BAT from China to Silicon Valley with Liza Lin

BAT from China to Silicon Valley with Liza Lin
Liza Lin from Wall Street Journal joined us to discuss Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent aka the BAT in China and their ongoing battles & influence in Silicon Valley.

Liza Lin, technology reporter from Wall Street Journal joined us in a conversation on the three important technology giants of China: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, aka the BAT and their influence from China to Silicon Valley. We discussed their ongoing battles in the lifestyle, deals and online to offline spaces and their upcoming battlegrounds from AI to self driving cars. Last but not least, we examined how they will approach their global expansion to the rest of the world.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Liza Lin, (@Liz_in_shanghai, LinkedIn), Technology Reporter at Wall Street Journal [0:40]
    • How did you start your career? [0:57]
    • What is your current coverage in China with WSJ? [2:18]
  • Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent (BAT) in China and Silicon Valley [3:40]
    • Can you briefly introduce these three companies to an audience who has no prior knowledge about the technology space in China? [3:40]
    • Given their influence in the Chinese Internet market, how does the traditional businesses and startup ecosystem in China perceive them? [6:38]
    • They have been fighting on many fronts against each other, and let’s take a specific category:
      • On the lifestyle spaces, Tencent backed Meituan-Dianping, Baidu backed Nuomi and Alibaba backed Koubei where these services are mainly in the deals and services space, can you describe why they are currently fighting over this space through these proxies? [8:15]
      • In the online to offline (O2O) space, Tencent and Alibaba originally backed Didi and Kuaidi and eventually merged into Didi, and then Baidu backed Uber, it seems that Baidu lost out in the O2O space with Uber selling Uber China to Didi, what are your thoughts on that? [12:14]
      • There has been recent talk about Baidu has turned from Google of China to Yahoo of China among the BAT according to the Information and it appeared that they have been losing out in major investments and M&A, particularly in the O2O space and loss of key executives such as Andrew Ng and their head of AI to Tencent, what are your perspectives on this? [14:24]
      • Can Baidu engineer a comeback within the BAT? If so, what will be the area of focus that they can outrun Alibaba and Tencent? [16:10]
      • What is the next battle ground? — fighting in cloud, online video, artificial intelligence, mobile payments (and Southeast Asia & India but between Tencent & Alibaba) [17:58]
    • One interesting issue is that the corporate development team of BAT are very active in Silicon Valley, can you briefly discuss the activity that is ongoing there? [18:42]
      • Tencent’s investment in Tesla
      • Didi R&D center
      • Baidu Research Lab
    • How do you see BAT navigating beyond China? [21:35]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Altizen and sign up for their mailing list. Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.