This week’s podcast is about TikTok’s international success.
Here is the link to the TechMoat Consulting.
Here is the link to the China Tech Tour.
Here are my three factors for succeeding internationally:
1. Has a 10x product and user experience. Plus early mover. Plus big spending (marketing, acquisitions, hiring, etc.)
2. The service is standardizable cross-border. Little need for localization and/or local services.
3. It build on advantages. Or the business builds competitive advantages and entrenches rapidly.
- My Interview with Huawei’s Guo Ping on Managing People vs. Managing Rules and Systems (Tech Strategy – Daily Strategy)
- 3 Types of Network Effects (Asia Tech Strategy – Daily Lesson / Update)
- Questions for Huawei’s CEO, JD & Jingxi, Metcalfe’s Law Is Dumb (Asia Tech Strategy)
From the Concept Library, concepts for this article are:
From the Company Library, companies for this article are:
- ByteDance / TikTok / Douyin
- Temu / Pinduoduo
Episode 161 – TikTok International.1.transcribe
Fri, May 05, 2023 10:56AM • 40:22
china, tick tock, wechat, companies, big, video, pretty, tock, years, launched, tencent, international, cross border, app, live streaming, number, called, 10x, standardized, tick
Jeffrey Towson 00:00
Welcome, welcome everybody. My name is Jeff Towson, and this is the tech strategy podcast where we analyze the best digital businesses of the US, China and Asia. And the topic for today why Tik Tok and xi and one internationally? And why WeChat and quite show didn’t or at least haven’t yet. And that’s pretty timely topic. I think we’ve seen you know, there’s a long mile and say there’s a significant line of Chinese mobile apps that are now trying to go international, we didn’t see that several years ago, tick tock really sort of blew open the doors on that strategy. She and followed team who has followed quite who is actually making moves, so I shouldn’t say they haven’t won, but very different than WeChat famously tried years ago, and it didn’t work. So I came up with sort of three rules for why I think certain ones are winning, and certain ones aren’t. And I will just sort of summarize those and that’ll be the topic for today. Do anything I don’t think we have any housekeeping for today. Nope. standard disclaimer, nothing in this podcast or in my writing website is investment advice. The numbers information for meaning guests may be incorrect. The views and opinions expressed may no longer be relevant or accurate. Overall, investing is risky. This is not an investment legal or tax advice, do your own research. Actually, one little housekeeping thing, the China tech tours coming up in about two months, well, more like six weeks or seven weeks. If you’re interested in doing that, send me a quick note, that’s going to be great fun, Beijing Hanzo, Shanghai, covering sort of tech companies digital strategy, visiting some of them having guest lectures. And plus, it’s just really fun. So if you’re interested in that, send me a quick note over at info at towson group.com. Or you can go over to the website, Towson technical consulting, and you’ll see the details for the trip there. And I’ll put the link is in the show notes. Okay, and with that, let’s get into the topic.
Jeffrey Towson 02:05
Okay, now, I don’t really have any concepts for today, this is sort of more, you know, why do certain cross border moves work? And why don’t they work not a lot of digital strategy in that. So no real concepts. But, you know, I did spend quite a few years of my life working on cross border deals. And this was back when I worked out of the Middle East, we were always going between the Middle East in US and Europe. And you know, if you’re building businesses in the Middle East, you’re basically doing cross border stuff. Because, you know, it’s, there’s not a lot of big companies there. So you’re bringing in GE, or you’re bringing in four seasons or Saks Fifth Avenue. Now, these are all companies that kind of worked with on this stuff. And I actually wrote a book about this, which has since faded into obscurity, about how to sort of do cross border deals as investments. And it’s a pretty fun subject, it tends to be difficult. I think people underestimate how difficult going from one country to another can be. And it really depends on the nature of the business that matters. So I thought sort of call on that. But let me give you a little bit of background first. I was going through a case study on tick tock and quite show and how they’ve chosen inside case study. Pretty good one and you know, why? How they sort of competed with each other really going back 10 years now in short video in China and then increasingly, domestically or internationally. So let me give you sort of the rundown the basics for those of you who aren’t familiar. Okay, so tick tock, everybody knows tick tock, which is the international version of Delwin, which was the Chinese version, which launched prior both, you know, are from bytedance. Obviously bytedance, founded March 2012. By then 29 year old janky mean, there are actually other people who are involved in the founding. I mean, this whole like we founded it thing in China tends to be a team sport. It’s usually several people and often it’s a very large group of people. So with Johnny min people kind of know him, but also Liang Robo, and some others who know launched this thing in 2012. Joining him in pretty, we see this pattern a lot. Young, aggressive person comes out of university software engineering, he graduated from Nan chi University, which is intention. So instead of east of Beijing, in 2005 Software Engineer joins a travel website called crucian. Basically, one of the first engineers at this sort of small startup, and it was February 2006. stayed there two years leaves in 2008 goes to work at Microsoft left in China for a bit that appeared to not be terribly interesting for him. He quits there pretty quick. He goes and joins another startup called Fan foe, which I don’t even know what that did it kind of faded away and failed 2009. This company cushion which he was associated with, he basically starts his first venture again with Leon Robo. He sort of takes over this real estate business search engine. And he launches a company called 99 Fung, which is basically a search engine for real estate. And you can see he’s been focused on one question most of his career, which is quite long now, which is the gap between a sea of information in the world digital and your smartphone screen, and how to make that efficient and effective. And search engines is one approach to that which is actually fairly effective, but it’s very limited. That’s kind of a it requires an active pull mechanism where you you search for something, type it in, and you could say, large language models are similar. But it turns out, most of the information you consume off your phone is passive. You’re not doing active searches a poll method, you’re actually sort of just staring at a screen and someone’s pushing, pull versus push method. And so you know, Facebook was a push method, you just stare at the newsfeed and scroll it in it pushes content to you, but not a very good mechanism, because it’s mostly based on who your friends are. Well, once you start limiting content to stuff your friends, like, you’ve just eliminated 99% of the content in the world. There’s a massive sea of content out there. And so what you want is a push method that works. That doesn’t require a social network. And you can see sort of got into search engines first. And bytedance, as we’ll talk about was basically founded as an AI company to solve that problem, a new mechanism to bridge the gap between our eyeballs and the sea of information online now. Okay, so 2012 he founds byte dance in Jongwan tune, which is the northwest area of Beijing. This is kind of interesting, like, I mean, Peking University, where I used to teach is right there, a lot of tech companies are up there, DD is a little bit farther north ofoh was up there, you know, a bunch of tech companies 2005, as China launched something called they called mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation, which was a high state level policy to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. And in practice, how that played out was designating was a lot of tax breaks and other stuff, but designating certain parts of town where you could create these sort of incubator areas with preferential rates. And Jongwan. Soon, is really one of the main ones, but there’s a bunch of them. So they were in their very early 2012 Junghans. One interesting factoid, which turns out to be very important. They were one of the few companies that got real traction, that didn’t take money from Baidu, Tencent or Alibaba. And back then those were the three giants, the bad companies. And you know, 50 plus percent of all venture money in China was from those three companies, it was kind of like a gangster deal. You know, they will come to you and say, We want to invest in you, or we’ll invest in your competitor. And you kind of most people sign up. They really do. And then they bring you a lot of benefits as well. They steer your traffic and bite dance was one of the few companies that said, No, we’re gonna go alone. And that is largely why they have Varma, they’ve sort of become the fourth giant. They’re not under any of these umbrellas. And in fact, they’re arguably the biggest competitor to Tencent now. Okay. That’s March 2012. Couple months later, August 2012, they released their first app, which is Jindra tau tau, which just translates to daily headline. And that’s basically an AI powered news aggregation app. So you log in, it starts showing you headlines that you might be interested in very much like tick tock today, but based on text, and it searches the web and it finds new sites. It does pretty well. It gets a lot of traction very early on 2017. Five years after launching, it’s got 600 million registered users. That’s big in China because typically China’s about 800 to 900 million internet users, not counting payments. So that’s most of China. It surpasses 10 cent news, you monthly active users and da use and daily time spent. I mean, it basically beats Tencent news, which is a big shock for Tencent news. They tried to go global with that in 2015, under a company called Top buzz for a product called Top buzz didn’t really work. Eventually, they got shut down to 20. I think they shut that down. Okay, so that was their first big hit 2016 byte dance launches, three apps in the short video space. Now, so this is an interesting approach, like, first of all, you know, they are the attention factory, they are the mobile app factory, they don’t create one app, they don’t create two, they create hundreds of them every year, and they test them what’s getting attention and what’s not. They’re very fast. And so they they settled on short video, this is going to be a big thing. They could see the numbers. But instead of doing one app, they did three internal apps that basically had to compete with each other. And Tencent does the same approach. Multiple internal competition, very good idea. So they launched three apps. In short video, there’s dough in which basically looks like tick tock today, there’s Sheikh Wah, which is sort of leveraging off toutiao Taking text and adding video that eventually migrated into long video. And then there’s come to call hor tion, which is 15 seconds short, short videos. Anyways, obviously dough in did well.
Jeffrey Towson 11:38
Now is 2016. And you know, their description of dough in early on was short videos, under 60 seconds. Now it’s longer now targeting younger viewers. And we want to focus on like sort of being hip and cool. And whatever is trendy right now we’ll do that. And they started out with the stuff that got a lot of traction, which was dancing videos, lip synching videos, some talent videos, juggling things like that, right? They’re easy to create, anyone can dance in their bedroom. So you get the whole user base able to participate. And they’re very shareable. People like to share those things. People don’t share a lot of like, news articles, people really don’t share podcast, dancing videos get a lot of shares. So you can see they’ve sort of focused early on is stuff that everybody can do, that gets a lot of traction, and that gets shared a lot. And then you can sort of start doing memes. You know, I see a dancing video, I’ll make my own version of that, right. So a lot of copying retreading. And of course, they designed it for the smartphone, which turned out to be a spectacular user interface. I mean, it really is just a great user interface. Full screen videos are great, this endless feed where you just flick with your thumb, and you can do really just great user experience. Okay, so 18 months after launch, they get to about 100 million ma use. Now, keep in mind, they weren’t number one qui show was number one. They were started earlier, they had more users than tick tock right up until about 2018. So it took about a year and a half to two years for them to catch up, delete or quite show and pass them. And then by 2020, both companies had about 500 million monthly active users. But if you look at daily active users, tick tock was this was dough in in China. These are China numbers, you know, dough in was about 600 million and quite show us about 300. So a lot more daily engagement. Okay, so let’s start talking about the international aspect. So tick tock goes international 2017. And, you know, no Chinese company had really have no Chinese mobile app had ever really gotten non Chinese users. Not really, manufacturing companies very good at going global handsets, TVs all over the place. But we don’t go into local towns and see Chinese restaurants, we don’t go into the US and see Chinese apps being used. It really wasn’t something that happened. But they launched their international version and how they went international is very important. So they really did three of let’s say five major things. Number one, they did acquisitions. So, you know, they acquired Flipagram, which was in the US around the same time 2017 ish, and they had basically a lot of music catalogs and right so you can start to pair videos with music stuff like that very important. Famous Slide Number two, they acquired musicali in 2017. That was the Alex Zhu short video one in the US. That was a major acquisition. Then they merged it into Tik Tok around 2018. They opened their Silicon Valley office, very close to Facebook. I think they actually took the WhatsApp office that they were founded in, I think they actually took their WhatsApp office early on. But why do you open in Silicon Valley, why he opened down the street because you start stealing and pull employees, which they did. They stole lots of them, they paid a lot more. You know, they spent huge on advertising in the USA, which was mostly Facebook and Google, pulling those users over. And Facebook really shouldn’t have allowed this. But I think they underestimated them. And then they started a creator fund about $200 million to encourage content creators to start building on the platform. So I mean, those are all significant moves. I mean, these costs a lot of money, you’re talking about billions of dollars worth of spending here to go after the US market, which was, you know, the big market, I mean, that’s where the money is, right. And I would say those five things are the biggest thing they did. 2019, two years after they launched, they were in 150 countries, 70 plus languages. And as we’ve been hearing in the news, all month, they have 150 million monthly active users in the United States out of 340 million people. Absolutely dominant and the time people spend on it, fantastic. 90 minutes per day. And it’s a great service. Okay, then they went everywhere else. They’re in Brazil, they’re in Thailand, they their two biggest markets up until a couple years ago, where the US and India which is exactly where you want to be. But then they got banned in India, which was a major hit. And now there’s this US ban floating, which looks like it’s I don’t know, I don’t think I don’t know if people have changed their mind on that. I’m talking about politicians. But I think people have wised up to this restrict Act, which is horrific. It makes the Patriot Act look good. So hopefully, that approach is dead. But we’ll see what happens next. Okay. So that’s kind of the story of tick tock, let me give you a little bit about qui Shope. People don’t really know quite show as well. But it’s really the other tick tock, and they’re going international. Pretty cool company. Actually, I think the service is quite good founded in March 2011. So about a year before bytedance. But they really focused on sharing gifts. So those you know, the little three, four second videos that you can do everywhere, when that’s what they focused on. So you could make and then share gifts. Okay, fine. But by about 2013, they pivoted from there into short video smart. So they were kind of in the right place at the right time, doing something close to the right thing, and then they pivoted in quickly smart. The key factoid here is they’re 21 ish percent owned by 10 cent. So when we talk about quiet show versus Tiktok, we’re really talking about 10 cent versus bytedance. And both businesses are fundamentally in the attention business. All of their businesses internally, Tencent, and by dance are about keeping your eyeballs on the screen, getting your engagement getting your attention, which then they monetize by lots of different ways. So very different than let’s say Alibaba, which is about share of your wallet. Tencent and bytedance are both about share of your day. And that’s a zero sum game. Facebook is in the same game, Twitter’s in the same game. Now quite show is a little bit different. Strategically, they didn’t focus on young people as much they focused what they would call on more ordinary people in third, fourth and fifth tier cities in China, so lower income, much more about daily life, and what you’re doing and sharing so not so much about young people doing trendy stuff, and what’s happening more about sort of regular folks in lower income areas. That’s interesting, because when you look at the metrics they cared about tick tock is all about what gets likes, what gets likes, what are people’s eyeballs going to and we’ll, we will centralize that algorithm, and we’ll personalize it to everybody quite sure wasn’t really doing that as much early on. What they were doing was more of about almost like local community building where they would look not so much at likes, which they did, obviously, but they would look at engagement comments. Sharing. And they were kind of looking what people were sharing with their friends. That’s kind of like they were trying to be more of a social media company where tick tock has never tried to be a social media company. It’s just purely entertainment, whatever you like. That’s kind of interesting. Now, probably the bigger difference is quite show sort of created a dual service. They did live streaming. And they did short video, both very early on, and they split the homescreen. So when you got into quite show, there was like, two columns, and on the right was like live streaming. And on the left was short video, and you could go back and forth. They have since abandoned that. And they’ve they’re now just like, you know, tick tock with one full screen doing live streaming now. And then tick tock has also added live streaming. So what most companies have ended up, they’re all kind of looking the same today, which is one tab is short video, just like tick tock, one tab is live streaming. And then they have a shopping one or whatever. But you know, back then it was a little bit of a different approach. But they’ve all kind of converged on the same basic look now. And if you open up WeChat, you can see the same thing. You’ll see two channels, one for shooting, live streaming one for short video, I think Twitter will do the same thing. Instagram reels, so we kind of know what it looks like now. Okay. So 2016 The number one short video app in China is quite show
Jeffrey Towson 21:36
300 million daily active users, which is kind of where they’ve held, while bytedance went up and up and up. You know, but as mentioned, 2020 monthly active users about 500 million about the same as Tik Tok in China. I’m saying tick tock in China instead of doing okay, last point. monetization. This was another big difference. By dance was all about advertising. Right get eyeballs on screen, monetized by advertising. And it turns out short video is a great advertising platform. One of the reasons short video is so powerful. You should think about like why is short video so powerful? Couple things like one, it gets more engagement than anything but messenger mean, what do people watch the most on their phone? Typically, historically, it’s been messenger and video. And you could say payment to there’s a lot of checking in pay, but really Messenger, and video and within that short video really is only second to messenger in terms of engagement. Because it turns out short videos, can it’s just the most dynamic form of content. It really is. It’s video, it’s music, it’s text on the screen, there is a ton of information packed into a short video on a smartphone. And then you flip through them very quickly. It’s just the most, I think engaging and informative and dynamic form of content there is. That’s my opinion. And everybody uses it like 80% internet users in China use it, they spend about 20% of their time on this. You know, it really is good. And then it’s you know, it’s also because of that format. It’s also very good for advertising. You know, you can do the pre roll ads, companies can make ads, I watch Red Bull ads on my phone all the time. And they’re fantastic. It’s people jumping off cliffs, and flipping bicycles, native advertising, you can do challenges, corporate challenges, ice bucket challenge all of that. Okay, so that was sort of the, you know, the Tick Tock model. Now, Qy show did something a little different. If you look at their revenue five years ago, it wasn’t from advertising. It was from live streaming. And that’s a bit why they did that split screen thing, which was, you know, a couple years ago, they went public two years ago, so you can see their numbers. 90 plus percent of their revenue was from live streaming, live streaming, you present you know, good services, and then you click over to buy it usually on in this case, it would be WeChat mini programs on tick tock, you’re going to click over to Alibaba because, you know, Tencent versus Alibaba that’s how they started now they’ve created their own in house stores you don’t have to click out but over time quite show now their revenues much more like advertising plus live streaming, you know, 5050 ish. Anyways, that’s kind of the basics of those two companies. Okay. I think that’s more than enough background. They’re really fun to think about. Okay, so let me get to the so what? Oh, I didn’t talk about I’m sorry, one last point. So what didn’t quite show do internationally? Sorry. I sort of missed that. They started going international in about 2017. They went to Southeast Asia, Russia, South Korea, Brazil, that’s pretty much where they still are a little bit of Mexico I think. And their, their model for going international was just a copy of Tik Tok. It really was go cool and trendy, they don’t appear to be writing the big checks. We haven’t seen the big acquisitions, those five things that Tik Tok did, we don’t see that. The area’s they’ve kind of done well, and they’re pretty good and presumably is, it has a lot more to do with the fact that they just kind of got there early. As opposed to they took on major incumbents like Facebook, which you know that you’re gonna have to write some big checks to take them on. So that’s kind of where they were, they’re in a four or five geographies right now, but really haven’t gone beyond that. And so let’s talk about why one succeeded, and one didn’t. And then also WeChat. And she and I won’t go into these nearly like the same level. But WeChat tried to go international five, six years ago, they tried to go in Europe, they tried to go into Southeast Asia, they spent a lot of money, they hired sports stars, and they really abandoned the whole thing. There are almost no non Chinese users of WeChat that’s just the way it is. It’s people outside of China who communicate back home. Pretty much she and obviously what’s the next big hit after tick tock? Tick tock shocked Facebook, she in shocked Amazon. So I was gonna give you a why I think that all played out. And then T mu is the latest one, which is rocking and rolling. And if you’ve been paying attention to the news this week, US politicians are starting to talk about CI and T mu as oh my god, it’s a national security threat. You know, whatever. Okay, so let me get to the so what are the podcast? Okay, so why did tic toc when I told you the five main things they did? Again, they did to aggregate acquired Flipagram, they acquired musicali, they spent huge on advertising one plus billion dollars. They opened their Silicon Valley office, although they actually have their main offices now in Boston, I believe, stole lots of employees, and then they created a big creator fund. Okay. Here’s what I think I think there’s three things. Let’s call it my little three rules for this. Number one, tick tock had a 10x user experience plus early mover, plus big spending that playbook, which is look, if you’re going to break in to the US, which is a very entrenched market with major players, if you’re going to break into Europe, you’re going to break into any of these, you have got to have a product service. That just 10x is the It can’t just be okay. It’s got to be great. And it turns out, tick tock is great. I mean, people just love it. And we could see the same thing about shin. Young people love Shin, they love T moves, basically a copy of Shin, right? All of those are just spectacularly good, versus what’s already there. So it can’t just be a 10x against an incumbent like you’ve required Facebook to drop the ball. If Facebook had a great version of this already, it wouldn’t work. So you need the 10x user experience. And it helps if you’re early, because there’s not going to be a major incumbent there that you have to take down with a similar experience. So 10x, the user experience plus early mover, plus big spending, and that’s hiring, acquisitions, big marketing. And that’s really you know, what they did in the US. And I think you can safely say that qui show has not done that in the US. They’re not doing the acquisitions, they’re not spending huge. They weren’t kind of an early mover in 2017 they could have done it which is about when tick tock did it too late now. You know, you’re not in Instagram reels is getting pretty good. YouTube shorts is getting pretty good. So you got to kind of be at the right moment in time. I think that’s sort of number one. Number two, there’s this idea of standardization versus localization. When you go cross border. Now certain things are easy to go cross border with. manufactured products are pretty easy. It’s not that hard actually to sell smartphones in India from China because you can make gum it’s a standardized product, you ship it. You got to open a lot of little stores. But you know manufactured standardized products are relatively easy to take global you put them on chips and you sell If you’re doing services like restaurants, hotels, that’s one we’re going international, let’s say retail, Walmart, Costco, there’s no way to do that easily. You are all in you have to move to that country, you have to hire up teams, you have to compete, you’ve got to burn your ships behind you. And that’s a long, hard slog to go international. It’s totally local operations, versus a standardized service or prod in a certain energized product, let’s say like a smartphone. Okay? Tick tock is pretty much like the ladder. It’s mostly a standardized technology product, that doesn’t really have to be localized very much. I mean, they just roll out the same software everywhere. People then localize it for you, they upload if it’s an India, they upload videos from India, and you watch them in India, but the tech is the same. So they were mostly a standardized ie non local product, that makes things much, much easier. It lets you go much faster. And I think she has the same thing going for it, right. It’s all the goods are coming out of China, mostly, you know, the user interface is the same. And then it just gets personalized to people by based on what they’re doing. So she in was very standard Eisele, the users did the localization for you tick tock was the same client was quite sure was the same WeChat was not really
Jeffrey Towson 31:39
all the cool stuff about WeChat is in China doesn’t work outside of China, the banking interfaces, the local utilities, all of that all the mini programs, all of that doesn’t work. It’s just a messenger outside of China. And they’re already pretty good messengers outside of China at that point. So you got to kind of play that when you can do internationalization with other service businesses. But it takes a long time. In between those two is kind of electric vehicles. Chinese companies are going aggressive li international right now, in electric and probably autonomous vehicles. That’s much harder than shipping smartphones, because you have to have dealerships, software and all of that, but it looks doable. I actually expect that Chinese EV makers will be very successful. In a lot of the world. They’re very low cost. I’ll probably was thinking about buying one here in Thailand, as opposed to a Tesla to getting a BYD. BYD makes really good cars. Okay, last point. So that’s number two is this cross border standardization versus localization. This, this was an app made to go global. Number three, you either build off your advantages, or you’ve got to build some competitive advantages very quickly. Okay, you’re going to, you’re going to take your hot product, your great service, you’re going to spend big, you’re going to go in early, fine. But then people are going to copy you. So you’ve got to entrench that thing before they start copying what you’re doing. Now tick tock major network effects. Well, I shouldn’t say that. They have significant network effects, but fairly low barriers to entry. It’s actually relatively easy to copy the content library of tick tock because the videos are basically disposable. It’s not like YouTube with their vast library of long form content that is valuable. 10 years later. Now most Tik Tok videos after six months, nobody cares. So replicating the Content Library, which is a barrier to entry is not that hard. replicating the algorithm is turning out to be difficult for companies. YouTube shorts, still sucks, really does suck. So they’re pretty good. They’re they’re not as strong as everyone thinks. WeChat in China has replicated them fairly well, it looks like Instagram reels is closing the gap fairly effectively. So it’s copyable. But you either want to build an advantage, build off an advantage you have or if you don’t, you’ve got to sort of build your walls as soon as possible, which is what they’re doing. We could argue that like now what tick tock is doing is they’re building off an existing advantage somewhere like the US they have tick tock in the US. Fine. Then they launch camp cut, which is an editing software. Well, that became a major hit in the US because you use it to edit your Tiktok videos and it’s very good program. Then they Launched lemon eight, which is their new one, which is doing pretty well the lifestyle app. So you know, in their first move, they had to sort of go in break in spend big with a 10x product, and then they entrenched and trench and trench. Now they’re building off their existing advantages very smart. So we can see Oh, sort of all three of those. And as we go through the companies I just listed, I think that that little list holds up pretty well. We can see tick tock hit all three of those. We can see Sheehan was very good at the 10x user experience, early mover and big spender. That’s number one. Number two, they were good at a mostly crossborder standardized service. That’s good. I think they’re weaknesses. Number three, I don’t think most of what they’re doing is defendable. I don’t see any major competitive advantages with what she does, I think they’re going to get copied. They’re going to have to build up some customer capture something very quickly. I don’t think that’s what worries me about them. And I think T mu is the same. And the fact that T mu jumped in and basically copied chin and got good traction, tells you that she is not that protected. So they’ve got to build a competitive advantage of some kind. That’s number three. I don’t think they have that yet. Quite show. I don’t think they did. Number one, let’s 10x the user experience spend big getting early. I don’t think they did that. In the US. I think they did it in a couple smaller markets, where there was less formidable competition like Brazil. Again, cross border standardization, I think they have that. And in theory, they’re doing the, they’re doing the Tick Tock playbook. But they kind of missed their window for a lot of major economies. And it’s not clear that they were aggressive enough in the economies they went into. And last one would be WeChat. They had not really any of this. They didn’t have any advantages. Going into these other countries. They didn’t have a 10x user experience, the only thing they were bringing was messenger, but there was already messenger in most countries. And it’s basically utility. And most of the cool stuff couldn’t be taken out of China. So they were kind of zero for three on those rules. And so that’s kind of how I take it apart. I’ll put the list in the show notes. But I don’t know, we’ll see that that’s kind of where it fall with this. Given those three rules, sort of companies I’m keeping an eye on, as mentioned, I think electric and autonomous vehicles coming out of China are going to do very well, internationally. And they might even break into the major markets of Europe in the US. That’s pretty interesting. I think a lot of smart devices, anything that smart home, industrial robots, stuff like that. I think they’re well positioned for pretty much the same reasons. And then the third bucket I would keep an eye on is kind of what laminate is teeing up the idea of moving beyond short video to just more enjoyment and lifestyle apps. Because there’s a lot of creativity in that space in China, the whole b2c on a smartphone in China is so innovative, and so dynamic. And companies move so fast. And then they get to scale in China, and they’re very well set up to go international. So I think that tick tock playbook, we’re gonna see that in that space. So and that’s kind of what she and Timo are about it’s not like they, you know, they offered a lot of cheap stuff out of China cross border ecommerce, but they also had just a good user experience. We see that over and over, those are kind of the buckets I’m looking for. Anyways, that’s my little simple three rules thus far. We’ll see if it holds up over time. And that is the content for today. I’m speaking kind of fast, because I’m going to the airport in about an hour. So if I’m speaking faster than normal, that’s what’s going on. Like that makes any difference. But yeah, so it’s I’m heading back to China in a couple hours. Gonna be in Shanghai for a couple days, which is great. I love Shanghai. So too eager to get back. That’ll be fun. What else? Great week here in in Thailand. I was in Chiang Mai for some crime, the Water Festival. That is just the greatest festival anywhere. It’s so much fun. You know, two to three days, the whole cities a water fight. You just sort of roam the streets and everyone’s out in trucks, you know, with flatbed truck flatbed trucks with like, big water barrels in the back and teams of people dunking you and everyone lines up in the bars. That’s kind of what I do is sit in a bar on a street and you just sort of sit at the counter and just shoot out for when they go by. It’s really just, it sounds stupid. It’s so much fun. So that was a good couple days and yeah, it’s been a great couple of weeks the pollution was a bit of a problem, but Oh, you don’t get everything. Anyways, that’s it for me. I hope everyone is doing well. I hope this is helpful. And I will talk to you next week. Bye bye
I write, speak and consult about how to win (and not lose) in digital strategy and transformation.
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