Retrospection: What We Were Right About 2015
摘要： In the past year, profound changes had taken place in this ever-changing world. The world of business that we have been closely observing was no exception. In this article, we are going to compare the previous business world to the one that’s been shaped in 2015 in order to better understand the changes.
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One year ago, TMTpost and Business Value’s editor department predicted the new tendency that might occur in 2015 in the TMT industry ranging from product form, the development of enterprises, the competition landscape and the industry scale. And now one year has passed, leaving an entirely different world to us. Just like what Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired, who had successfully made several accurate predictions on the development of the tech world, had said before: “People think I am good at predicting the future tendency for the fact that people only remember the right part.”
One year ago, when Xiaomi was considered as the role model that utilized the Internet to transform the phone industry, Microsoft was declining and falling into a pit in many people’s eyes. In the mean time, Google Glass and Google + both encountered the own bottleneck
During that time, we were still discussing about share economy like Uber while Didi and Kuaidi were still fighting each other and struggling under the pressure from the giants. And now, things are pretty much entirely different.
One year ago, the world was much more stable, without the horror created by terrorist attacks that took place in the western world and threatened those seemingly untouchable countries. The grand game between countries back then was still continuing according to the rules.
The reality is in the past year humans had achieved a great success: the proportion of people living in absolute poverty in the world jumped to less than 10% for the very first time in history. To put it into perspective, 25 years about the number was 37.1% This development is not only profound to the world, but also has a great impact on the business world.
And today we are going to talk about the forecasts, predictions, the attempts of sensing the new trends, or whatever you name it, back in the 2015. Changes take place without us knowing. Our lifestyle, the rules of business world and the whole world have been changed.
One year has passed and profound changes have been shaping this world. The business world we observe was no exception.
About the year 2015, we were right about a few things, but also miscalculated other few:
BAT will invest in the smart phone sector
We predicted the industry development tendency, but underestimated Baidu’s ambition. This once BAT Chinese giant in search engine had even thought about leaving NASDAQ. The tremendous amount of traffic on Baidu allows the company to make profit without developing further. That’s why Baidu didn’t do much last year and stayed right where it was.
With the help of WeChat, QQ, and its game, music service, Tencnet has dominated people’s mobile devices. In this case, Tencent probably just didn't see the point.
In 2014, only Alibaba made a strategic investment of USD 590 million in Meizu.
WeChat: from social network to social tool
First of all, it’s fair to say WeChat’s tremendous success is only a coincidence since China at that time needed a social app giant.
Additionally, a great number of social apps had appeared in the application market, many of which died soon after. However, it didn’t stop more entrepreneurs, investors, and users from getting themselves involved with such apps.
It’s apparent that WeChat’s success is very unique. In China, there’s little space for apps that want to build a comprehensive social networking ecosystem, to survive. Last year, the social app sector was still chaotic with hundreds of thousands different apps targeting their potential users.
Different scenarios and needs generate different social apps. This is a common sense for not only the users, but also the entrepreneurs and developers. At the end of 2015, Alibaba rolled out DingTalk, which focuses on enterprise users. The number of users now has surpassed that of enterprise accounts on WeChat.
The time of licensed music will come to China
Apple Music has entered China. Alibaba (Xiami, TTPod) and Tencent (QQ Music, NetEase Music) have taken almost all the music from Warner Music, Rolling Stone, and Sony etc. The music app sector went through a transformation period in 2014, which forced this particular industry to be monopolized by giants as the pressure from the legal aspect and the market completion accumulated.
Licensed music is a irreversible tendency in China. After ten years of depression, the Chinese music industry finally sees the light.
Ironically, it happens that in this great time, the Chinese music industry is actually suffering and struggling to survive in terms of music itself.
Financial reward for e-sport champion will hit over ten million dollars
It turned out that we were too optimistic.
On the TI5 in 2015, the total financial reward for the first and second place was less than ten million dollars. In 2014, the financial reward for the first place was less than 4.75 million dollars. If we take the changes of cardinal and growth rate into consideration, we would have the conclusion that the financial reward for e-sport champion might reach ten million dollars in two years.
Big-budget mobile games become mainstream in the gaming sector
Last year had been a great year for the gaming industry.
In 2015 the world witnessed the launch of major game titles such as Bloodborne, The Witcher III (Game of the Year), Fallout 4, MGS V, and Life is Strange etc.
In contrast to that, the mobile gaming industry didn’t really have any impressive blockbuster game titles in 2015 even though this particular segment was making a lot of money. Even the mobile game giant SE has started to focus on remaking FF VII instead of launching new games.
The age of fuel cell vehicles will come and Tesla will be outdated
People didn’t expect much from the Model X launched in September 2015. JPMorgan Chase lowered the sales forecast by 50% to 1506 after the car came out. Although the continuous plunge of oil price and the lack of advanced battery technologies are creating great obstacles for Tesla, still its rivals are facing even more serious situation.
Whether it’s the sales volume or the sales tendency, TOYOTA and Ford just lag far behind Tesla.
The TOYOTA FCV that was launched in December 2014, Mirai, had about 1,500 orders in the very first month, among which 40% were orders from ordinary consumers while others were government and enterprise purchases. In fact, even TOYOTA itself didn’t really expect Mirai would be successful. The truth was, TOYOTA only expected an annual sales volume of 400 tops. Up till now, obstacles that FCV vehicles still face safety issues in the transfer and storage of hydrogen fuel, which can’t be solved in a short time and will continue to limit Mirai in competition with Tesla.
Apparently, the year 2015 is far from the age of FCV. This sector has only started to rise.
A smart hardware company valued at USD 1 billion will appear
The thing is there isn’t any company within the field of smart watches and bands that we are familiar with had attained a valuation of USD 1 billion in 2014. If Huami, who had already been valued at USD 300 million got an investment of USD 100 million, it might become the first company to reach that level. On the contrary, DJI-Innovations, a company that has been growing at a rocket speed in the past 9 years and has the potential to reach the USD 1 billion level, finished its latest round of financing at USD 75 million in 2015, making the company’s valuation surge to USD 8 billion.
However, the smart hardware sector was still on the rise in 2014. Drone maker Flirtey became the first company to be approved by FAA to provide drone logistics service. Furthermore, the company has also cooperated with NASA and Virginia state.
The acquisition of Douban
Douban hasn’t been making much of a stir in the Internet sector in recent years and its latest update of its app encountered many issues. However, even though Douban is gradually losing power in the Internet sector and there have been rumors that JD would invest and control Douban at USD 150 million, so far Douban is still developing steadily and independently. And now Douban is 11 years old.
The death of iPad
On September 9th 2015, Apple not only rolled out the new iPad Mini 4, but also the seemingly strange iPad Pro.
As a matter of fact, besides the fact that iPad’s performance in the tablet sector has been shrinking over recent years due to the decline of the whole industry, the big-screen smart phones and the boring new iPad series also makes it harder for the new iPad to appeal to the consumers. According to statistics from Localytics, iPad models before 2014 account for 89% of the market share of iPad.
However, iPad, without a doubt, is still the dominating power in the tablet sector. In accordance with Apple’s financial report, by October 27th 2015, the sales revenue of iPad in the first three quarters is USD 14.242 billion. In contrast to that, the revenue of Samsung’s IM is USD 15.1 billion in the first three quarters (by September 30th).
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Hu Yong, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Garrett Lee (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.