China’s unique set of urban transportation challenges, very high rate of adoption of mobile internet services, and rapid and aggressive introduction of alternative mobility solutions have combined to make China a global breeding ground for mobility innovation.
The deeply-rooted automotive industry business model is experiencing disruption.
China’s enthusiasm for new technology, combined with its paranoia about being left behind in a globally intensifying high-tech competition, sometimes leads it to create small bubbles in its economy which may or may not dissipate in the disciplined manner in which the markets they encompass may have emerged in the first place.
China is planning to create what looks like will be the largest, longest and most complex logistics network in history – at a cost to itself of almost $1 trillion.
The so-called Belt & Road Initiative will virtually encircle China, most of Asia and much of Europe, and will mostly consist of interconnected roads, but will also include sea lanes and railways, and possibly some airways.
In total, it will connect approximately 60 countries, and cost anything between $4 trillion and $8 trillion. And the timescale is anyone’s guess.
China’s fast economic growth, its gradual but consistent transition from a planned economy toward a market economy, the emergence of highly intensive competition in the open sectors, the increasing prevalence of technology and the availability of angel investing and venture capital funds all contributed to the emergence of waves of entrepreneurship and innovation in China that the country had not seen before.
In their search for growth strategies, these Chinese entrepreneurs were typically fast and agile. Some of them developed diversified conglomerates, and there were others that decided on a narrow focus, taking the core competence approach.
For a long time, Chinese companies have been known for copying market-proven products, brands and business models from the West and adapting them for the local market with only minor modifications. Such a phenomenon is known as shanzhai, a Chinese term that was originally used to describe a bandit stronghold outside government control. In today’s slang, it refers to businesses based on fake or pirated products.
Shanzhai has been prevalent in China in recent decades and this has earned China the reputation of being a “copycat nation”. Western media report that China’s preferential policies and regulations to restrict market access, such as the the “Great Firewall” in the internet industry, and the lack of intellectual property protection, give Chinese companies an unfair home advantage to create copies.
While shanzhai is common across a range of products and services, it is particularly prevalent in the internet sector. Chinese internet companies are often compared to their Western counterparts based on the similarity of their business models. For example, Baidu is known as the “Google of China”, Alibaba as the “eBay of China”, and Xiaomi as the “Apple of China”, just to name a few. Continue reading How China’s ‘copycat’ tech companies are now the ones to beat
Mobile Industrial Robots, a developer and manufacturer of autonomous mobile robots, claims it has seen “an astounding 500 percent growth in sales” in 2016, with over 200 MiR100 robots and accessories installed in more than 30 countries.
The company says it has an “ambitious” plan, and has recently expanded its global presence, establishing regional offices in New York and Shanghai.
With substantial increases in hiring in 2016, MiR also tripled the size of its Denmark headquarters, relocating to a new location that will support its ongoing expansion.