A report into internet usage by the Chinese population, produced jointly by Abacus, 500 Startups, the South China Morning Post, has given an insight into the impact the internet is having on industry and population.
China has 772 million internet users – representing 55% of the population. There are 717 million smartphone users. Internet usage in China still differs vastly from usage in the US. Portals for search, shopping, payment, videos and gaming continue to differ with no company able to conquer both locations.
The report explains that the internet in China is empowering a rural population. The number of rural internet users in China reached 209 million in 2017. It had a penetration rate of 35%.
The internet is contributing to the development of ecommerce, education and media in rural China.
50% of China’s poor villages will be equipped with ecommerce ability by 2020. 55 million students in rural schools are now reachable by live-streaming classes. There are 175 million short video app users in China.
Social + Model
Chinese ecommerce companies have adopted a Social+ model. This is where business is anchored by a social pillar and social action is rewarded. The model drives user engagement and growth.
Examples cited in the report include the app Pinduoduo. This is a shopping app that reduces the price of items if bought in a group.
Apps also are beginning to offer an incentive for sharing. Qutoutiao is a news app that offers cash incentives when users and their followers read the news every day. Mint Reading is an English-learning app that offers free English books if users stick to their plan and share their progress for 80 consecutive days.
Government as a “visible hand”
The success of tech companies continues to depend upon the government – with the report dubbing government the “visible hand”. In 2017, the government banned Cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offering. In February 2018, the State Administrated halted 17 quiz apps.
Image courtesy Abacus News