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China Businesses The Internet

Forget Millennials, the Internet's Most Wanted Users Are Older -- and Poorer (wsj.com) 58

An anonymous reader writes: China's relatively young internet industry is facing a mature-market problem: User growth for popular online services such as instant messaging, search, online news and video has fallen to single digits. Online population growth has hovered around 5% to 6% annually since 2014, which is only slightly higher than in mature economies. Unlike in many developed markets, a vast number of Chinese are unconnected. As they slowly come online, they're creating a sizable market that companies can tap into -- if they can figure out how.

"The Chinese internet is experiencing the third wave of [a] demographic dividend," said Wang Hua, a partner at venture-capital firm Sinovation Ventures, at a speech in December. The first wave, he said, were early adopters, while the second was driven by young people in major cities. "About half of the Chinese population is not yet heavy internet users, and they're the third wave of the demographic dividend," he says. "And they're usually the ones that are in charge of a family's daily consumption." Only 56% of 1.4 billion Chinese -- about 772 million people -- use the internet, according to official data. The U.S. reached that level of penetration in 2002, according to the United Nations. Interest in the lower end of the internet market has been building; live-streaming services have managed to attract working-class Chinese. This time around, the spread of e-commerce and new business models are unlocking more potential.

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Forget Millennials, the Internet's Most Wanted Users Are Older -- and Poorer

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  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @07:30PM (#56337781)
    Maybe the fact that China's Internet is surrounded by the Great Firewall is a reason people aren't eager to get on the Internet. If the Internet is nothing but a big Chinese shopping mall and government news distribution site, it isn't really all that enticing for someone to buy the hardware and learn the necessary skills to get online.
    • NO. Most Chinese are not that upset by the great firewall. Indeed, their take up of technology has been frighteningly fast. In the cities, it has become difficult to spend cash, even for small purchases. *Everyone* uses WeChat Pay. Everyone, except foreigners who cannot use the service.

      But most Chinese are poor and rural. While there are many billionaires, the total GDP per capita is still about 1/3 the west. Those poor only have basic feature phones if anything. So they are the next place to harve

  • This is a market segment that will never buy an iPhone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They also dodged a bullet on this whole Facebook spyware.

      • People in dictatorships are usually very sensitive to anything spying on them. Something like Farcebook would have never flied in Soviet Russia. People were too used to their private information being used against them.

        The US simply had no history of that. But we're gonna catch up soon to the former East Bloc.

        • There is a reason for the old East Bloc joke. It loses a bit in translation but it's still good:

          Don't think.
          If you think, don't speak.
          If you think and speak, don't write.
          If you think, speak and write, don't sign.
          If you think, speak, write and sign, don't be surprised.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @07:37PM (#56337811) Journal

    Forget Millennials, the Internet's Most Wanted Users Are Older -- and Poorer

    I knew they'd eventually come crawling back.

  • Facebook is overrun by old people that didn't grow up with the internet and believe anything they see.

  • Misleading Title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @08:08PM (#56337931)

    The title should be: Forget Millennials, the Internet's Most Wanted Users Are Older -- and Poorer ... IN CHINA"

    Seeing as it's an authoritarian shithole that I can't invest in or run a business without greasing enough hands, why do I care about their fledgling internet companies' woes?

    • We need more internet industry stories from Norway.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re "We need more internet industry stories from Norway."
        Jesper Berg will sell anyone thorium-based nuclear power.
        That will run your nations internet with no fossil fuel.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Dude, do you not know, if you to be a failed country to enter shithole status not a progressing country. Is China better or worse than it was a decade or more ago, well, only one answer to that substantively better. Not lets look at your typical Africa nation that Trump clearly has great love for, better or worse, well, worse it's definitely true. Then the biggest shitholes, well, of course all those countries USA delivered democracy to over the last decades, apparently deliver democracy == turn into shit h

  • ... if you order enough shipping containers with the solution to the Chinese demographics problem in it, you'll get a 6% discount as well.
  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @08:51PM (#56338121)

    If you think you're going to reach the Chinese market with the same bullshit methods you're using on us, think again.
    To even get a shot, you're going to have to satisfy God Emperor Jinping and I've got bad news.

    If you're not a Chinese company, with Chinese interests in mind, you're wasting your time.

  • They should implement some kind of social ranking system, and suppy free phones to good people and ban anyone with a poor ranking.

  • What the fucking hell do they teach in schools these days?

    Learn about population numbers.
    Learn about adoption rates.
    Learn about market saturation.

    Non-stop growth is IMPOSSIBLE.
    100% marketshare is nearly impossible.

  • Seriously.

    These are the people that have a healthy distrust of their own government already, and anything they generally read has the Governmental spin on it.

    Besides, it isn't going to be free. After all, many of them have carefully balanced budgets that happen to include food, and there's probably nothing left over for internet subscription fees, hardware and additional electrical costs per month.

    Why in the world would they want to get online, when some twitchy tweenager (or Big Brother) can start picking

  • But I only look Chinese, you insensitive clod!
     
    These aren't the chicken wings you're looking for. I'm not the delivery guy, either!

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