In 2010, China’s government put its money and weight behind a massive project to integrate the nation’s Internet, mobile and broadcast media networks. The global rise of social networking will continue to change how we interact with technology. Three furthur Chinese technology trends in 2011 will be focusing on social networks, localized services and price reductions.
From social networks to social graphs
In China, the Internet is fast becoming indispensable to social connection and self expression. This explains the popularity of weibo, Sina’s Twitter-like micro-blogging service. Kai Lukoff, technology blogger and co-founder of TechRice, expects to see fierce competition in social networking as Internet giants Tencent, Google and Baidu on the game next year.
“Imagine that a social network is not just a website, but a graph of all our connections to brands, places and people,” says Jesse Goranson, Nielsen’s vice president of media research. “If we could take that anywhere we go, get information on where our friends went, what they bought and liked, it could change how we do everything.” Kaixin001, China’s Facebook, is taking a step towards this future with online viral marketing.
Local services go mobile
China’s National Triple Network Convergence is scheduled to take five years to complete, but by next year there will be “major breakthroughs” in the first phase of converging Internet and mobile networks, according to domestic research firm Analysys International.
“Next year, Chinese mobile Internet services will be characterized by a combination of personalization, location-based services and social networks and blogging,” says a recent Analysys report. Future stages of the triple network convergence will concentrate on mobile and Internet TV.
Smartphones for the masses
The trends in mobile Internet will drive smartphone sales in 2011. Zero2IPO, a China-based consultancy, expects shipments of mobile phones to surpass that of PCs in two years’ time.
“Taiwan’s MediaTek, which creates the MTK chipset on which most Chinese phones are made, is moving into the mainstream handset market in many emerging markets including China. In addition, Chinese mobile makers and telecom operators are embracing Android — Google’s free open-source operating system for mobiles,” says Benjamin Joffe, CEO of Asia-focused digital research company.