Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Q&A

An Internet Business with Chinese Characteristics

American companies have long complained about Chinese copycats, but Chinese firms have created some powerful new business models that their American counterparts might want to mimic themselves.

A service called YY has enabled rural Chinese karaoke singers to make a living singing online. Qihoo 360 has shown how a security product can be a springboard for the creation of a market-leading app store. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce site, doesn’t own logistics infrastructure or sell its own consumer goods.

As a managing partner at GGV Capital, a venture capital firm that operates in the U.S. and China, Jenny Lee has enjoyed a close-up look at many of China’s most innovative Internet companies. She sits on the board of YY and 21Vianet, a data center services provider. The firm also has close ties to the Chinese mobile phone-maker Xiaomi.

YY, a video site with close to 100 million monthly active users, is a phenomenon unlike anything in the U.S. The site features live karaoke singers and video game commentators, with viewers paying for digital flowers and other items that they give to the video stars. Customers can chat with the performers and pay extra to sit close to them at online concerts, with YY taking 70% of all revenues. Ms. Lee spoke to The Information about YY, how the site’s popularity is a product of China’s communist history and why it likely won't be using Bitcoin.

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

Receive original reporting about the most important tech companies, from Apple to Uber, in your inbox or online.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to dozens of events a year, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Asia Google Facebook

Google Nears Re-entry to Mainland China

By Amir Efrati

Google Apple

What’s Left at Yahoo

By Amir Efrati

Asia Media

Inside a Bubble: Death of a Chinese Video Streaming Firm

By Juro Osawa