He talks about Baidu, why Google’s not doing well, online payment, what the Chinese online market is like and even a bit about Alibaba.
In the confusing soap opera of Chinese big internet players its hard to remember who’s with who. Essentially if they’re Chinese they hate Baidu so ally with Google, and if they’re American they hate Google so tie up with Baidu, and if they’re Alibaba and Yahoo they like each other and everyone else tried to take a pop.
So here’s ebay, which like Microsoft doesn’t like Google so likes Baidu, is taking on Alibaba with a Business to Business site. I suppose at least they’re in their core competency which seems to be rather unfavourable in Chinese internet search at the moment.
The good news is that they are going in with an escrow system, rather than just credit cards – which are quite restricted in China. If a cheap, widely accepted and trusted escrow system comes in then we think that China will suddenly become a far easier nut to crack.
Following on from Alipay, Baidu is dropping hints that it will support its own online payments system. The lack of a reliable online payments system in China has been a problem for a while and if this is overcome this could make for more expansion.
One of the biggest problems with Chinese e-commerce for the West has been the scarcity of a trusted online payment system. The Chinese do not have a great amount of time for credit cards, prefering cash. This is obviously a problem for any ecommerce that does not involve some face to face contact.
Alipay should be an interesting experiment. Although focussed on China at the moment, Alibaba made its money through linking up Chinese manufacturers to the West. There’s no reason to think that they won’t go the other way.