Data in itself is meaningless
Bin told investors during his roadshow in Singapore and Thailand in early May 2019.
In everything that you do, says Bin, some form of data is captured in the background. With the popularity of mobile phones and apps in China, the volume of data available is tremendous.
In fact, China is now the largest data producer globally.
It is no mean feat to turn a large amount of data into meaningful insights. And the Chinese are running ahead when it comes to employing big data technology and artificial intelligence to take advantage of the data available. In the long-run, the ability to analyze massive amount of data will still be important and China will continue to be a first mover in many new technologies.
Turning data into cash
Bin explained that China is now the king of e-commerce. Sales volume during the Alibaba’s 11.11 Singles’ Day in 2018 was 3 times larger than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving combined. And at Singles’ Day, 220,000 transactions per second were clocked. For Bin, this speaks volumes about China’s capabilities in super-computing infrastructure.
The important thing to note is that technology is taking over many traditional industries like education and healthcare and reshaping them.
Take TAL Education, an after-school tutoring education company, which our portfolios invested in for more than ten years. Technology is core to its daily teaching activities. They use facial recognition scanning of students in the classes to determine whether they are interested in the teacher or not and use that information to improve the quality of the classes and teaching.
And TAL is not resting on its success. According to Bin, 20% of its workforce is focused on innovation and technology and shaping the future growth of its business.
Technology and innovation is changing China and creating “new economy” sectors. This will continue to drive growth in China for a long time to come.
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