More Taipei-hotel-induced nostalgia last night. This time at the Howard Plaza Hotel, where my wife and I got married over a quarter of a century ago. My memories of the ceremony and accompanying banquet are hazy, though I do recall her looking stunning as she walked through the ballroom in a gorgeous red dress. That was just one of series of dresses that she had to change into during the evening. No wonder she was so exhausted by the end of it!
It’s quite a relief that the sweltering Taipei summer heat has final started to dissipate and I can resume my favorite lunchtime ritual of taking a ten-minute walk to Le Home coffee for lunch followed by another short stroll to the Jingmei Human Rights Memorial and Cultural Park just behind our office.
With so much happening in the technology industry, it can be very easy to lose track of the signal amid all the noise when trying to figure out the key trends that are driving the market. We try to keep our own analysis as simple as possible, building our overall strategy upon these three key drivers:
On Sunday evening I met an old friend at the Grand Hyatt and we spent a fun couple of hours chewing the fat over how the industry has changed since the PC was at the center of the universe and the hotel’s Cheers Bar was the place to see and be seen when Computex was at its height.
I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Kai-Fu Lee’s forthcoming book, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, which Amazon tells me will be released on September 23.
Time to tie up a couple of loose ends from the past week, starting with a mini-review of The Badlands: more stories from Midnight in Peking by Paul French.
Earlier this week it was announced that China now has over 800 million Internet users – more than the population of every other county on the planet except for India. That represents a penetration rate of 57.7% according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Over 98% of the users go online with a smart phone; 566 million use mobile payments.
The streets near our office in Xindian were packed this afternoon with people making offerings to mark the impending arrival of Ghost Month. This officially starts tomorrow on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (中元節), upon which all the ghosts and spirits are believed to emerge from hell to haunt the earth.
Back home in Taipei. My trip to Beijing certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. Judging by the size of my stomach, a tad too much perhaps!
Luckin has been gaining a lot of attention recently thanks to cleverly positioning itself as the plucky young David fighting to unseat the Starbucks goliath in the China coffee market. Except of course, having closed a $200 million funding round that gives it a $1 billion valuation, the company is hardly a little guy at all and has already opened over 500 outlets throughout the country.