Demystifying China’s Internet Giants

Love them or loathe them, Chinese tech giants such as ByteDance, Alibaba and Tencent have become global household names in e-commerce, digital payments, social media and gaming in a few short years. Relatively little is known about these firms, but a new book may just change that.

Written by INSEAD Professor of Strategy Guoli Chen and Jianggan Li, founder and chief executive of venture capital firm Momentum Works, Seeing the Unseen: Behind Chinese Tech Giants’ Global Venturing shines a light on the success – and failure – of the likes of TikTok, Shein and WeChat beyond their home market of China.

In this podcast, Chen dissects the phenomenon using what he terms the POP-Leadership framework. Short for people, organisation, product and leadership, POP-Leadership can help companies think systematically about their strategy for overseas expansion.

Chen, who carried out extensive interviews with Chinese executives and investors for his book, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how TikTok became the world’s leading social media app, how Xiaomi established an early foothold in India and how e-commerce upstart Shopee has held its own against Alibaba-backed Lazada in South-east Asia.

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