China’s burgeoning O2O (online-to-offline) market has shown us quantifiably robust growth vectors, undergirded by the most attractive baseline metrics of any such market on the planet. Chinese vice minister of Industry and IT, Chen Zhaoxiong, told crowds at the Internet Society of China’s 2016 China Internet Conference in June that the number of 4G users in China is more than 530 million as of Q1, more than the U.S. and Europe put together. China’s Internet economy was valued at roughly $171 billion last year, while the O2O services segment was estimated by iResearch Consulting Group at approximately $68.71 billion, up 27.7 percent compared to 2015 (http://nnw.fm/95lTR).
While there are some big players currently dominating the market, there is plenty of room left at the margins for thriving localized networks, a phenomena which echoes the internal dynamics of the O2O space itself. Before taking a look at some of the major players, it is worth noting an up and comer like Shenzhen-based Moxian, Inc. (OTCQB: MOXC), which has a market cap under $400 million and yet has put together an extremely compelling, integrated O2O platform known as Moxian+.
Half of the company’s 170 or so employees are R&D people and its CTO is the same Dr. Ng Kek Wee whose Oracle and IBM award-winning consulting startup was acquired by Pactera (formerly NASDAQ: PACT), which was itself taken private after acquisition by Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX).
Needless to say, the Moxian+ User and Moxian+ Business architectures/apps are brilliantly designed given their origins in a tech hotbed like Moxian. The architectures come complete with big data-driven social CRM (customer relationship management), engagement gamification/actual games, and even a proprietary/platform-specific digital currency (MO-Points and MO-Coins) for merchant driven reward redemptions. Moxian+ Business is where the real meat is though, offering comprehensive business intelligence analytics, demographic profiling insights, easy to setup customer engagement/loyalty programs, and ubiquitous advertising capabilities.
A projected 20 percent CAGR is easily understandable for the O2O space in China, with restaurants and food delivery being the narrow end of the transformational wedge. And with online retail currently around 13 percent of the overall retail space as of early this year, in what is the world’s largest ecommerce market ($589 billion), it is little wonder that one of the biggest internet companies on earth, Chinese operator Tencent (OTC: TCEHY; TCTZF), continues to hammer out its own O2O footprint with gusto.
A strategic investment in indoor mapping company Sensewhere, to license its indoor positioning software for Tencent Maps, was a clear move by Tencent to jockey for position with Baidu’s (NASDAQ: BIDU) Baidu Maps (shows group-buying deals from its Nuomi platform), and taxi/restaurant finding marvel AutoNavi, which is majority-owned by the Chinese version of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alibaba (NYSE: BABA).
Alibaba’s $483 million investment last year in its Koubei JV, aimed at unifying its footprint in fast local delivery with its growing O2O presence, is a very clear signal to investors from China’s ecommerce king about the future of the country’s O2O market. There is a big opportunity here for investors to lay down some territory of their own, especially when you consider events like the $18 billion Meituan-Dianping valuation in January for China’s biggest group deals site, which laid claim to the title of the largest ever single funding round ($3.3 billion) for any VC internet startup in the country’s history.
Tying together the increasingly dominant mobile user with local brick and mortar businesses is a recipe for success in China for a savvy developer like Moxian, whose Moxian+ platform not only allows merchants to more easily/readily engage potential/returning customers, but which was born of the same robust cloud service technology that proved good enough for financial institutions and major corporations.
Delivering enterprise-class capabilities to the broadest possible merchant market should keep MOXC well in the running, even as sector majors gobble up the largest pieces of the pie. It is worth noting that this level of capability made it easy for MOXC to recently secure an exclusive reseller agreement with Xinhua New Media for gaming industry ad space, a deal that puts Moxian’s platform and digital currency front and center, before a growing Xinhua New Media App user base of over 110 million users (over 10 million active per day).
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Moxian.com