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U.S. and Chinese Internet Sectors are Diverging

To understand China’s Internet sector, start by thinking of the services you know and love in the U.S. Then change all their names, combine four of them into one, drop any fees and reduce the number of ads.

Substitute Google and Apple with Tencent and Alibaba. Picture a typical IKEA-clad startup office, then add a row of beds for the long hours.

Make no mistake. The U.S. and Chinese Internet ecosystems aren’t converging. Rather they are operating in parallel, with key similarities and key differences, the latter of which I believe will dominate over time.

Culled from more than thirty interviews conducted over the past two weeks in Beijing and Tianjin, here are some macro and micro themes about China’s Internet sector that I think businesses all over the world should pay attention to, along with some notable companies to watch.

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