Some of America’s biggest technology players are not accessible to most Chinese. Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are non-existent in China. How is this possible?
As a communist country China protects what the Chinese are able to see and controls the web based applications many Americans take for granted. To compensate, China has created its own competitors — tech titans that provide the exact same services as their American counterparts so that Chinese citizens won’t go without.
Here’s a briefing on China’s versions of our most popular tech companies.
When you need a search engine like Google, the Chinese turn to Baidu. The country’s most popular site also has tools for maps and cloud storage. Future expansion plans for Baidu include artificial intelligence products such as self-driving cars.
Rather than Apple, the Chinese use Huawei, the country’s biggest phone maker, for their smartphone needs. Following is Xiaomi, another electronics manufacturer that has gained a following due to its smartphones that look very similar to Apple’s.
For social media, Tencent is the leader in China, their version of Facebook and the country’s most notable platform for messaging with nearly 1 billion monthly users. Tencent also has a monopoly on music streaming services pushing out competitors such as Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.
Alibaba is closest to our Amazon, but it offers more than just e-commerce. Its subsidiaries include Alipay, a payment app, numerous online shopping sites including tmall.com and Taobao, the Chinese equivalent to Ebay, as well as Youku, a YouTube knock-off.
And there’s more…
Didi Chuxing is similar to Uber while Sina Weibo is their answer to Twitter. China’s largest on-demand video site is iQiyi, which has programs available by subscription in a similar manner to Netflix. Finally, even dating apps such as Tinder have been copied in China as seen by Tantan, the country’s largest dating app.
Whereas the U.S. has a strong history of globalization, China’s policy leans toward protectionism. More on this can be read in “Billions Lost: The American Tech Crisis and the Road Map to Change.”