American internet companies have lost in the competitive China market one after another: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Ebay, Twitter, YouTube. Compared to them Uber did an amazing job, says innovation expert William Bao Bean to LA Times. “It was a draw.”
It took years for Google to realize that many Chinese couldn’t pronounce its name. The company ultimately had to rebrand itself GuGe in China. Even then, many people still chose to call it GoGo.
Given the abject failures of most U.S. tech companies in China, Uber’s deal with Didi doesn’t look bad to some observers. Uber, after all, isn’t leaving China, and it still has a sizable stake in the growing ride-hailing space — not that the bar was particularly high. Microsoft, for instance, isn’t giving-up on China even though an estimated 95% of its copies of Microsoft Office in the country were pirated at one point.
“They’re the first international Internet company that didn’t lose,” William Bao Bean, a Shanghai-based partner at SOS Ventures and the managing director of Chinaccelerator, said of Uber. “They fought to a draw. And for an American Internet company, that’s as good as a win.”
Are you looking for more experts on innovation at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.
Has Facebook become a WeChat clone? A discussion with William Bao Bean.