The World Internet Conference (WIC) 2015 kicked off in Wuzhen, China on Wednesday with a keynote speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping. This is the first time China’s leader has been present at this conference. Last year, Lu Wei, the head of China’s Cyberspace Administration, chaired the first WIC.
The tech bosses of leading Internet companies took this chance to showcase their work to the president. At the conference’s expo, all the major Chinese tech companies presented their latest accomplishments one by one.
How did these bigwigs try to impress China’s president? AllChinaTech summarises their presentations for you.
Jack Ma, the chair of Alibaba Group, introduced the latest data from the company’s e-commerce platforms, including the company’s astounding USD 14 billion sales performance during the Singles Day shopping festival on Nov. 11 this year.
Jack Ma also talked about Alipay-led Ant Financial’s services, Alibaba’s cloud computing business Aliyun, and Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s logistics business.
Apart from all this, Ma notably mentioned the e-WTO again to Mr. Xi. Ma delivered a speech on the eWTO (i.e. the global trade organisation for e-commerce) at the APEC Summit in the Philippines earlier this year.
The core of Tencent’s exhibition was its signature product WeChat. Pony Ma, the chair and CEO of Tencent Holdings, showed Mr. Xi how to use WeChat to make appointments at local hospitals via WeChat’s city services. WeChat users in China can also use the app to pay for utilities, pay their traffic tickets and check traffic situations in different cities.
But Mr. Xi seemed to be more interested in WeChat’s signature “red envelope“ feature and asked how many “red envelopes” were distributed during Spring Festival. It was reported that over one billion red envelopes were distributed on WeChat during Spring Festival this year. WeChat’s “red envelope” is a combination of digital coupons and small amounts of money transfer.
Learn more about WeChat’s “red pocket” feature here.
Baidu’s CEO Robin Li chose to introduce Baidu’s newly launched driverless car and Baidu’s automatic translator to Xi.
The driverless car was the highlight of the expo. It definitely got Xi’s attention during the presentation. What’s pretty impressive is that Xi asked a series of really technical questions including the maximum speed of the car, the cost of production and the timeline for massive commercialisation. Li then introduced the industrial breakthroughs of Baidu’s driverless car in detail.
Learn more about Baidu’s driverless car here.
As the second biggest e-commerce platform in China, JD.com is known for its fast and timely delivery service. Unlike many other e-commerce platforms in China, JD.com established its own logistics network from an early stage.
During the expo, JD’s CEO Richard Liu introduced JD’s automatic logistics centre Asia No.1, which is a highly automated warehouse located in Shanghai. Liu also revealed that JD.com plans to test drone-delivery in China’s countryside next year to improve its delivery network for rural areas in China.
The focus of cyber security company Qihoo 360’s presentation to Xi was its two cyber security systems Tian Yan and Tian Wang, which literally mean Sky Net and Sky Eye. Tian Yan is a cyber attack radar featuring a real-time monitoring and alert system. Tian Wang is even more sophisticated – it can trace attacks back to the initiator.
“We present all of the information we collect to the national security department and they are responsible for the tracking and locating of attackers,” Zhou told Xi.
Qihoo 360 recently privatized and withdrew from the U.S. stock market. The company’s CEO Zhou Hongyi is famous for controversial actions such as giving Apple’s CEO Tim Cook a smartphone produced by Qihoo at the U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum. This time, he didn’t disappoint onlookers by giving Mr. Xi a book he wrote, entitled “My Internet Methodology”.
As a newly emerging unicorn, Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s biggest rival in China, also got attention from Mr. Xi. At the expo, Didi’s CEO Cheng Wei introduced the latest data from the company. According to Cheng, Didi now covers over 400 cities with over 300 million users. Cheng also introduced Didi’s global plan, including its investments in Lyft, Ola and Grabtaxi.
Cheng also presented Didi’s large data platform, which can visualise real-time commuting demand in Chinese cities and the ability of the current infrastructure to meet that demand.
Learn more about Didi Kuaidi’s CEO Cheng Wei here.
As one of China’s most successful smart device manufacturers in the past few years, Xiaomi showcased many of its latest gadgets at the Expo. Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, showed Mr. Xi Xiaomi’s latest models of smartphones and smart TVs.
But Mr. Xi was more enticed by Xiaomi’s hoverboard and asked to test it out himself. The hoverboard “Ninebot Mini” was introduced by Ninebot, an electric vehicle company with investment from Xiaomi. The EV company recently acquired Segway, the inventor of self-balancing hover boards, earlier this year.
Lei later admitted that he was “quite nervous” when President Xi wanted to try the Xiaomi hoverboard, according to news website Southcn.com, which is owned by Guangdong province.
Learn more about Xiaomi’s hover board here.