At the third annual U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum last week, top government and technology leaders gathered to discuss business and policy topics of mutual interest, such as online child protection and intellectual property issues. The United States and China are the world’s two largest Internet communities, so the conversation has broad implications for the Net as a whole.
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Yesterday marked the beginning of the third annual US-China Internet Industry Forum (held this year in SF). The purpose of the gathering is to increase mutual understanding of key business and policy issues in China and the US. It is an invite-only event, so I was excited to be there with top government and technology leaders such as Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, Sina.com’s Charles Cao, Harvard law prof John Palfrey (author of Born Digital – loved that book), Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie, Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian, Baidu’s COO Ye Peng, The FBI’s Jeffrey Troy, China’s Deputy Director of the Internet, Liu Zhengrong, and a bunch of others (eBay, Yahoo, Intel, Facebook, etc). The main topics of discussion were intellectual property, online child protection, and cybercrime.
What struck me most about the discussions was the degree of concern the Chinese attendees showed for intellectual property. Now that China is moving towards a knowledge-based economy, they are realizing that it is in their best interests to do a better job of protecting IP. Most Americans probably don’t realize it, but there is a vibrant start-up community in China and it won’t be long before we start to see more innovation coming from that country.
The event was co-hosted by Microsoft and the Internet Society of China and co-sponsored by Google, eBay, Intel, About.com, Verisign, Akamai, Yahoo, People.com, Xinhuanet.com, China.com.cn, CCTV.com, SOHU.com, Netease.com and Baidu.com.
From my husband, Aydin:
Today China boasts over 105 million Internet users, not to mention 350M mobile users (growing by 57 million every year). By 2010, Chinese Internet users will outnumber US Internet users by 25%. Currently, 87% of the Chinese Internet audience uses search. And given Internet searchâ€™s dominance of monetization and audience rankings globally, the competition for the top spot in the Chinese search market is pretty intense.
Baidu, Google, Yahoo, Sohu and Sina are battling each other to be the leading provider of search in China. Currently the two largest search players, Baidu and Google, account for almost 90% of the searches (source: CNNIC Search Survey, 2006), per the latest local search market share depicted in the pie chart below.
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