Web heavyweights set aside differences
Chinese Internet tycoons, known for years of throat-cutting fights for business, reached a rare consensus on Thursday that the heating competition in the market is largely healthy.
Tencent Holdings Ltd CEO Ma Huateng said: "The future of cyberspace will be a competitive and cooperative community of shared futures."
Ma was sitting alongside Qihoo 360 Technologies Co co-founder Zhou Hongyi, who was involved in a widely criticized battle against Tencent that asked tens of millions of Chinese netizens to choose sides.
"The fight with Tencent is now in the past tense, the industry no longer needs repeated low-level competition," Zhou said.
Baidu Inc CEO Robin Li agreed. He said competition between large Internet companies is "a good thing", as long as it spurs innovation.
"Competition also played an important role in helping China's Internet to grow to today's scale," Li said. His company has been a long-time rival to Qihoo's search services.
The turnover of the country's Internet economy reached 278 billion yuan ($43 billion) in the third quarter, a 5.4 percent year-on-year jump, according to iResearch Consulting Group.
Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Kuaidi, the largest online car-hailing platform in the country, said competition in some segments was likely to heat up.
"The fiercer and more thorough the competition, the better," Cheng said. Didi is in a cash-burning fight with Uber Technologies Inc in the transportation sector.
Victor Koo, founder of online video site Youku Tudou Inc, said the world should get used to the fact that some competition may be ended with a merger proposal.
"Current industry competition in China looks pretty healthy to me," Koo said. Youku Tudou was acquired by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd last month.
What they say
"Mergers and acquisitions are a common occurence in the Internet industry both in China and the United States. It is the other way forward for successful startups rather than going public. The case of Alibaba acquiring online video giant Youku Tudou Inc is the first-of-its-kind merger of an online content platform and an online shopping platform."
Victor Koo, founder of Youku Tudou Inc
"Didi and Uber will compete in the global market and learn from each other for a long time. We quite enjoy the competition. China's tech companies will make more overseas acquisitions. Mergers and acquisitions are a kind of skill for a company. As a young enterprise, Didi is studying how to accelerate expansion by taking advantage of mergers. We will use this method to compete in overseas markets."
Cheng Wei, CEO of Didi Kuaidi
"China's Internet industry needs competition. The growing Internet of Things sector provides unexpected demand for all players. The companies will have a larger platform to work on. But we no longer need fights that are not worth the cost. Although Qihoo and Tencent were at war three years ago, Ma Huateng and I have some great and friendly exchanges these days."
Zhou Hongyi, chairman of Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd