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Sam Ng
Sam Ng

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Bra Asks - New Preface

Hello everyone, I am the founder of ServBay and DNSPod, Sam Ng, my online nickname is "Bra".

The first edition of "Bra Asks" was published on May 20, 2020, and now it's 2024. Nearly four years have passed since that first edition. During these four years, China's national conditions and internet environment have undergone earth-shattering changes. We've experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, a sharp decline in China's economy, and massive layoffs in numerous internet companies. At the same time, a peculiar phenomenon has emerged: a large number of Chinese independent developers are going global.

Among these global-going Chinese, there are many elites from the Chinese internet industry who have achieved remarkable success over the years.

"Going global" is a term unique to the Chinese internet industry. It refers to Chinese internet companies and individuals expanding their business and expertise beyond China, especially exporting mature products and experiences developed over many years of internet evolution to foreign countries. The preferred destinations for going global include the United States and Europe, but the majority are in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore and Indonesia. In the past two to three years, the number of Chinese internet professionals immigrating to Singapore through various means, like the Employment Pass (EP) has been exponentially increasing, indirectly causing a rise in the cost of living in Singapore.

In 2023, I also chose to become part of the global-going forces.

Going global might be related to political and economic factors, but I personally believe the more significant reason is that the Chinese internet has already taken a global lead, especially in mobile internet, 5G, and cashless payments, far surpassing any other country in the world, including the United States. In China, there's no need to carry cash, robberies are rare, and incidents of cash or phone theft are virtually non-existent. This is impossible in any other country. The Chinese government even specifically introduced laws for foreigners, aiming to lower the costs for them to adopt electronic payments in China—because, in most places in China, if you use cash, you might not be able to make change. The mainstream payment methods in China are WeChat and Alipay, or rather, a QR code.

You heard right, a social media app is the mainstream payment tool in China. WhatsApp, Line, even Telegram, compared to WeChat, are a century behind.
WeChat carries the daily communications, payments, news, entertainment, and even the life events of the Chinese people.

Tencent Group has collaborated with Chinese government departments to move public services onto WeChat Mini Programs. Any Chinese person doesn't need to visit a government office or any offline government department, nor install any apps. They just need to scan a QR code, open a WeChat Mini Program, and can handle everything from birth to death on it. All they need to do is scan their face to prove the transaction is initiated by themselves. Every Chinese person has their own electronic identity.

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Not to mention the new energy vehicles.

The only noteworthy new energy vehicle manufacturer in the U.S. is Tesla. But in China, there are countless: BYD, Li Auto, Huawei, NIO, XPeng, and the newly emerged Xiaomi. Many of these new energy vehicle companies share a common trait: their founders are from the internet industry, and their companies are imbued with internet DNA.

Li Xiang of Li Auto founded Autohome, a NYSE listed company, and he is also an internet angel investor.
Li Bin of NIO founded Bitauto and invested in over 40 internet companies.

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He Xiaopeng of XPeng created UC Browser, which was acquired by Alibaba. He is also an internet angel investor and has even developed a flying car (eVTOL) that has entered the airworthiness certification stage.

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Huawei and Xiaomi need no further explanation.
While Americans are using Tesla's FSD on the highways, Chinese people have grown accustomed to getting out of their cars at the entrance of a mall or community and letting the car drive itself into the underground parking lot to automatically find a parking space. This is not a science fiction scenario, but one of the features of the autonomous driving systems from Li Auto and XPeng, provided to customers for free without any extra subscription fees.

Traditional BBA (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi) In China, it has become a symbol of poverty. There's a joke circulating in the Chinese internet community: "I'm so poor that I can only afford a BBA."—In China, the price of a BBA is now lower than that of a BYD.

In such an era, I believe Chinese entrepreneurs going global will bring a strong impact to the world. People worldwide will feel the achievements of China's development over the past 20 years, and all of this has nothing to do with politics.

This time, translating "Bra Asks" into English is also hoped to bring the thoughts of successful Chinese entrepreneurs to global readers, especially entrepreneurs. To show how Chinese entrepreneurs have survived and thrived in the changing political and economic landscape over the past 20 years, how they have developed and innovated under the pressure from the United States, and how they have surpassed the U.S. in many aspects.

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