CKGSB Knowledge Authors

Digital Marketing and China’s Expanding Internet: Innovation, Copycats and Creativity in China’s Tech Industry

June 12, 2013

In January 2013, China’s internet user base reached 564 million users. China’s smartphone users have also surpassed the 300 million mark, signaling a tectonic shift towards mobile internet usage. Despite strict censorship controls on internet content in China, social media has caught on with unprecedented momentum. Established Twitter-like platforms such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo are cementing their user bases (estimated in the hundreds of millions) and continue to attract investment from internet giants such as the Alibaba group. Newcomers, such as social media mobile app, WeChat (Weixin) have exploded into the mobile internet sphere–growing quickly through innovation and user outreach both within China and internationally. Chinese search engine giant, Baidu, is ranked by internet traffic monitor Alexa as the fifth most frequently trafficked website globally (behind Facebook, Google, Youtube and Yahoo!). China’s internet industry is buzzing with activity.

How will the shift to mobile internet platforms affect traditional internet services? What are the consumer trends driving development in these industries? How can marketers best navigate China’s evolving internet landscape?

In this series, Social Media and Digital Marketing in a Global World, CKGSB Assistant Professors of Marketing, Li Yang and Zhang Kaifu, talk to Puneet Manchanda, Isadore and Leon Winkelman Professor of Marketing and Chair of Marketing at Stephen M. Ross School of Business (Michigan University) about marketing trends in China’s exploding online industries including social media, e-commerce and search advertising.

Their conversation, which took place during Professor Manchanda’s recent visit to CKGSB’s Beijing campus, brings to light issues concerning China’s tech industry, such as the unprecedented growth of mobile platforms in China, the innovations driving China’s e-commerce leaders, and the success of China’s latest mobile apps. The series is comprised of six episodes, each focusing on a key emerging trend or aspect of marketing in the Chinese internet industry.

In part six, Copycats and Creativity in China’s Tech Industry, Li, Zhang and Manchanda take stock of China’s copycat reputation and shanzhai (山寨) or copycat companies, and predict that a change is already on the way. While companies in China’s tech industry initially mimicked US-based pioneers, the innovation needed to become successful is drawing more and more attention to China’s most creative players.

Can China foster a culture of innovation? What will drive innovation in the Chinese tech industry?

Access the other videos here:

China’s Exploding Mobile Internet
Location-Based Services and the Mobile Internet
Taobao: China’s eBay
WeChat: China’s Wonder-app
Disruptive Technology, Mobile Advertising and Online Privacy

Enjoying what you’re reading?

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to get more China insights delivered to your inbox.

Our Programs

Frontiers in Digital Innovation: AI, Future of Tech & Data Science

Global Unicorn Program Series

This program offers you the opportunity to master AI and data analytics, navigate evolving technology landscapes, and embrace cross-cultural perspectives.

LocationColumbia University, USA

DateMay 20-24, 2024

LanguageEnglish

Learn more

The Biotech Innovation Program

Global Unicorn Program Series

This program equips CEOs and founders in the life sciences and biotechnology industry with the essential knowledge and connections needed to thrive in this rapidly evolving sector.

LocationUniversity of California, San Diego, USA

DateSeptember 9-13, 2024

LanguageEnglish

Learn more

CKGSB-ESMT Global Unicorn Program in Deep Tech

Global Unicorn Program Series

The program will provide practical business strategies to grow, scale, globalize, and potentially exit deep tech ventures and will touch upon the latest insights on deep tech advancements, such as AI, cutting-edge computing, and cybersecurity innovation.

LocationBerlin

DateOctober 28-31, 2024

LanguageEnglish

Learn more

Global Unicorn Program: Scaling for Success in the Age of AI

Global Unicorn Program Series

In collaboration with the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD), this CKGSB program equips entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and key stakeholders with the tools, insights, and skills necessary to lead a new generation of unicorn companies.

LocationStanford University Campus, California, United States

DateDec 09 - 13, 2024

LanguageEnglish

Learn more

Emerging Tech Management Week: Silicon Valley

This program offers insights into emerging technology developments and the skills required to innovate, grow, and transform your business strategy.

LocationUniversity of California, Berkeley, USA

DateNovember 3-8, 2024

LanguageEnglish

Learn more