BAT(man): The Chinese Internet Giants

by Verena Nowotny

Whereas everybody is looking at the Western Internet giants Amazon, Facebook and Google, their Chinese counterparts have established them as the predominant forces in that area. Baidu, the largest search engine in China, had a market share of 72 percent in 2013. Alibaba, the largest e-commerce provider in China, differs from Amazon as it only leases space to vendors without getting involved in sales, shipping, or after-sales support. Alibaba controls 80 percent of China's online retail market, equivalent to 5 percent of the country's total retail sales. Tencent, China's social media giant founded in 1998, has around 800 million users in China. Together, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are referred to as the BAT.

These and other interesting information about China's expanding cyberspace - in the West mainly reduced to hacking activities - can be learned from China expert Francois Godement in his recent briefing. An hour well spent.