Truck Alliance’s Fight to Build Complicated Network Effects (Asia Tech Strategy – Podcast 89)

This week’s podcast is about Full Truck Alliance, a B2B marketplace platform for freight and cargo. There are a lot of lessons on the difficulties and complexities of matching, pricing and network effects for more complicated services.

You can listen to this podcast here or at iTunesGoogle Podcasts and Himalaya.

Questions for simple network effects:

  • Local vs. regional vs. international network effects?
  • Fast vs. slow network effects?
  • Directionality of interactions (Facebook vs. Twitter)?
  • Degree vs. value of connections?
  • Minimum viable scale vs. asymptotic scale?
  • What is congestion / saturation / degradation scale?
  • Linear vs. exponential growth at different scales? For each user group.

Questions for complicated network effects:

  • Less than truckload freight (LTL). This is about coordinating demand and locations for mobility. This is similar to carpooling in ride-sharing. The matching, pricing and network effects are more complicated.
  • On-demand vs. synchronous vs. asynchronous. Matching, pricing and network effects are more complicated. Pricing can follow spot demand vs. scheduled.
  • Cyclical and other fluctuations in both supply and demand. This impacts both prices and utilization.
  • Route specific network effects. Need to balance supply and demand (and critical mass) on each route.
  • Serial routes. Matching, pricing and arranging multiple routes in sequence. Much more complicated
    • How does this compare with economies of scale in geographic density.

How FTA describes its flywheel.

Numbers on FTA usage


Related articles:

From the Concept Library, concepts for this article are:

  • Network Effects – Simple
  • Network Effects – Complicated
  • Marketplaces for Services

From the Company Library, companies for this article are:

  • Full Truck Alliance

Photo by Zetong Li on Unsplash


I write and speak about digital competition and China / Asia’s leading tech companies.

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