China’s Internet Landscape Explained: How it’s Reshaping the lives of 772m Internet Users – Abacus News, 500 Startups and South China Morning Post Release 2018 China Internet Report


HONG KONG, July 10, 2018 — During the RISE international tech conference today, the 2018 China Internet Report [] was released exclusively on Abacus, a new media platform from the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Covering twelve industries, this hundred-page report summarizes China’s dynamic internet industry for international readers.


China’s internet is now ubiquitous across the country’s industries and population, and it continues to change and grow. The report includes key information about China’s internet landscape, including lists of Chinese unicorns, the country’s top internet companies and most active investors, and a side by side comparison of the internet population in China and the US. The report begins with a summary of four overarching themes that captures the uniqueness of China’s tech industry growth over the past year. It then delves more deeply into 12 sectors of importance: ecommerce, content & media, social & messaging, sharing economy, artificial intelligence, smart devices, autonomous cars, blockchain, fintech, education, gaming and esports.


Here are some key takeaways from the report:  

  • Chinese internet giants are doing everything: In China, it’s not enough to do one thing well — the internet giants have decided to do everything. BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have exposure to most key sectors by either building in-house or through investment. BAT is also growing beyond the domestic market; combined, the big three have had invested in 150 companies outside of mainland China.
  • Chinese internet companies are playing an important role empowering the country’s next wave of development: 490K online shops are run by rural households and 55M rural students are reachable by live-streaming classes.
  • China is a cashless society: China’s total mobile payment transaction volume hit $15 trillion USD in 2017 with the Alibaba-Tencent duopoly dominating 92% of the market.
  • Retail digitization adds new form of O2O: Online grocery is expected to become a $30 billion USD business in 2018; major players like Tencent, JD, and Alibaba are all making significant investments in new forms of online-to-offline (O2O) grocery stores.
  • Short video apps captured the most eyeballs in 2018: Over 230M people in China are actively using Kuaishou, the country’s leading short video app; Douyin, China’s second most popular short video app, was the most downloaded iOS app in Q1 2018 globally, beating out YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook.
  • China remains the world’s largest gaming market and is still growing: China captured US$30.8 billion in gaming revenue in 2017, which is more than one-fourth of total global gaming revenue. In China, more than 200M viewers tune in to esports via live streaming each year. Top Chinese game streaming sites each have more active streamers than Twitch has.
  • Artificial intelligence is one of the Chinese government’s key priorities: Autonomous driving, computer vision and voice intelligence are among the areas of focus.
  • Chinese people love cryptocurrencies, but the government doesn’t:  A few Chinese cryptocurrencies have reached over $1 billion in market cap. The Chinese government wants to be a front-runner in blockchain technology, but has completely banned crypto trading.


The annual report was introduced by 500 Startups in 2017. Featured exclusively this year on Abacus, SCMP’s digital news brand focused on China tech, it offers comprehensive coverage of China’s internet trends with insights from professional tech editors, and the summary microsite is designed by SCMP’s award-winning infographics team.


“The China Internet Report provoked a massive response last year among the international business and technology communities. This year, I am excited to partner with the Abacus and the SCMP Tech team in our mission to help the world better understand China Internet landscape,” said Edith Yeung, Partner and Head of China at 500 Startups.


“Abacus is all about unboxing China tech for the rest of the world, and this report fits that mission,” said Ravi Hiranand, Executive Producer of Abacus. “China’s internet population is huge and its tech sector is vast, but this report helps to break it down by giving you a curated look at key trends and companies that you need to know.”


“The China Internet Report is the most in-depth and visually accessible deep-dive available to the global audience,” said Chua Kong Ho, SCMP’s Technology Editor. “What sets it apart is that we are marrying the first-hand industry knowledge of 500 Startups with original, on-the-ground reporting from the South China Morning Post and Abacus.”


The full report is available for free download on Abacus.


For more details and the full report, please visit




Launched in March 2018 by the South China Morning Post, Abacus offers an insider’s look at the China tech revolution, highlighting the key players, emerging companies, hottest gadgets, and more through editorial and multimedia storytelling. Abacus is led by Ravi Hiranand, who joined SCMP’s editorial leadership from CNN.




500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems.




South China Morning Post is a leading global news company that has reported on China and Asia for more than a century. Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, where it is the city’s newspaper of record, with a growing correspondent staff across Asia and the United States. SCMP’s vision is to “Elevate Thought” and our mission is to “Lead the global conversation about China”. Additionally, SCMP publishes a portfolio of premium lifestyle and fashion titles in Hong Kong including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire and, Harper’s BAZAAR. SCMP is also home to Abacus, a digital news brand focused on China’s tech industry; Inkstone, a daily news brief for those curious about China’s growing impact around the world; and Goldthread, a content platform with a focus on food, travel and culture in China.




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