China is one of the largest market in Asia, and a target to the western society to market their goods. But not that China's economic is trailing close behind the west, it's also gaining an upper hand with a potential to be the largest.
In terms of technology, China's big three are usually referred as BAT. They are China's Google (Baidu), China's Amazon and eBay (Alibaba) and China's Facebook and messaging platform (Tencent). These three companies are much similar to their western equivalent, but against time, they thrived to become even more than that.
BAT surpass their western counterparts, not just by their sheer size of audience they own, but also with the massive scale of their business.
This has led to Jack Ma from Alibaba to foresee his company as an economy, not anymore just a company.
After the BAT have sufficient dominance at home, they want to invest heavily to expand their empires to get reach new markets. They have captured the world's attention with their rapid and aggressive expansion beyond China's border.
The leading enterprises aim to occupy new businesses in the mobile internet and also that have been occupied by competitors, but at the same time, hold market dominance in their traditional areas.
For years, Alibaba focused only on e-commerce, Tencent on social networks and gaming and Baidu on search services. This clear division is fading. For many times, the BAT have been partnering, merging and acquiring companies both inside China and abroad.
Tencent has a stake in Tesla, Alibaba at Lazada and Baidu has partnered with Netflix. The three have shift their strategies when they started sharpening their focus to take on different fields, sometimes overlapping previous attempts, just to grow their businesses.
For example, Baidu that has worked itself up on search engine technologies has started to use and develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) for deep learning. With that in its disposal, it is putting more efforts on exploring big data techniques by enhancing AI and deep learning.
Ailbaba that has a focus on e-commerce, is owning the most valuable "golden" data. It is working its way to master them and connect both online and offline retailers. It has also partnered with the microblog Sina Weibo and acquired the popular flirting app Momo. It also has its own products such as Laiwang. Alibaba also uses its smartphone browser UCWeb to enter the internet business to compete with Baidu.
Tencent on the other hand, has built its empire around social media, and it is leveraging the data to connect its ecosystem in order to monetize it. It has also acquired the second largest search engine Sogou. With NaviInfo, it can compete with Alibaba's AutoNavi and Baidu's Maps.
Beyond data, the three giant companies are also investing on contents. The three are significantly leveraging these areas to boost Baidu's iQiyi, Alibaba's Toudu and Tencent's Video.
All three are focused on better connecting their ecosystems in order to better monetize their empire.
With the big three fighting for users, China's mainland isn't big enough for them. Racing against time and space, the main challenges include the three getting more users abroad. The three have similar goal: expand and conquer.
Traffic and users are vital for a company to thrive. And if the BAT want to be their own economy, they need to grow bigger than the systems they've made themselves. They need to go beyond the borders, keep on developing sustainable products that people want, and keep users loyal to them.
In the world of digital economy, everything changes so fast. For that reason, the three are seizing each and every opportunity they see to grow.