Shai Oster, the Asia Bureau Chief from The Information reviews the year of 2019 on how the technology giants in China and SoftBank have fared and offers his annual predictions to what will be happening in 2020. Shai reviewed his 2018 predictions and ranked how each of them have gone for 2019. In addition, he offered his perspectives on how Huawei and ByteDance will face constant challenges in their overseas expansion and whether SoftBank will raise their 2nd fund and the downstream impact from their debacle with Wework trickling down to Oyo, Didi and Grab in 2020. Last but not least, Shai throws forward what he thinks will happen in 2020.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Shai Oster (@beijingscribe, LinkedIn, TheInformation Profile), Asia Bureau Chief in The Information 
  • So since your last appearance on the show, what have you been up to?
  • 2018 predictions 
    • Didi to IPO in end 2019.
    • ByteDance will continue to grow and fight Facebook in Southeast Asia, but will not IPO.  
    • Ant Financial’s path to IPO is not clear.
    • What will happen to Xiaomi with their overseas expansion?
    • First-quarter of scary growth in China and followed by the wave of government stimulus in China.
  • State of China and SoftBank for 2019
  • What are the few events which you feel that 2019 has shifted the trajectory for SoftBank and Chinese tech giants?
  • Event 1: The US and China Relationship: There is obviously a lot of tension between the two countries, and a display of that tension can be seen in what has happened to Huawei in the last year. There was the trade ban that is forcing US companies like Google & Qualcomm to stop providing to Huawei & also the FCC ban that stops the use of government fund to purchase equipment from Huawei. It seems like Huawei is always in the news these days, from their product launches, to their lawsuits, and also the recent employee detainment allegations.
    • How has Huawei been doing and coping with all the challenges they’re facing in the U.S.? 
    • Do you think that the Huawei CEO has been responding well to the critics?
    • What is the future of 5G for Huawei across the world? 
  • Event 2: The SoftBank debacle with Wework and Vision Fund 2
    • We all know that WeWork is not what used to be, so has Vision Fund 1 reached the peak with Wework’s collapse?
    • How has that changed the way how the public markets have perceived the startup unicorns given that Uber have not performed well for their IPO and Wework failed to even go public? 
    • Will Oyo in India be the next on a similar trajectory with Wework? 
    • Will SoftBank be able to raise the 2nd Vision Fund in 2020?
    • Are the other unicorns backed by SoftBank in danger, for example, Bytedance and Grab? 
  • Event 3: The public markets for Chinese Tech Startups
    • Alibaba has just popped in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, after Xiaomi and Meituan-Dianping, do you think that HKSE will be the Chinese tech startups’ port of call for IPO?
    • With the chaos in Hong Kong and investors moving their assets from Hong Kong to Singapore, do you foresee that the HKSE will lose its pole position as a financial hub and what it means for chinese tech giants planning to go IPO?
    • Other long term implications & effects to businesses & tech companies? 
  • Event 4: Bytedance
    • Will Bytedance end up in the same predicament similar to Huawei?
    • Bytedance is also getting pushback in India, does that mean that the overseas growth potential for this company will end? 
  • Event 5: Overseas expansion for Chinese Tech Titans
    • Will the Chinese Tech Titans focus on Southeast Asia, India and the rest of the world instead of continuing its trajectory to put a foothold in the US?
    • Can they compete with Google, Amazon and Facebook in these nascent markets? 
  • What will be your predictions for 2020 and what are the key things you will be watching out for?
    • China & US relationship in 2020 
    • China economy
    • Tiktok will retreat from US, scale back & renew their focus on China, India, Southeast Asia & Africa
    • Huawei 
    • Shift of Money out of China and US into Southeast Asia and India from VCs and PE funds.
  • Closing

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted and produced by Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin) and originally created by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong).  Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.