Three companies go to the world’s biggest developing market… and it’s the new kid that learns the hardest lesson. What it means for the new economy, and the new old economy.
By Whet Moser
Published Aug. 24, 2011
Four stories that jumped out at me today:
It goes by pretty quick, but here’s the gist: up through about 2004, 98 percent of all music had to be physically manufactured and physically distributed (not 100 if you count music videos, though those obviously have production costs). Once you get to 2010, about half of music by record sales is digital, whether it’s downloads, mobile, or subscription streaming. That involves infrastructure and programming, of course, but not manufacturing or physical distribution.
Speaking of buying things off the internet, that brings me back to the Groupon news. If you want to get a good sense of what happened, Steve Hendershot wrote an excellent piece in Crain’slast August Monday that described what Groupon was up against in China:
But Groupon was slow in building a Chinese presence, and by the time its site, GaoPeng.com, launched there in February, the market was cluttered with more than a thousand rivals. GaoPeng now hovers on the outskirts of China’s top-10 daily-deal sites.
The Chinese daily-deal market “is like the Oklahoma land grab, and Groupon is quite late to the party. They came in and expected prime land by a babbling brook, but they just got the panhandle,” says Scott Silverman, Beijing-based regional director for the Asian operations of San Francisco ad agency Godfrey Q & Partners LLC.
It’s pretty amazing, if you think about it: Groupon’s competition is still taking hold here in the U.S., but by the time the company launched in China last February, it had over a thousand competitors.