Business / Technology

'Made in China' online enterprises on global mission

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-16 09:18

Domestic Internet giants are dipping their toes in international waters for sustained long-term growth, reports Meng Jing.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has been in the limelight recently with its much-anticipated initial public offering of shares in New York. But its chairman Jack Ma has also been busy making trips to countries like South Korea to expand the company's flagship e-commerce business.

Ma, who held extensive discussions with South Korean President Park Geun-hye during his trip to Seoul last month, was making his third trip to the country in the past six months, including a trip in July as part of President Xi Jinping's official delegation to the country.

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Joining Ma on the trip in July were top executives from some of the biggest and most innovative Chinese Internet firms, like Robin Li, the chief executive officer of search company Baidu Inc.

Li was also part of Xi's delegation to Brazil in July. During the trip, Xi, along with his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff, witnessed the launch of the Portuguese version of the Baidu search engine. Though it was not the first time that Baidu had launched a non-Chinese language search engine, it was certainly the first time that a Chinese leader was promoting its services.

The Internet sector has never been as important in China as it is now, with domestic Internet companies and services being part of the top leaders' overseas marketing list, which includes basic goods, value-added mechanical and electrical products, and high-end, high-speed railway systems and nuclear power plants.

According to a recent study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, the business and economics research arm of global consulting firm McKinsey & Co, the Internet sector could add 0.3 to 1 percentage points to China's GDP growth rate from 2013 to 2025.

This could fuel some 7 to 22 percent of the incremental GDP growth through 2025, translating into 4 trillion yuan ($650 billion) to 14 trillion yuan in China's annual GDP by that point.

Whether the Internet sector and other high-tech emerging industries are going to become China's new weapon to help win more global market share is still too early to tell, but it is clear that some of China's leading firms have already had the capacity to provide services outside the country and are starting to put overseas expansion into high gear.

Apart from launching a Portuguese search engine in Brazil, the Beijing-based Baidu also signed a strategic agreement with Brazil's Ministry of Science and Technology to jointly develop Internet technology in Brazil.

Baidu will offer tailor-made solutions to help with Brazil's Internet innovation and build a technology innovation center in Brazil to cultivate local talent and startup companies.

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