In the world of smartphones, we’re becoming more and more used to Chinese technology companies competing with popular global brands, but we also know that the pendulum doesn’t necessarily swing both ways. The Chinese government’s “Great Firewall” has kept many Western tech powerhouses out of the country, and enabled the careful curation of approved local services. Combined with financial and regulatory backing for home-grown brands, China has a booming tech industry to call its own.
While we’re all familiar with many of California’s biggest tech companies, it’s Shenzhen that’s has earned itself the reputation as the Silicon Valley of China, as it’s home to a number of the country’s multinational tech companies, including Tencent, ZTE, Huawei, and others. Although a number of China’s other large tech companies have their headquarters based in Beijing too, as you might expect.
Even though these companies are just as huge, if not sometimes bigger than their US counterparts in their home country, many of them are virtually unknown outside of China. So here’s how some of China’s biggest tech companies stack up against the big names in Silicon Valley.
WeChat (Tencent) / Facebook
Facebook is certainly the biggest name in social media and one of the largest companies in Silicon Valley. It’s not only known for its home brand apps and services, but the company has also bought out Instagram and WhatsApp for obscene amounts of money, giving the company reach in the SMS and photo sharing games too.
Tencent is China’s biggest tech company, by market cap, and WeChat offers a variety of social media services that rival Facebook’s acquisitions.
Tencent Holding’s WeChat is probably the closest equivalent service in China, offering up Moments (social feed and friends updates), Messaging (text, one-to-many calls, video calls, and media sharing), and News Feed, among others, all in a single platform.
WeChat is also now the biggest player in China’s mobile payments industry. Customers can pay bills, transfer money to other users, and make payments in store using the WeChat payment option. This year, WeChat claimed 600 million mobile payment users, while its closest rival Alipay from Alibaba caters to 450 million users in the country.
WeChat was started in January 2011 and has accumulated 938 million active users at the last count, 90 percent of which are based in China. By comparison, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have some 1.2 billion users, Instagram has 700 million, and Twitter just 328 million users around the globe. The main Facebook app is still the largest at over 2 billion active users, but WeChat is still a noteworthy player in the social game.
Tencent Holdings, the company that owns WeChat, also has interests in a variety of other markets, some of which crossover with Facebook. The company is set to launch a virtual reality headset this year (Facebook owns Oculus) and is also in the music distribution, video streaming, and online gaming businesses. In fact, Tencent is China’s biggest tech company, by market cap.
Huawei / Apple
Huawei is now a well known brand on the international market, – Source