Meituan-Dianping and Pinduoduo embody the excitement over digital China

CHINA’S BUSTLING digital economy has spawned thousands of startups. Yet in the eyes of many it remains “BAT or bust”, to cite a saying among jobseekers from the country’s elite universities. The BAT in question refers to the original trio of Chinese internet stars: Baidu, a search engine; Alibaba, an online emporium; and Tencent, a mobile-payments and video-game titan. The acronym is overdue an update.

Alibaba and Tencent continue to lord it over digital China. With market capitalisations of nearly $700bn apiece, they are the world’s seventh- and eighth-biggest listed companies, respectively. Having struggled to adapt as consumers moved from desktops to smartphones, Baidu languishes in 319th place; its erstwhile equals can gain or lose the equivalent of its entire market value of $45bn in a day or two.

The BAT label also belies another development. Newer arrivals have been busily remodelling the upper reaches of China’s cyberscape. They include firms like, a $100bn e-merchant listed in New York, Didi Chuxing, a privately held ride-hailing giant valued at $60bn or so, and the $100bn-plus ByteDance, the world’s biggest unlisted startup (which owns, among other things, TikTok, a short-video app popular with Western teenagers).

None has set investors’ pulses racing of late more...

via Business Feeds

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