China's world tech domination begins in SE Asia | Bangkok Post: learning


Learning > Learning From News > Advanced News

China's world tech domination begins in SE Asia

Southeast Asia, also known as ASEAN, with Jack Ma, the Great Chinese Firewall that prevents content outside China entering (Source: Wikipedia)

- +

If the new Chinese global business strategy is "winner takes all" and to wipe out all other players out, why worry?


China's world tech domination begins in SE Asia

Bloomberg News Agency

If the new Chinese global business strategy is "winner takes all" and to wipe out all other players, why worry?

ASEAN or Southeast Asia will apparently be the first stop for this strategy.

In contrast, win-win strategies are strategies that seek partnerships and collaboration in which the many partners benefit, but apparently that is not in the cards.


In Singapore, Isaac Ho and several other investors were watching a sales pitch from a new start-up company in Singapore specialising in cancer detection

One of the Chinese billionaires present at the presentation stood up and -- without a word -- scrawled on the whiteboard in Chinese characters:

“Speed x Market Share”

It was a simple formula that meant basically: be first and be largest, no matter the cost.

But that’s when Mr Ho understood how the Southeast Asian tech scene was about to change.

“It was the moment that I understood the Chinese strategy,” said the founder of Venturecraft Group who’s known in local med-tech circles for whiskey-fuelled networking parties.


“If you are not the No. 1, you will become obsolete."

"If you are the No. 1, you can buy the newer technology."

"It’s a winner-takes-it-all game.’’

Meaning that one company will get 100% market share of the market and the rest will fail and go out of business. 


Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Didi Chuxing became titans of industry through a land grab whose velocity and scale took many by surprise.

The first two now rank among the top world’s 10 largest corporations.

Five-year-old Didi out-gunned Uber Technologies Inc in part through a willingness to spend untold amounts of cash.


Now, seeking growth as their home market slows and saturates, China’s tech overlords are shifting their gaze toward the rest of the planet.

First stop, Southeast Asia: a region with twice the population of the US and the largest Chinese diaspora in the world.

Chinese investments in technology abroad more than doubled to $37.8 billion last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates.


Among those, Alibaba paid $1 billion in 2016 for control of Singapore-based e-commerce player Lazada Group SA, now its beachhead for the region.

WeChat- operator Tencent -- already a backer of Sea Ltd., Southeast Asia’s most valuable start-up -- is said to be close to investing in Indonesian ride-sharing giant Go-Jek.

Even Didi, Asia’s most valuable start-up, backs car-hailing peer Grab and has declared its intentions to go global.


“What you are seeing is a change in mindset,” said Thomas Tsao, founding partner of early stage investor Gobi Partners.

“They’re starting to aspire, not just to be the biggest Chinese company, but they are thinking globally.”

China’s laid the groundwork to take the helm of the regional economy for decades.

Its ever-wealthier investors have poured billions into everything from transport to real estate, transforming the region.


China almost doubled foreign direct investment (FDI) into the six biggest Southeast Asian nations in 2016 alone, Credit Suisse Group AG estimates.

Little of that largesse, went to a tech sector in its infancy.

But with deepening mobile penetration and an emergent middle class, the country’s tech giants are beginning to take note.

The region hosts the largest ethnic Chinese population on the planet -- a comfort to would-be financiers craving cultural similarities.

Growth in the Asean-5 of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam is projected to exceed 5% annually through 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says, outstripping North Asia’s 3% on average.


The territory of ASEAN or Southeast Asia is still up for grabs.

Grab and Go-Jek vie for market share in the ride-sharing market.

Tokopedia and Lazada compete in e-commerce, but no single player has emerged dominant in any segment.

Compare that with China, where just a handful of companies control the major spheres of search (Baidu Inc.), e-commerce (Alibaba), social media (Tencent) and ride-sharing (Didi).


Israeli tech pioneer Yossi Vardi says Alibaba’s moves to aggressively capture market share outside China reminds him of the US in the 60s and 70s.

At that time American companies began looking outward for growth and ended up as multinationals.

“This is very, very substantial and it’s just a beginning,” he told a conference in Singapore last month.


More deals are indeed in the works.

Alibaba’s Chinese rival, Inc., is said to be in talks to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia.

Indonesian ride-hailing service Go-Jek is said to be in talks with Tencent to raise $1 billion.


In Thailand, Tencent has increased its investments in media: its JOOX was the most downloaded music app in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in 2016, according to App Annie.

In January, Tencent formed a joint venture with digital content startup Ookbee.


“The opportunity in Asia is just unparallelled,” Grace Xia, Tencent’s senior director of corporate strategy and investment, said in a May interview.

She headlined back-to-back conferences in the region that month, a rarity for publicity-shy Tencent managers.

“Southeast Asia is emerging at an accelerated pace, with a lot of similarities with China in terms of user behaviour.’’


Alibaba has been the most aggressive thus far.

It’s amassing a regional presence in anticipation of Inc’s eventual entry, starting with Lazada.

Co-founder Jack Ma travelled to Kuala Lumpur in March to declare Malaysia its first logistics hub outside of China, a centralised warehousing and distribution launchpad for the region.


Alibaba is also laying the foundation for a financial network.

Ma’s Ant Financial, China’s largest internet financial services firm, tied up with Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group on Ascend Money, which aims to serve 340 million Southeast Asians with limited access to banking. It’s struck similar deals with Indonesian conglomerate Emtek.


“There was first Alibaba looking at Southeast Asia,” said Michael Lints, a partner at Golden Gate Ventures.

“We’re seeing more and more of the second-tier Chinese companies also looking at Southeast Asia.”

Unsurprisingly, the region’s investors and financial middle-men are getting pulled into China’s orbit.

Hian Goh, founding partner of NSI Ventures in Singapore, is one of several venture capitalists who say a growing number of investors from the country have called on him and his portfolio companies of late.

“Chinese interest in Southeast Asia has massively picked up,” he said.


Not everyone welcomes the influx.

Alibaba’s and Tencent’s duel for supremacy risks inflating valuations in payments and e-commerce, shutting out all but the deepest pockets, said Peng Ong, Jakarta-based managing director at Monk’s Hill Ventures.

“There will be a few companies that will get crazy valuations,’’ he said.

Resentment persists against the ethnic Chinese population’s disproportionate control of the economy in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, a sentiment that’s historically erupted in violence in the past.

Others fear deep-pocketed Chinese firms will squeeze out innovative local players, given their track record.


“The degree of competitiveness and bloodbath that is often observed in China ... is not visible in Southeast Asia yet,” Leon Hermann, head of South Asia and Southeast Asia at Global Founders Capital, told the Wild Digital conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Still, prompted by Ant’s aggressive expansion in the region, Piyush Gupta, head of top Southeast Asian lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd., already calls Alibaba and Tencent his biggest competitors. Homegrown VCs and startups likewise need to be on the alert.

“They’ve got to wake up because their backyard is getting invaded,” said Khailee Ng, a managing partner at 500 Startups.

Reconnaissance has begun in earnest in Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous nation. Adrian Li of Convergence Ventures, one of the earliest venture capitalists to move to Jakarta from China, escorted top angel investors around the capital last year including New Oriental co-founder Bob Xu, Meitu Inc. co-founder Cai Wensheng and Sinovation Ventures founder Kai-fu Lee. They called on local champions Go-Jek and Tokopedia, and later schmoozed with up-and-comers like dating-site Paktor over drinks at the century-old Kunstkring restaurant.

The country draws comparisons with China a decade ago: a lack of retail infrastructure, which powered Alibaba’s ascension; an exploding mobile-user base, which drove Tencent’s messaging service WeChat to almost a billion users; and a growing middle-class craving leisure and quality goods, which underpinned the rise of both.


China’s tech financiers may also be filling a void, as an inward-looking US administration enhances the allure of Chinese money. Reddit Inc. co-founder Alexis Ohanian laments a missed opportunity for American investors.

Warburg Pincus -- whose president Tim Geithner attended high school in Bangkok -- is one of just a handful of US tech dealmakers in the region.

“I’m happy to see China taking the leadership role, but it also frustrates me because this has been our secret sauce,” Mr Ohanian told the Tech in Asia conference in May.


In the end, Southeast Asia gains not just the capital and experience of Chinese benefactors, but perhaps also their brand of chutzpah.

"Their capital and knowledge are critical,” said Amit Anand, founder of Singapore-based Jungle Ventures.

“But they are also bringing the sense of daring and boldness that is missing here."

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to China's world tech domination begins in SE Asia and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.


abroad : in or to a foreign country - ในต่างประเทศ

accelerate : to happen or make something happen at a faster rate - เร่ง, เร่งความเร็ว, เพิ่มความเร็ว

according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน

affair : an event - เรื่องราว

aggressively (adv): in a way that shows force and determination in order to succeed - อย่างตั้งใจจริง, อย่างมุ่งมั่น, อย่างแน่วแน่

alone : only -

annually : happening every year - ทุกๆปีด

aspire : to want to achieve something or to be successful - ตั้งปณิธาน

back-to-back : happening one after another, after one finishes the next begins; consecutive - ที่ต่อเนื่องตามลำดับ

backer : someone who strongly supports someone or something - ผู้สนับสนุน

based : living or working in a particular placed; located in a particular place - อาศัย

basically : in the most important ways, without considering things that are less important - โดยพื้นฐาน, โดยแท้จริง, โดยทั่วๆ ไป

beachhead : the place or beach where an invading force lands, coming from the sea, before it makes its way inland fighting -

behaviour : the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว

billionaire : having more than a billion pounds, dollars (or a billion baht in Thailand) - คนที่รวยมากๆ มีทรัพย์สินพันล้านดอลล่าร์

cancer : a serious disease in which growths of cells, also called cancers, form in the body and kill normal body cells. The disease often causes death - มะเร็ง

capture : to catch someone or something; to take someone as a prisoner - จับ, จับกุม

cash : money in the form of notes or coins - เงินสด

character : a letter, number, or symbol that is written, printed, or used in computer programs - ตัวอักษร

comfort : a thing that makes your life easier or more comfortable - ความสะดวกสบาย

conference (noun): a large official meeting, usually lasting for a few days, at which people with the same work or interests come together to discuss their views - การประชุมร่วม

corporation : a large business company - บริษัท

cost : an amount of money that people need to pay for something - ค่า

crave : to have a very strong desire for something - ปรารถนา, ต้องการ

cultural (adj.): related to the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

deal (noun): a formal agreement, especially in business or politics - ข้อตกลง, การตกลงซื้อขาย, การซื้อขาย

decades : periods of ten years - เป็นสิบๆปี

declare : to announce officially that something is true or happening - ประกาศ ยืนยัน

detection : the process of proving that something is present or how something has happened using scientific methods - การพบ,การสืบหา,การตรวจพบ

diaspora : when the people of an ethnic group or country leave the country, moving to other places around the world, scattering, dispersion - การพลัดถิ่น การกระจัดกระจายของชาวยิวจากอิสราเอลไปยังบาบิโลเนีย และจากบาบิโลเนียไปทั่วโลก

director : one of a group of senior managers who run a company - กรรมการบริษัท

dominant : more powerful or important than all others - เหนือกว่า

double : to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many - เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า

e-commerce (noun): business that is conducted on the Internet - อีคอมเมิร์ซ (การพาณิชย์อิเล็กทรอนิกส์)

emerged : appeared - ปรากฏออกมา

emergent : emerging; to start to exist; to appear - เกิดขึ้น

estimate : an amount that you guess or calculate using the information available - ประมาณการ

estimates : guesses of what the size, value, amount, cost, etc. of something might be - การประมาณค่า

ethnic : of a group of people with the same culture or traditions - กลุ่มชาติพันธุ์

exceed : to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด

financier : a person or an organisation that manages or lends large amounts of money - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญเกี่ยวกับการเงิน,นักการคลัง

foreign direct investment (noun): FDI, money that people or companies of one country invest in another country by buying property, building factories, buying businesses, etc -

form : to start to exist and develop; to make something start to exist and develop - พัฒนาขึ้น, สร้างขึ้น

formula : a list of the things that something is made from, giving the amount of each substance to use - สูตร

founding : starting an organisation, company, political party, etc. - ก่อตั้ง

gaze : a long steady look at somebody/something - การเพ่งมอง, การจ้อง

global : world - เกี่ยวกับโลก

globally : throughout the world - ทั่วโลก

groundwork (noun): work that is done as preparation for other work that will be done later - รากฐาน,พื้นฐาน,การเตรียมตัว

group (noun): a business group, a large company that owns other companies -

growth (noun): economic growth, an increase in economic activity - การเติบโต

handful : a small number or amount - จำนวนน้อย

headline (verb): to be the main attraction - เป็นจุดสนใจ

helm : in official control of an organisation or company - มีตำแหน่งผู้ควบคุม

holding company : a company that is formed to buy shares in other companies which it then controls - บริษัทผู้ถือหุ้นใหญ่หรือเป็นเจ้าของหุ้นใหญ่ในบริษัทอื่น บริษัทที่ถูกจัดตั้ง ขึ้นมาเพื่อซื้อหุ้นของบริษัทอื่น

holdings : the stock shares and part ownership in a company that someone owns or "holds" -

in terms of (verb): measured by -

infancy (noun): the early development of something; the time when a child is a baby or very young - วัยทารก,ระยะแรก ๆ

intention : a plan in your mind to do something - ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ

International Monetary Fund (noun): IMF; an independent organization of the United Nations, which aims to encourage economic stability in countries all over the world. More than 150 countries are members. It was established in 1944 and is based in Washington, DC. - กองทุนการเงินระหว่างประเทศ

interview : a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน

investor : a person or organization that invests money, i.e., uses money with the aim of making a profit from it, for example by buying property or buying shares in a company - นักลงทุน

investors (noun): people or organisations that invest money, i.e., use money with the aim of making a profit from it, for example by buying property or buying shares in a company - นักลงทุน

joint venture : a business activity carried out by two or more companies or groups - การลงทุนร่วม

land grab : getting ownership of land, often through illegal or improper methods - ได้ที่ดินอย่างผิดกฎหมาย

largesse : generosity in bestowing money or gifts upon others -

market share (noun): the percentage of sales that a company has in a market or industry compared to total sales - เปอร์เซ็นต์การขายสินค้า, ส่วนแบ่งตลาด

media : newspapers, television, radio, etc. - สื่อ

middle class (noun): people who earn enough money to pay their family's expenses and save some too; people who are not rich and not poor but in the middle, in between; bourgeoisie, white-collar class - ชนชั้นกลาง

mindset : a way of thinking about things - ความเชื่อที่ผลต่อพฤติกรรม

mobile : able to move or be moved around - ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย

mobile (technology) : of devices, especially telecommunication devices, that can easily be moved around, e.g., mobile phones, tablets, notebook computers - อุปกรณ์ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย

much-vaunted : a plan or achievement that people say is very good or important, especially when this may not be true -

multinational (noun): a company that operates in many different countries - บรรษัทข้ามชาติ, บริษัทระหว่างประเทศ

nation : a country considered as a group of people with the same language, culture and history, who live in a particular area under one government; all the people in a country - ประเทศ, คนในประเทศ

networking (noun): a system of trying to meet and talk to other people who may be useful to you in your work -

no matter (who, what, etc.) : always true, whatever the situation is - ไม่ว่าในกรณีใด, มิไย

no such thing : it does not exist, cannot be found -

obsolete : not in use any more, having been replaced by something newer and better - ล้าสมัย หมดยุคไปแล้ว

on average : calculated by adding several amounts together, finding a total, and dividing the total by the number of amounts - โดยเฉลี่ย

operator (noun): a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ

opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส

out-gunned : fought harder and won -

outstrip (verb): to become larger, more important, etc. than somebody/something - ทำได้ดีกว่า

outward (adjective): going out of a place - ที่มุ่งไปด้านนอก, จากไป

overlord : a powerful leader of a group of people in the ancient past -

pace : the speed at which something happens or is done - อัตรา

partner : one of the people who owns a business and shares the profits, etc or works together with another business in an activity - หุ้นส่วน, ผู้ร่วมมือ,

penetration : the level at which a product, service, etc. has succeeded in entering a market - ส่วนแบ่ง

pioneer : a person who is the first to study and develop a particular area of knowledge, culture, etc. that other people then continue to develop; one of the first people to go to a particular area in order to live and work there - นักบุกเบิก, ผู้บุกเบิก

pitch : to try to persuade someone to do something by telling them how good and important it is - กล่อม

player (noun): a person, organization or company involved in some activity or industry -

population : a particular group of people or animals living in a particular area - กลุ่มที่อาศัยอยู่ในที่เดียวกัน

presentation (noun): a formal talk given to an audience on some subject or topic - การนำเสนอ, การนำเสนอข้อมูล

projected : calculated based on information already known - คาดคะเน, ประเมิน

publicity : attention in magazines, newspapers, or television - การเผยแพร่

publicity-shy (adj): uncomfortable in public events, especially where publicity is involved - ไม่สนุกกับการประชาสัมพันธ์, น่าอึดอัดใจกับการประชาสัมพันธ์

rank : someone’s official position in the armed forces, police, fire services, etc. - ยศ, ตำแหน่ง

rarity : something that does not happen often, that is hard to find -

real estate : property - อสังหาริมทรัพย์

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

regional : of or relating to a region - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค

remind : to make someone think of something they have forgotten or might have forgotten - เตือนความจำ

saturated (adj.): completely full, no room left for expansion - อิ่มตัว

scale : the size or extent of something, especially when compared with something else - ขนาด, ระดับ

scene (noun): a particular area of activity or way of life and the people who are part of it - สิ่งแวดล้อม, เรื่องราว

scrawled : wrote -

sector : a part of a country’s economy or business activity - ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ

segment : market segment; products produced for a group of customers that have many things in common such as income or family size or age or location - ส่วนตลาด

senior : with a high rank or position - อาวุโส

shift : a change in something - การเปลี่ยน

similarity : being like somebody/something but not exactly the same - ความคล้ายคลึง, ความเหมือน

simple : easy to understand; not complicated - ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน

social media : the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

specialise : to concentrate on a particular subject or activity - มีความชำนาญเป็นพิเศษ

sphere (noun): an area of activity, influence or interest; a particular section of society - วง

stage : a part of an activity or process or a period of development - ช่วง, ระยะ, ตอน

start-up (noun): a company that is just beginning to operate - บริษัท เริ่มต้น

startup (noun): a company that is just beginning to operate - บริษัทใหม่

strategy : a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time - ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ  

substantial : large in size, value or importance - มากมาย, ยิ่งใหญ่, สำคัญ

take note (verb): to pay attention to something and be sure to remember it - รับทราบ, ติดตาม

territory : an area of land controlled by a particular country, leader or army - อาณาบริเวณ  อาณาเขตประเทศ

titan (noun): a person or organisation that is very important or successful - คนที่มีพลังมหาศาล

transnationalism : across or beyond countries or nations -

transport : moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง

trend : a gradual change or development that produces a particular result   - ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม

twice (adv): two times; on two occasions - สองครั้ง

unidirectional : in one direction -

unparalleled : not found elsewhere -

untold : so great in amount or level that it can not be measured or expressed in words - ซึ่งไม่สามารถนับได้

up for grabs : available to be won - มีให้ชิงชัยกัน

valuable : worth a lot of money - มีค่า

velocity : the speed that something moves at in one direction - ความเร็ว

vie : to compete strongly with someone - ลงแข่งขัน

whiteboard : a large white board in a classroom that is used by the teacher to write things on for the class -

willingness (noun): not objecting to doing something; having no reason for not doing something - ความเต็มใจ, ความสมัครใจ

winner takes all : the winner of a competition gets everything, everyone else gets nothing -


1 people commented about the above

Readers are urged not to submit comments that may cause legal dispute including slanderous, vulgar or violent language, incorrectly spelt names, discuss moderation action, quotes with no source or anything deemed critical of the monarchy. More information in our terms of use.

Please use our forum for more candid, lengthy, conversational and open discussion between one another.

  • Latest
  • Oldest
  • Most replied to
  • Most liked
  • Most disliked

    Click here to view more comments

    Over 100,000 stock images of Bangkok Post editorial photography available now in high resolution images.