Global Mobile Internet Conference 2011 Report
By Eng Tat
Date: April 26-28, 2011
Venue: China National Convention Center, Beijing, China
Theme: “New Challenges, New Opportunities, New Leaders”
The Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) is Asia's largest and most elite mobile Internet conference. It is specifically designed for mobile Internet leaders to connect with each other, to learn from top industry influencers, and to promote their initiatives. It was an amazing event featuring 4 stages: the main GMIC executive stage, the G-Startup competition stage and 2 appSpace stages for developers.
There are many big companies in the business of Internet, social network, mobile Internet, mobile applications and startup companies participating in the conference. The event included many interesting keynote talks given by the leaders of the industry. Beside big companies showing off their latest offering and promoting their mobile and Internet platforms, there are also many startup companies, working on various kind of mobile applications, who are participating in the startup competition. According to the conference statistics, there were 3281 total attendees.
Many people from the industry have approached Prof Cheok and us to find out more about our Confucius system. Hopefully we can roll out the first Confucius app in iOS!
After the conference I also have a better understanding of various platforms and tools to create application on mobile devices. Overall it has been a fantastic experience.
VIP Welcome Dinner: "How Can Foreign Companies Succeed in China's Mobile and Internet Industry?
During the dinner, there is a 1 one 1 interview with John LIU, Global VP, Google. Later there is a panel discussion with panelists comprising:
Kaiser Kuo, Director of International Communications, Baidu
Andy Tian, GM, Zynga China
Dominic PENALOZA, Co-Founder & CEO, Ushi
Roger Peng, Partner, Paul Hastings
Anderson Liu, General Manager, MSN China
Alvin Wang, CEO, mInfo
Moderator: Barrett Parkman, Partner, Great Wall Club
The discussion of the evening is on the strategy to penetrate china’s mobile and Internet industry.
Some suggestions given by the speakers were:
1. Learn how to build your company’s internal strength first, and the speaker gave example to Chinese internal “qi” 内功.
2. 80-90% of the core application should stat the same while 10% tweaking to fit china’s market
3. Although Facebook has huge financial capital, they have no user base and brand name in China. Facebook has to find a marketing partner in China. (This point could be seen also in later sessions where Japan social networking giant Gree is partnering with China’s Tencent (QQ) to penetrate China’s market)
4. Note that IP protection in China is not the same level as other advanced countries, but the situation is improving.
5. Spend a lot of time here! Don’t use headhunters. Build a local team and grow the local people.
6. Think about it as: Targeting a new industry in your home country
7. Do not under estimate your local competitors. This is a dog eats dog world!
8. By all means come here but don't trust anyone
9. Do it right by the government regulation
I met Wei Jun and Prof Cheok at the dinner. We had good chat and food, while also introducing Confucius application and giving out postcards to the conference participants whom we met. Their responses were positive.
Coincidently I met two friends from Singapore, Darius Cheung and Chua Zi Yong, who are Singapore entrepreneurs. Darius has brought a company, tenCube from zero to being acquired by McAfee for about 15 million dollars in 5 years time.
I knew Darius when we stayed at ACS(i) boarding. It is amazing to know a friend who has made a success startup. Zi Yong, who’s company were incubated in NUS has also recently acquired 1 million dollars funding from Singtel.
Zi Yong is also a finalist for the G-startup competition. His company is working on in-app purchase platform.
In our casual chat, I was asking them for advise on what makes a successful entrepreneur, and in particular to Darius case, did he see that big success coming (before the McAfee’s deal). One word: perseverance. Never stop believing in your team/product. For Darius, he kept focusing on product technical innovation and growing a great team.
The opening speeches were given by HUANG Chengqing, Vice Chairman, Internet Society of China, NI Jianzhong, Vice Chairman, China Mobile Communication Association and LEI Jun, Great Wall Club (China) Chairman.
3 major points were brought up during the speech:
1. New era: There is a shift from mobile telecom to mobile Internet
2. Globalization - importance of establish global brand name
3. Culture is the core to mobile Internet. Chinese culture is getting more attention and importance. This point is in favor of our Confucius project. More users would be keen to know more about Chinese culture and ways of thinking.
Greatwall club is a platform to connect CEO of mobile Internet companies. Regular meetings were carried out in countries like China and Japan, between the leaders in this industry.
Before the ending of the opening ceremony, CEO of Mobile Roadie were invited on the stage to introduce the company and how to use the GMIC App.
Mobile roadie offers a platform that is easy and economical way to create applications on cross mobile platforms, like iOS, Android and blackberry. Mobile Roadie's mobile app platform has enabled hundreds of brands to connect with their customers.
Sina CEO, Charles Chao talked about the trend in Weibo, micro blogging in China, and shows statistics of his company’s users data.
Mobile devices are sold in a bigger volume than PC and more time is spent on mobile than PC. In the slide shown, it is estimated that the Internet usage through mobile devices is surpassing that of the PC.
Duality of mobile Internet in china:
1. White collar and urban population
2. Low end users, farmer, students who have no computer
Many users but usage is quite simple, mainly on news, chat, low on multimedia like video, photos.
100 millions Weibo users and 50 millions tweets a day!
Charles talked about the future of mobile Internet:
On-stage interview with Charles Chao, by Gady Epstein from Forbes.
CEO of Gree (Japan’s version of Facebook) Yoshikazu Tanaka then gave his keynote. The company achieved a tremendous 4000% sales growth rate for the past 3 yrs! The company is partnering with Tencent (QQ IM) to venture into China’s market.
Google’s John Liu then talked about the future of mobile web and shown data in mobile and Internet usage.
Trends he highlighted:
Smart phones are the future. The graph has shown the steady increase of adoption of smart phones in China.
Search continue to drive mobile usage
Also interesting to note that mobile usage complements that of desktop. Mobile searches peak on weekends and after office hours. Look at the graphs.
Mobile is local
1 in 3 mobile searches is local
Next is a talk by Peter Vesterbacka from Ravio mobile’s Angry bird.
The company has made 51 games before Angry Bird since 2003.
The company strategy is to focus on only angry board instead of trying new titles. A reason given is that it is very difficult to make a hit. So make fewer products but make sure all are amazing.
Alibaba CEO, Wang Jian talked about App versus Web.
The web economy on Internet hasn’t been seen on mobile phones yet. Currently, Web is dead in mobile Internet age. Mobile Internet is all about Apps now. However, he believes that this is an area worth exploring.
Tencent devDay: 2011 Tencent Mobile Game Development
The company has a large user base, marketing and distribution
Experience to host the game platform.
Tencent Mobile Game Platform:
The company is collaborating with Gree Japan.
The age of mobile Internet: From Portal -- search -- share -- ubiquitous
Anytime any place casual game, play as desired
There are more speakers from game and application development companies.
Below are the points of discussions:
Smartphone versus Java phones platform. Note: China still has a big portion of users without smart phones.
Which one to choose: Android or iOS?
Trends: Top games are social and in app purchase (free download)
Give up business that doesn't give advantage in new mobile Internet era
Pay attention to female users. Have special needs
AppStore company suggest: creative ones like angry bird or big companies like EA
Not suitable for china
Hard to collect small collections
Example Zynga raise to about the same size as EA in 3 yrs
Sustainability is low in social games
Need depths else will lose heat after a while
User needs are changing all the time
Platform should provide more flexibility for developers
App development cycle is short. However, feedback is instant. Must pay attention to user feedback
Keynote by SOHU CEO, Charles ZhangCharles gave a history of the internet and mobile internet industry.
Ftp- Netscape (surfing, going to websites) -- yahoo (portal, clicks) --Google (search) based on user statistics, crowd intelligence -- Blog -- micro blogging
Blog - personal identity is prominent
SOHU focus on relationship within education institutions
Regret didn't pursue interaction between bloggers for example their viewing presence and their social network Chinaren.
Talk about explosion of Facebook and Twitter.
Common web, whether using PC or mobile
China television is boring! Unlike USA. He said this is a reason why Internet and social media industry is flourishing in China.
Tetsuzo (Ted) Matsumoto, EVP, Softbank Mobile Corp, Japan
Future of Mobile Communication and Softbank’s Strategy
Ecosystem of Mobile Business in Japan
One stop shopping/billing
Solve all problems for users
Value provider not mobile operator
Revenue is coming more from data. Voice is declining
Shutdown 2g completely
Business will shift to mobile because people spend more time on mobile.
However there will be more data usage and less voice
There will be full integration of mobile, PC and consumer electronics in the future. This means good news for app developers.
Internet services will become seamless!
Although telecom operator do not get any share in revenue for app. Operator is happy because there are more data traffic.
This also means that it is easier for international companies to enter Japan mobile Internet business.
Softbank is investing in China.
Softbank owns PPLive, the biggest Internet TV in China.
Keynote by FENG Jun, Chairman of aigo
A brief introduction about the company: aigo (Chinese: 爱国者; literally meaning "patriot") is the trade name of the Chinese, a top consumer electronics company Beijing Huaqi Information Digital Technology Co Ltd.
Learn from international players
Strategy: International chess + pao (Chinese chess’s Cannon).
Integrated hardware and services for consumer electronics.
Keynote: HTML5 and the Open Web: Mobile Platform of the future by Jay Sullivan, vice President of Products, Mozilla
Create app using web.
Mozilla is adding more libraries to facilitate creation of web applications to be used on mobile devices.
Web browser is getting faster and more powerful.
It would be interesting to see how well the web platform would compete against native application platforms of iOS and Android.
Moderator: Christine Perey, Spime Wrangler, Perey Research & Consulting
AR panel - Intro to Mobile AR and Augmented Reality
King Yiu Chu, AR Strategist, Layar
Jung-hee Ryu, Founder & CSO, Olaworks
Allen Lu, CEO & Co-founder, Senscape Technologies
Philippe Depassorio, Head of APAC, Total Immersion
Adrian David Cheok, Director, Mixed Reality Lab, National University of Singapore
Founded in June 2009
Games, location, everywhere
Face feature tracking
Vision scanning and search
AR browser, platform, looking for developer to transform into AR content
Find anything anyplace
Demo: Virtual spectacle
Mixed Reality Lab
Design for social interaction and storytelling. Video demo: Japanese garden
The panel discussion was very interesting and the audience was very impressed by the demo and video showed by the panel speakers. Prof Cheok is the only academia among the panel, but his student has earlier spun-off a company from the AR technology developed in the lab. In that sense, he has both experience in academia and industry. All the AR companies in the panel are relatively young with only a couple of years in operation. Some highlight of the discussions:
The bubble was over and now AR is real
Dual camera for depth of view tracking
Mobile phone is a form of intelligence, it's mobile, has many sensors
Hence able to provide relevant information at the right time
Content! People interact with content. Not so much of technology
King Yiu Chu:
The problem is with the creativity in the industry
Focus on creativity and new concept.
First is to create the market. Need to establish AR mobile industry
If you can solve real world problem, there will be a market. Need breakthrough in this area.
I also had the opportunity to visit the booths of the G-startup participants and demos setup by companies.
Demos and exhibitions
Moglue (startup from KAIST, Korea) is a simple to use software to create an iOS application without the knowledge of programming. Using very simple programming interface, you can assign various actions based on the user input from the iOS sensors like tough screen, microphone and accelerometer.
I met Prof Cheok’s students from KMD. They are working on a social network for energy monitoring.