China's tech giants bet on mobile e-commerce

China's two tech giants are banking on consumers shifting their shopping habits away from brick-and-mortar stores and towards online purchases made via their smartphones.

China's two tech giants are banking on consumers shifting their shopping habits away from brick-and-mortar stores and towards online purchases made via their smartphones.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., the nation's two largest tech companies, are investing in location-based services to target consumers with ads based on their whereabouts or to help them comparison shop on their smartphones, reported the WSJ.

Alibaba has invested more than $800 million in the past month into the microblog Weibo and online mapping company AutoNavi Holdings, while Tencent has floated plans to use its WeChat messaging application as a way to target shoppers based on their location, reported the WSJ.

An IBM survey released early this year suggests Chinese consumers are ready for such a change--even if the country's sluggish mobile networks might not be up to the task. The survey of nearly 26,000 global consumers found Chinese are more likely than other consumers around the world to "showsrooming," a burgeoning trend in which a shopper browse goods at a store and then buys the items online.

In China, there is a 26 percent incidence rate of showrooming, compared to the U.S., where it's at 7 percent, according to the IBM survey.

Photo: Flickr user Andrew Gatt

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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