An Original: Why Poshmark Reminds Us of Chinese Companies
In this piece, we reflect on why “social commerce” has the potential to shake up the global multi-trillion-dollar e-commerce market, and why Poshmark — the largest social marketplace for fashion — reminds us of a few Chinese companies that pioneered the integration of social and e-commerce.
Poshmark is a GGV portfolio company that announced $87.5 million in Series D funding last month.
Xiaomi Partners with Baidu on AI and IoT
Baidu and Xiaomi announced that they have entered into a partnership to jointly develop technologies on artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, leveraging Baidu’s conversational AI system DuerOS to enhance the user experience for consumer electronics and smart devices.
Launched in July, Baidu’s DuerOS open platform is a conversation-based AI system that helps developers create voice-enabled devices that understand human commands. Without releasing further details, the two companies said they would immediately explore opportunities in voice recognition, deep learning, and computer vision.
Xiaomi, one of the world’s most valuable private firms, has made significant inroads in emerging markets thanks to its affordable phones and smart devices. It is currently the second largest smartphone seller in India.
GGV Managing Partner Hans Tung is an early investor and former board member of Xiaomi.
Tesla Sets up R&D Center in Beijing
Tesla recently set up an R&D center in Beijing that will work on advances in electric vehicles, parts, and batteries. The scope of its business will also include the transfer of R&D achievements, technological services and consulting, according to the filing.
The venture is Tesla’s latest effort to infiltrate China, the world’s largest electric vehicles market. Tesla is also reportedly looking to open a factory in Shanghai.
China’s government has made it a priority to create favorable conditions for EV makers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this month that the current 50% ceiling on the size of the stake that foreign companies can hold in car factories in the country will be increased by June, as long as the companies are producing new-energy cars in free trade zones, according to Caixin.
In China, Tesla is merely one among many electric car brands, occupying 8.6% of China’s EV market, according to Bloomberg. A Chinese consumer can now choose from around 75 EV models, most of them domestic, which is more than in any other country in the world, according to McKinsey,
Alibaba Sells $7B of Highly Sought-After Bonds; Lays Out Expansion Strategy
Alibaba sold $7 billion in dollar bonds last Wednesday in the world’s largest corporate bond offering of the year that drew $46 billion in demand. The company indicated that the new proceeds could be used for acquisitions in growth areas such as physical retail and logistics assets.
According to Alibaba’s latest earnings report, profits were up 146% year-on-year in the third quarter of this year.
CEO Daniel Zhang told Fortune this week that Alibaba’s biggest opportunities exist in four areas:
1. “New Retail”
2. Global expansion (Southeast Asia is a priority)
3. Cloud computing
4. Filmed entertainment
Jack Ma, who has flown 1,000 hours across the globe this year, will appear onstage next week at the FORTUNE Global Forum in Guangzhou, China, where GGV Managing Partner Hans Tung will also be speaking.
GGV Capital was an early investor in Alibaba in 2003.
43% — The percentage of Chinese online video users who are currently paying subscribers to some form of video service. This is 7.4 percentage points higher than the proportion last year. Chinese netizens are increasingly willing to pay for video content, according to a report published last week by the China Netcasting Services Association. The survey also found that 95% of users watch content on smartphones.