Another Chinese New Year is upon us, and this year we transition into the Year of the Tiger. As Chinese businesses begin to shut down until the beginning of March 2010, we've stared at the eye of the tiger and risen to the challenge of figuring out the trends for this coming year.
E-books and E-book Devices: Step onto a subway car in Beijing or Shanghai and you are bound to see either ads for e-book readers or a few white-collar workers using a device to read digital novels. With more technology conferences and events surrounding e-books in China last year, the sector will see great growth and more opportunities this year. Along with that growth will come more intellectual property rights challenges as authors and publishers continuously pursue copyright violators.
Cloud Computing: It feels like 1999, when foreign and domestic Internet service providers jostled for access to the Chinese market. Using the past as guidance, two things will happen this year in the cloud computing sector that will prove a boon for the domestic market. First, domestic cloud computing companies will flourish as the Chinese government issues new rules banning foreign-funded cloud computing server farm firms from participating in this sector in China. Second, while cloud computing application services like Salesforce.com and Google Docs are still partially blocked in China, domestic firms like Kingsoft will move ahead with application suites of office, security, and on-demand database utilities for their clients.
Google and Chinese Search Engines: Google will ultimately capitulate and end its sanctimonious crying about how it does not want to abide by Chinese laws. In the meantime, Chinese rivals like Baidu.com and Sogou.com will continue to dominate the market with the introduction of more mobile-ready applications that will be better integrated into China's TD-SCDMA handsets. More than three times as many Chinese people have mobile phones as use the Internet on desktop or laptop computers, and China's search engine wars will move to mobile phones.
More Technology Conferences & Events: ChinaTechNews.com recorded more tech-related canceled events in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008, combined, as companies had diminished budgets in 2009 because of the global financial crisis. On top of that, there were just fewer China-based events being planned. However, already we see 2010 shaping up to be a great year for a resurgence in technology-related events, programs, exhibitions, master training sessions, and conferences in China and surrounding regions in Singapore and Hong Kong. Coupled with the six months of the World Expo happening in Shanghai, general managers at hotels in cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian, and Chengdu are gladly seeing an uptick in the expected number of planned events this year.
Online Video Crackdowns: China's old-fashioned television stations are sacrosanct as means to promote and propagandize the nation's development. Why should online video be any different? As an extension of the crackdowns in 2009 on privately-funded online video websites in China, the trend will continue. Rival companies like Youku.com, Tudou.com, Shanda, and Baidu.com will find themselves working with each other more, rather than against each other. Meanwhile, China's State-run online media and online video sites will consolidate their power base. In the same way that Rupert Murdoch was thwarted from dominating the terrestrial and satellite television broadcasting sector in China, foreign-funded interlopers in China's online video space are doomed to fail.
Do you have other ideas about what to expect during the Year of the Tiger? Let us know in the comments below!