From Didi to Mobike to Luckin: How Money and Hype Are Distorting Digital China

Digital China has arrived. It has unicorns, huge market opportunities and a pervasive cultural impact. Everything is now at world-class scale. Unfortunately, the distorting impact of hot money and hype has also scaled up. And this appears to be increasing. Ride-sharing was the first big escalation in venture-type behavior. In 2015-16, in both China and […]

How Tsingtao, CR Snow and the Other Beer SOEs Won Big in China (Pt 1 of 2)

The Chinese beer market looks similar to beer markets in the rest of the world – mostly regional markets mostly dominated by a few giant beer companies. But take a look at the below chart from 2013. You’ll note that China evolved with one big difference with the rest of the world: The dominating beer […]

How Tsingtao, CR Snow and the Other Beer SOEs Won Big in China (Pt 2 of 2)

In Part 1, I asked how Chinese State-owned beer companies won in a business with no real government interests. That’s an unusual outcome and I wanted to figure out how it happened. My explanation is that Chinese beer SOEs won mostly by being early to market and by being better at acquiring small, legacy State-owned […]

How Alibaba.com Is Turning SMEs into Multinationals (Pt 2 of 2)

In Part 1, I argued that Alibaba.com is attempting to both digitize and democratize global trade – and to dramatically expand it from large companies to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). That’s a pretty big idea. And in Part 1, I laid out a bit of the theory behind this. But let me get back […]

Hold On To Your Hat. Alibaba.com is Building a Massive New E-Commerce Platform (Pt 1 of 2)

At the CES conference in Las Vegas this year, it was the exhibit by Alibaba that really blew my mind. Yes, all the robots and drones were cool. But what Alibaba.com, their B2B business, is doing really sent my mind reeling. Unless I am mistaken, they are building what could be their biggest initiative yet. […]

While Luckin Fights Starbucks, HeyTea Has Lines Out the Door in China (pt 2 of 2)

In Part 1, I argued that Starbucks China most interesting competitor is not Luckin Coffee. It is HeyTea, an upscale Starbucks-type business focused on tea (something Chinese consumers really, really like). And to their credit, HeyTea appears to be mostly focusing not on digital (or financial engineering) but on product development and continually thrilling their […]

Forget Luckin. Starbucks’ Most Interesting China Competitor is HeyTea (pt 1 of 2)

So Luckin Coffee has gone public and there are big questions about their revenue growth vs. operating losses. They are building an F&B business fast and aggressively against still unclear demand. But HeyTea is the Starbucks challenger I am keeping an eye on. They have long been referred to as the “Starbucks of tea”. And […]

Why Didn’t China Attend the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting? (Pt 1 of 3)

The 2019 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha was awesome. As always. But there was a very conspicuous absence of visitors from China this year. The decrease from last year was unmistakable. So what happened? In 2018, the Berkshire event was likely the most popular “China event” in the USA.. It was crazy. Of the […]