The 2015 5 GMIC trends – leadership of the mobile internet, automotive as new high tech challenge, the O2O at the heart of China’s trade, the cult of innovation, the emergence of VR- and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics – have truly been at the heart of the Global Mobile Internet Conference 2016 edition in Beijing, with the theme “Mobile Infinity”. On this occasion, GMIC has expanded – a new “Hello Future” pavilion – and for the first time, entertainment with live music, red carpet stars and awards. For Google: “When you come here (in China), you feel you’re stepping into the future.”
“The car: a mobile on four wheels”
If each year confirms the confidence of the Chinese in their ability to produce competitive products in their market but also to launch internationally, its best recent illustration is probably in Jia Yueting’s words, the rebellious and visionary founder and CEO of LeEco, a Chinese giant (video streaming, mobile, ecommerce, connected car …) less known than rivals “BAT” (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent), which has just opened a new office in San Jose, California.
At the Auto Show in Beijing which was held at the same time as GMIC, he both tackled Apple (which also develops its autonomous car): “Apple products design is outdated, obsolete (…) one of the most important reasons (of weaker sales in China) is that Apple’s innovation has become very slow” and he gave his vision of the future of cars, as he presented his all electric LeSee car, taunting Tesla “We view the car as a smart mobile device on four wheels. We hope to surpass Tesla and take the leadership of the industry by opening a new automotive era“. The APAC boss of Tesla Motors, which has 17 showrooms in 7 Chinese cities, replied from GMIC, touting the merits of its Model X: “sitting in the front is like sitting in a helicopter (…). China is the first global automotive market, Tesla is here for the long term“. Baidu who’s been developing for 2 years a driveless car with BMW, officially launched its 4K mapping service.
If Rui Ma, Partner of 500 Startups and a regular speaker at GMIC stressed during the G-Startup Competition, in a context of slowing fundraising, that “they (entrepreneurs) have a clear idea of their business models and are careful about what they do“,”Shoot First, Monetize Later”, still illustrates the strategy of leaders such as LeEco, Tencent or Baidu just to name a few. Future Mobility Corp. backed by Tencent, poached BMW top managers for its electric vehicle project. Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, who also bets on the automobile as the future IT platform, said: “We will worry the business model later“. The race (on spendings) is on track to take a position on the first worldwide automotive market.
Wearables, AR, VR, AI: Asian want its share of the cake
VR: revenue up + 372% in 2016 in China
Immersive technologies have had their first Global VR Summit. If Samsung, Google and Facebook (Oculus) opened the market, they are joined by a string of Asian players including the Taiwanese HTC Vive – who handled its 1st Awards, rewarding in the content category Luxury Travel and Lifestyle platform Zanadu (in which Tencent has invested, and spoke at China Connect) – or the Chinese BaofengVR and Zero Zero Robotics whose CEO Wang MQ presented on stage its very light and “discreet” Hover Camera floating in the air …. a drone like no others who drew crowds at its booth
All want a piece of a cake estimated to 200 million head-sets by 2020 worldwide. Just for the Chinese market (1), income prospects in 2016 amount to 850 million RMB, an increase of + 372% vs. 2015, and more than 2 billion RMB in 2017, up 154% vs 2016. As for the expectations of Chinese to experience this technology: video, games and social topped usages (2).
As such, video platform Youku Tudou shared ambitions that will contribute to the objective of Jack Ma (which bought the portal) that “Alibaba becomes the world’s largest entertainment company” with the help of his production company, Alibaba Pictures, set in California and market forecasts of the Chinese film market that will exceed the North America box office in 2017
From the Internet OF things to the internet ON things
Invited at the first India Mobile Forum reflecting the growing economic interests between the two countries, Vishal Gondal, Founder and CEO of GOQii application, “the Uber of health and form, connecting data from your wearables to form coaches”, who will expand in China in 2017, lingered on the strategic issues of “culturalization”, the importance of Chinese funding for who aims to enter the market, or his belief in the new center of innovation: “in the past I was doing a lot of traveling in Silicon Valley, but today I don’t find it useful. In fact if you want to see innovation, you need to be in Beijing, at GMIC “.
Interview Vishal Gondal, CEO of GOQii
Sonny Wu, founder of connected bracelets Misfits (sold on B2C website JD.com) since redeemed by Fossil Group which manages the licenses of fashion brands Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Diesel or Tory Burch, told alongside Vishal Gondal, how smart wearables begun to be integrated into the fashion industry, while underlining the challenges of two businesses with different fundamentals and DNA (development cycles, rhythms launching products, etc ..)
For Ambarish Mitra, founder and CEO of augmented reality app Blippar, who count clients such as Carrefour and L’Oréal, and came to test the Chinese market, “we went from the internet OF things to the internet ON things (…). We relied on words to search, but the image is the future, the product is the new media. For the beauty market, there is a great lack of information, it’s one of the reasons why women are reluctant to buy cosmetics online “. To whom would wonder on how to enter the Chinese market, he said: “We will make a spectacular entrance (“Big bang entry”). This is not a market where you do a “soft launch. You come and you are everywhere, or you have no chance.”. As for innovation “really” cutting edge “with 10 years ahead, it still comes mainly from the Valley,” he said, smiling and more nuanced.
Interview Ambarish Mitra, CEO of Blippar
The C2B (Consumer To Business) focus of the next 3 years?
The Chinese have no problem recognizing the poverty of their stores’ experience, which contributed to the explosion of online commerce. “A phenomenon that has surprised even the Chinese” according to Bob Cao, Director of the company iResearch studies. And none either to say their confidence in the future of traditional commerce, given the fakes invading online commerce, leading to a price war, not to mention the difficulty of the last kilometer in a country as big as China.
How should retailers embrace the challenge?
– “Be there”: be smart, think in context
– “Be Useful”: develop content that matters
– “Be Fast”: be reactive, offer a seamless/frictionless experience
Connect all contact points, have a “micro-moments” strategy
O2O should be the “saver”. Mobile which shaked shopping behaviours in proportions like no where else in China. For Iram Mirza / UX Design Manager for Payment at Google in Mountain View, “If you go into any shopping mall without purse, you can survive in China. It’s hard enough without Mastercard or Visa in San Francisco to make it one week (…). In the US, we are still trying to figure out how mobile payments can work. We are far behind, even Europe is“. And WeChat, the Hub that combines communication, social and payment is the very example of this Chinese singularity” reminded by WeChat representative Roy Rao. For Bob Cao, Director of iResearch “the key is the C2B (Consumer To Business), this will be the focus of the next three years“.
The smartphone: a pillar of the health sector reform
During the Healthcare Innovation Forum, mobile has been discussed especially as care support (via video, data tracking, payment), link between hospitals, doctors and patients, and between different provinces. At the forum, Baidu’s GM of medical services business unit recalled the 3 Group’s values, 3P – personalized, prevent, accurate. “Accurate” meaning Baidu will need to collect accurate and precise datas to match the real needs with the right service.
That’s timely: Baidu has been under scrutiny for many years to reap very substantial advertising revenues from this industry and not to make sufficiently the many auctioned sponsored links. The search engine is making the news, and is under the Government investigation, following the death last month, much talked about on social networks, of a student who sought and selected an hospital positioned on the search engine’s top queries, and happened no to be able to cure his cancer.
An incubator for Key Opinion Leaders
Proof of their deep societal and economic impact in China, tech giants Weibo, Baidu and Cheetah Mobile discussed for the 1st time at GMIC about web celebrities or “wanghongs”.
Fu Sheng, CEO of Cheetah Mobile could react to what people talked about on social networks a few weeks back: “People say that Papi Jiang (wanghong who sold – it was a first time ever – an advertising in one of his videos for more than 20 million RMB) is just a fad, but I say it’s (the “wangling economy”) the beginning of a new phenomenon. ” And he announced, as Disney did with Maker Studios, the launch of an application to create an incubation platform for these webelebrities.
Among them, the stylist Perry Liu was speaking on the topic “Social Mobile Platform Drives Fan Economy”, and his strategy for sharing his Beauty/Fashion tips with 36.2 million followers on Weibo, 80,000 on WeChat about and its collaboration with brands including Chanel.
Gaofei Wang, CEO of social network Weibo, detailed their monetization methods after the bulk of incomes came from offline activities, copyrights and advertising: “On Weibo, there are 3 main ones. The first from far, e-commerce, sell cosmetics or clothing to a huge fan base that the wanghong has accumulated. The second type is “Papi Jiang” who make videos, write, and mix advertising and content. Last, the “live streamers.”
Livestream mobile applications are a particularly strong trend in South Korea, who would be the Asian leader
By Laure de Carayon,
Founder & CEO China Connect
(1) Source: eMarketer / January 2016 – (2) Source: eMarketer / March 2016