Since the dawn of the internet, the titans of this industry have fought to win the “starting point” — the place that users start their online experiences. In other words, the place where they begin “browsing.” The advent of the dial-up era had America Online mailing a CD to every home in America, which passed the baton to Yahoo’s categorical listings, which was swallowed by Google’s indexing of the world’s information — winning the “starting point” was everything. As the mobile revolution continues to explode across the world, the battle for the starting point has intensified. If we want to predict our digital future, in a recent piece published in TechCrunch I suggest we look down and look east to the Chinese market.
The most interesting component of the Chinese digital economy’s growth is that it is fundamentally more “pure” than the U.S. market’s. I say this because the Chinese market is inherently “transactional.” As Andreessen Horowitz writes, WeChat, China’s most valuable company, has become the “starting point” and hub for all user actions. Their revenue diversity is much more “Amazon” than “Google” or “Facebook” — it’s much more pure. They make money off the transactions driven from their platform, and advertising is far less important in their strategy.
The lesson we’ve learned thus far in both the U.S. and in China is that “consumers spending money” creates the most durable consumer businesses.
Continue reading this article on TechCrunch for more regarding the mobile revolution where change is urgently being demanded by market forces.