this week i'm thinking about – #2 – Asian vs US startups
I’m writing a weekly blurb about 1) one thing I learned, and 2) one question I’m thinking about that’s broadly tech-related.
If you have thoughts on the topic or question, please do reply! I’ll quote the best responses in the next newsletter. My goal is to conduct a search for dialogues with people thinking about similar things with different lenses. I'm trying this out with a small group of friends (congrats, you're a VIP), but if you know anyone who would be interested in the discussion, please do forward this along or have them subscribe here.
Best replies from :
“Most developing countries realize that a growing consumption-driven economy is the only sustainable growth mechanism over the long run and the policy regarding family planning reflects that (e.g. China and India’s recent policy changes). And in the Western world there tend to be strong establishment interests against a younger skewed population.” -Sid
“Do you think that the lower birth rate in developed countries is because people can't conceive or don't want to conceive? The case study of Japan would seem to indicate that it's a confluence of social factors that leads to people not wanting children, period, even if fertility management/conception were made easier. One slightly ridiculous solution I can think of is a full-stack baby care / maintenance service, like boarding school but starting at birth.” -Eva
“Have you read about plummeting male fertility, especially in developed/educated areas? Might be another part of the picture. Good-ish summary article.” -Chris
“I think there are huge opportunities in the consumer internet era, especially with people <25 and >55 in age.” -Cory
What I learned:
Many of Asia’s tech successes have been direct clones of their US counterparts: Baidu (Google), Grab / Didi (Uber / Lyft), Oyo Rooms (Airbnb), Alibaba (Amazon). But Asia is unequivocally ahead in one area: live-streaming. China is expected to capture 59% of the $7.4B 2018 global revenue from live-streaming.
Asia’s live-streaming obsession manifests itself not only in scale, but also in variety: mukbang (live-streamed eating), for example, has grown exponentially since 2014. Live-streamed e-commerce channels have also taken off, with fashion influencers like Zhang Dayi raking in tens of millions per year showcasing trendy items on Taobao. I’m curious to see whether we’ll see a similar rise of live-streaming in the US, or if there are fundamental cultural differences between the regions that make adoption in the English-speaking world less likely.
What I’m wondering about:
If you believe we’re at the tail end of the consumer internet era (a question posed in ), it should not surprise you that distribution on traditional paid channels like Google and Facebook is becoming more expensive than ever. This makes it even more enticing to find less well-trodden distribution channels. One example of a creative channel comes from the early wave of online remittance businesses, who would purchase currency conversion sites as a cheap way to capture high-intent traffic. A more recent example comes from a founder I met who is creating niche localized Facebook groups to bootstrap to millions of users without spending on marketing. What are other efficient, non-obvious, and large distribution channels?