Same Business, Different Names: Internet startups in the World and their counterparts in China

ByChao Cheng|China Market Entry 101


Everyone knows China has a lot of internet users.

Those successful internet startups in the world markets will choose China as a strategic potential market.

However, Culture matters enormously, most of the internet titans failed in China, please check my previous blog: Failures of Global Companies in China: Ignorance of the Market Differences in China

In the mean time, most of their Chinese counterparts are emerging, and some are growing really fast.

The truth is that you can follow my 7-Step Formula in Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Profitable Niche Market in China to uncover your profitable business opportunities in China.

I am trying to make a full list of such same business with different names in the world and in the China market.

  • eBay: (“The eBay of the East”) was founded in 2003 by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, as a defensive move against its US rival Ebay, which had set up in China the previous year.

While Ebay China was charging users to list products and services, Taobao allowed them to list for free in order to build a big cohort of sellers and buyers.

The result is, Taobao developed into a diverse e-commerce platform where businesses sell a very wide range of items to online shop owners who then sell on to consumers.

At the end of 2006, Ebay shut its main website in China and formed a joint venture with Hong Kong- headquartered Tom Online. This was regarded its absolute failure in the China market.

China's Leading eCommerce platforms

China’s Leading eCommerce platforms

  • Amazon:, (”China’s Amazon”)

Tmall is the top e-commerce platform in China and is expected to overtake Amazon in the near future., The new kid and emerging leader is China’s second-largest e-commerce site., was listed in the US earlier this year. Analyst sees little profit but potential growth.

While in the China market, Amazon’s revenue is growing very slowly and this was considered a failure here.

  • Google: Baidu

Google is the biggest search engine in the world while Baidu is the dominant one in China

Baidu knows Chinese better

This is the slogan that Baidu use to position itself against Google.

Many admit that Baidu is better in recognizing Chinese language.

Baidu is the dominant Chinese search engine

Baidu is the dominant Chinese search engine

  • Paypal: Alipay

Alipay announced earlier this year that it processed nearly $150 billion in mobile transactions in 2013. The company claimed that its mobile payments volume was greater than both PayPal and Square combined.

Paypal vs Alipay

Paypal vs Alipay


  • Facebook: Wechat, Renren, Kaixin001

WeChat, a mobile messaging client run by Internet giant Tencent, has revolutionized the way the average smartphone owner in China communicates with friends, family and even strangers.

It’s too late for Facebook to enter into the China market.

Renren was considered by many people as China’s facebook, however, I don’t think it’s so important in many people’s life in China, the user base is almost only limited to students, which is totally different from Facebook.

Kaixin001 had been growing very fast, now users are leaving it for other social media tools.


China's Social Media: Totally different

China’s Social Media: Totally different

  • Twitter: Weibo

It’s interesting to compare them.

Sina Weibo is not a joke. It’s the hottest microblogging service in China, though it’s be challenged by Wechat a lot in China, however it’s promising since the social nature is very different.

To be honest, I really think twitter should learn something from Weibo since there are more creations which made it more fun.

the Latest interface of Twitter makes it more like Weibo pages, which was considered by many people as Facebook pages.


  • Uber: Didi, Kuaidi

Uber’s business model faced a lot of challenges in the China markets.

Uber requires a bare minimum of its drivers in the US (background check, insurance, etc.), but even less in China (driver’s license, proof of incorporation, proof of car rental license, proof of public liability insurance). Chinese taxi companies are required to undergo expensive licensing procedures and government limits on the amount of taxi drivers per city.

At the same time, the battle between Didi and Kuaidi,  the two Chinese taxi booking mobile apps for smartphones, hase been heating up backed by China’s internet giants Tencent and Alipay.

Uber vs Didi and Kuaidi

Uber vs Didi and Kuaidi

  • Whatsapp, Line: Wechat

WhatsApp is so popular in the western world, but it doesn’t dominate the whole world like you might think.
Asian Rivals are so powerful that the future is not a certain yet.
Wechat is going global as well. Let’s see how it goes.

Instant Messaging Tool: WhatsApp vs Wechat

Instant Messaging Tool: WhatsApp vs Wechat

  • Apple: XiaoMi

Xiaomi,  started as China’s low-cost smartphone maker, is developing really fast.
Xiaomi has taken its cue from both Google GOOG  Apple, From Apple, Xiaomi has learned how to master the brand buzz. It has also learned how to compete on innovation rather than imitation.

xiaomi's new products

XIaomi: xiaomi’s new pad products

  • Quora: Zhihu

Q&A website

Quora vs Zhihu

Quora vs Zhihu

  • Yahoo Answers: Baidu Zhidao

Q&A website

  • Goupon: Meituan, Dianping

Daily Deals Market

Groupon vs Local Daily Deals Startups

Groupon vs Local Daily Deals Startups

  • Craiglist:


  • Youtube: Youku, Souhu TV, Tudou

Video sharing site

Video Sharing: Youtube vs Youku

Video Sharing: Youtube vs Youku

  • Kayak, Priceline: Qunar

Travel search engines


Isn’t it interesting?

Please let me know if you want me to add more.



About the Author

Chao is recommended by Paypal to bring overseas brands into the China market. Now he coaches business owners to start up and grow their business in China. Author of Sell Online To China, How to Build A Right Website That Works In China, and a series of China Business Guides.

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