Entering 2017, Tencent and Facebook are reinventing their business models in areas including social media, e-commerce, fintech, gaming, mobile, IoT and VR, among others. The case illustrates the advantage of platform business models over pipeline models or a traditional product focus. It unveils the power of Chinese accelerated innovation and demystifies so- called Chinese “copycat” culture. It also shows how the two tech giants Facebook and Tencent have applied different business models and acquisition strategies, which to a large extent have been conditioned by social, geopolitical and regulatory issues. In showing that Tencent excels in multiple areas when benchmarked against Facebook, another case objective is to encourage students to challenge widely held beliefs that Chinese companies cannot innovate or are incapable of being global players. The case also reveals challenging aspects of doing Internet business in China, including the country's business culture, as well as the Great Fire Wall and how it boosted the Chinese economy, making it difficult for Western technology firms to enter.
Platform Business Models, Value Chain Analysis, Challenges of doing Business in China, Accelerated Innovation, Internet Isolationism in China