YEAN serves as one of the supporting organizations for China Entrepreneurs’ line of events this year and I attended a China Entrepreneurs event recently, together with Raymond and Tian Chang.
The session was a panel discussion about the Hot Sectors of 2012, and the speakers highlighted some of these key sectors of 2012.
1. Cleantech sector: Droughts, floods, cleaning up of pollution(the evidence is in your face whenever you walk out to the Beijing air), all these require technology to support the clean-up of a rapidly developing “World Factory”. The textiles industry in China creating massive pollution was hugely publicised by Greenpeace with their 1 year long investigation, and water treatment is needed for this. There was also news of plans for increased installations of solar panels in China this year.
- Mobile and wireless Apps, Video Streaming, Social sharing: There are so many apps developed everyday in China, be it Angry Pigs or Angry Chickens. We have multiple platforms for them. We have 2 main microblogging competitors, Sina and Tencent Weibo. Is it possible to make money? Are there any other alternatives to monetization besides advertisements, raking in profits offline?
- NFC and Mobile payments: Having gone to various NFC and mobile payment conferences recently, there is indeed renewed interest because of the clearer government policies. It is now mandatory for a third party payment provider such as 99Bill or Alipay to get a payment license. As of 31st Dec 2011, 101 third party payment providers are now issued with these licenses. NFC technology was also a key topic that Mobile Monday covered late last year, featuring developments by Watchdata with their SIMPass technology, amid many other solutions.
- E-commerce : E-commerce in China is huge. With Taobao and the newly launched 天猫(previously known as TMall), I no longer have to use Amazon, E Bay, Gmarket, blogshop shopping like what I do to source for the cheapest deals online back in Singapore. The convenience and the price competitiveness of e-commerce in China is very attractive.
- Smartphones: China companies have launched their own line of smartphones such as Xiaomi and various phones from ZTE and Huawei, priced at much lower prices and thus affordable for the general population. These phones, unlike the iPhone, are also compatible with the local 3G network provided by China Mobile, the world and China’s largest operator. As of Dec 2011, their official figures show a whooping 650million subscribers.
- Group Buying sites consolidation: Despite many negative news about group buying sites, such as false sales numbers and fake goods, the market remains profitable. Smaller companies will consolidate to become bigger, or be phased out of this playing field.
3. Healthcare: According to Ms Irene Tanner, Partner/Managing Director at China eCapital, she sees an increased interest in mobile healthcare, but there must be someone to pay and support this. This is still done regionally and the industry is fragmented, making it difficult to scale. Business models of providers of personal healthcare products are also not well understood, while relationships (关系) is so important in hospital-based solutions.
How well do you think each of these three sectors will fare in 2012?