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Web Firms Face Brutal Competition in China


Baidu marketing staff

Product marketing staff at Chinese Internet search giant Baidu in Beijing China.

LiPo Ching / Mercury News

In China's young Internet industry, competitors draw blood.

When Binghao Cheng launched a social networking site two years ago, he named it Kaixin, or Happiness. But he didn't have the money to spare to buy the domain name Kaixin. So he used Kaixin001, which was not already owned by someone else.

As his company quickly gained popularity, a rival swooped in and bought the easier-to-remember domain name Kaixin—and redirected users of Kaixin001 to its site.

"It's like a knife fight here," said Thomas Chu, chief strategy officer for Kaixin001.

Silicon Valley companies have long eyed China's Internet market, fast approaching a half-billion users, as critical to their growth strategies. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has talked about setting up operations in China, is studying Mandarin. Experts, though, say it will take much more than language lessons to survive here.

From San Jose Mercury News
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