07 Sep 2010
Two views on prospects for foreign tech firms in China.
First, former Google China chief Lee Kaifu has dispensed some advice for western tech firms about how to succeed in the mainland China market.
He told the Financial Times that a technology company like Google could do well because of its huge technological lead, but its rival Baidu was succeeding because its search engine was “good enough.”
Without that kind of advantage, western firms in China needed a strong local presence and empowered and flexible managers, said Lee, who until a year ago was the head of Google China and now runs an incubator.
Lee seemed to think that Amazon and Groupon might do well in the mainland market, but for the time being, China’s internet world would continue to be dominated by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
Of course his words of wisdom don’t apply to telcos. Despite China’s WTO commitment to opening telecom services to foreign investment, foreign carriers are banished from the market.