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Monday, 14 December 2015

A classic "Media Mogul"

After becoming a billionnaire from his e-commerce site, Alibaba, Jack Ma, moves on to become a media mogul (see The Economist's article here). In many ways this is not too surprising. Alibaba's origins can be seen as copying Amazon (although arguably, by now, it is quite different), so maybe Mr. Ma is following Jeff Bezos' footsteps, heavily investing in media assets of 'all sorts'. The emphasis, of course, is on "all sorts" as it doesn't look like there are a lot of synergies between the various media businesses that he bought a controlling stake in. But maybe this doesn't matter.... If he looks for inspiration in the West, he will find plenty of large diversified media companies considered to be "successful".

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

WeChat's diverse use in China

WeChat, the Chinese messaging app keeps pushing the concept of social media further and further. Originally a product of Tencent designed to migrate the social network to mobile, it has eclipsed its internal competitor (the Tencent app) as well as its PC-based parent and has become a full fledged mobile social network. What is remarkable though is that - in contrast to western social media, that are still largely just entertainment platforms - WeChat integrates virtually all Internet applications, from mobile payment, to online shopping and services including even some pretty sophisticated banking products. A good summary of the crazy things that can be done on WeChat can be found here. The list drives home the point that long gone are the days when Chinese social media is just a copy of their western equivalents.