Friday 28 February 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: Linkedin & the Hungry Internet users of China

On Tuesday, Linkedin launched a simplified Chinese language version of its website and is in the process of getting a license to operate the Chinese language site. If successful, it will mean that Linkedin will be the only global social media website to have official permission to operate in China, whilst most social media sites have been blocked by the Chinese government.

But does this mean that Linkedin will have exclusive access to professional circles in China? This will hardly be the case. Strict censorship rules in the country have not ruled out internet users’ appetite for social networking sites. Instead, the people of China have created their own networks similar to their Western peers, but with more users. Linkedin will be facing strong local competition from similar networking sites such as Ruolin and Dajie. Similarly, the Chinese versions of Facebook and Twitter, Ren Ren and Weibo have had incredible success and have widely penetrated the internet market in the past few years. Internet users in China have become increasingly sophisticated. Like everywhere else in the world, social media is an important platform in forming public opinion in China. At the end of 2012, China had 564 million internet users, representing nearly 40% of the Chinese population.

Internet users in China use "wall-climbing"
software to climb over the Internet fire wall
Image Isawnyu
Despite the fact that popular international social media sites are officially banned by the PRC government, it would be na├»ve (and possibly even wrong?) to assume that Chinese internet users don't use with them. By spending ten minutes to download what Chinese called the “wall-climbing” software (i.e. climbing over the fire wall), internet users in China will be able to access Facebook as smoothly as their Western counterparts. Whilst Linkedin’s expansion into China may be viewed as a new portal for PR’s to promote in China, it should by no means be viewed as the only site to watch.

This week Abchaps attended some great events, including the CFA UK Research Challenge at Locke Lord’s offices. At this, the investment Olympics for young professionals, the future potential of the City really shone through. Ever keen to learn more about our counterparts in the media, we enjoyed drinks at Bloomberg’s offices and have taken their preferred methods of working on board!

In terms of hosting, the Abchurch fridge has never been so full of healthy food and bubbles. We welcomed a large team from Cenkos Securities, where we discussed not only the fast-growing space of Life Sciences but also the increasingly efficient space of Clean technology. As more and more Companies now seek good team “chemistry” from their advisers, it was a good chance for the teams to mix and swap ideas.

Abchaps also hosted two market lunches, including one with a social media themed and one with an impact investment focuse. It seems that impact investment is rapidly maturing, with investors able to reap more gains from their socially/environmentally responsible investment than ever before.

We also flew over to Boston to join the IPREX GLC conference for the weekend. As an active member of this global network, we look forward to hearing about how our global partners are fairing in what seems to be a much more positive economy.

Private equity firm NVM has recruited Karl Cockwill as a portfolio manager in its investment team. He joins from 3i, where he was a portfolio manager.

Steven Skinner has been appointed head of West End investment at BNP Paribas Real Estate. He joined its central London investment team in January from Savills.

"LION" - A LinkedIn Open Networker - A LinkedIn member with more than 500 connections. These members accept any offer, good or bad and weak or strong; some question the value of this LION status when considering the quality and the quantity of contacts.

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