In 2012, mobile phones became the main devices for accessing the Internet in China.
1/ Global Internet Market: China to play a dominant role
-Thanks to China, global mobile traffic will hit 25% of total internet traffic
-Thanks to among others, China and the USA, global mobile and tablet shopping will go over 25% of total internet shopping
-New players will emerge in China and in other parts of Asia like Singapore and Indonesia
2/ Search Engines: fierce competition for market share
–Bǎidù will face strong competition from local and global players in China. As a consequence the firm will accelerate growth in other countries directly or through partnerships (mobile browser, advertising services…)
3/ e-Commerce: growth & traffic from social media
-The country is likely to become the world’s largest online shopping market in 2013
-Lower-tier cities will replace first-tier cities (like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou) at the top of the ranking on growth of online shopping
–Alibaba e-Commerce will boom (IPO to come in either 2013 or 2014)
–American players in e-Commerce will be back thanks to partnerships (for instance eBay)
-WeChat will become a new player of e-Commerce in China (and later in other countries of Asia, and maybe the world in 2014)
4/ SOLOMO: the real start in China
a) Social Commerce (SO)
–WeChat/Weixin will become the first social chat mobile app in the world. More on WeChat in 2013.
-Google has to launch new products including a new social mobile app (GTalk should be improved and integrated to a Google+ app or more)
-Facebook will monetize but be challenged by new mobile social applications
-SinaWeibo will increase monetization through brands and marketing campaigns
b) Location based services (LO)
c) Mobile OS: no success yet, looking for opportunities (MO)
Even though Ālǐbābā and Bǎidù tested the market with respectively Linux-based Aliyun (阿里雲) and Android-based Bǎidù-Yì (百度•易平台), there is no significant players from China. Android is dominant in China, and in the World. Either Ālǐbābā, Xiaomi, Bǎidù, or Tencent (腾讯) is likely to choose partners and try a launch in 2013.
5/ Other Predictions
-UC Browser, the mobile browser, will expand to other countries but face competition from Baidu Brower and other players
-Telecom firms like China Mobile will sign partnerships with Internet companies, likely to create or buy Internet solutions
-Tencent might decide to compete with Telecom companies launching phone call services either in 2013 or 2014
-Xiaomi expansion to other countries
For Chinese Internet, year 2013 will be a year of innovation and a year of continuous global expansion.
For the world, year 2013 will be the year of mobile commerce growth and mobile payment transaction boom.
For firms with excess of cash reserve and no need to monetize now, expanding the mobile user base is the most important focus to have for all the global players of the Internet during year 2013.
Notice that the prediction we made about WeChat in June 2012 became reality: the user base exceeds now 200 million!
1/ VALUE2020 Market Intelligence
2/ Gartner, URL: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2209615