyber-security. But it does pose a larger challenge of added costs for China-based companies like Xiaomi with global aspirations. Continue reading

China Mobile, Alibaba JV Takes Aim At WeChat

Alibaba to revive ailing Fetion

The near-monopoly held by Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) WeChat in China’s mobile messaging space could soon get a fresh shot of competition, with word that e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) was in talks for an alliance to revive China Mobile’s (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) fast-fading Fetion text messaging service. Such a powerful tie-up could take direct aim at the current stranglehold on the market held by WeChat, which now has more than 400 million active users and has become an indispensable communications tool for many. Continue reading