China has nearly 500 million of its people on line. Over 300 million watch on line video on a variety of sites like Tudou, Youku, Ku6, Baidu’s video channel Qiyi — and even the video off-shoots of portals Sina and Sohu (not on YouTube whose site is blocked here in China).
The ever China growing marketplace with growth rates at 9% annually even into this year (where it is slowing a bit) creates a business energy that I have not experienced anywhere else in my entire professional career (yes even the U.S. dot com craze of the early 2000’s).
With homes in China using three screens – living room television, computer and mobile the trend seems to show no signs of slowing down soon. China television is watched by the older generation and the kids will be on line watching video or even watching it on their mobile devices. Content is lacking and China internet and media platforms are hungry – very hungry for content. Content coming from the U.S., from India and Europe, and from Chinese-produced movies and television. Strategic partnerships abound and opportunities for exposure and growth are rampant.
Because the growth of Chinese internet users is so high the model remains driving more and more eyeballs to web-based platforms. Tremendous amounts of money are there to be made since the numbers are so large. The CPM model reigns at the moment since there is no real reason to worry about the level of engagement and relevancy. It is discussed but more with a nod and a wink since it’s so easy to show year over year growth and that’s what investors like to see.
Eventually these skyrocketing growth rates will flatten and the quality of the user engagement and content will become more of a factor. But in the meantime the game is on and the time to get in is now. If I have become convinced of anything it’s that any hesitation to enter the Chinese market is a huge mistake.
It won’t be easy of course. As I have noted the language is a barrier for non-Chinese although most of the Chinese under 30 can speak more than passable English which remains the language of business (and the internet for that matter). So going forward I am not certain how essential knowing Mandarin will be ten or fifteen years from now. But by then the stratospheric growth will likely being to shift someplace else and the opportunities won’t be as good as they are today.
Yes in China business today anything and everything is possible. I am excited and I am in.
How about you?