When people in the Americas, in Europe or many other parts of the world go online, they mostly use the same services and platforms. U.S. companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon are so dominant in their respective fields, that most people consider them global market leaders.
There is one major market however, where the internet looks entirely different and hardly anyone uses the services that are ubiquitous in the Western world, and that is China. Favored in part by the Chinese governments’ censorship practices and in part by cultural differences, a parallel online universe exists behind what is often playfully referred to as the “Great Firewall”.
Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at some of the companies that dominate the Chinese internet economy and how they compare to their counterparts from Silicon Valley and other parts of the United States. We’re starting off with an overview of how Chinese players are miles ahead of their competitors from the U.S. in the fields of search, social media and e-commerce on their home turf.