First Company Visits in Beijing

Today we visited our first two companies of our trip to China: Cheetah Mobile and Microsoft. Both visits exceeded my expectations and taught me a lot about some of the software and hardware produced by these companies.

Cheetah mobile is a company that specializes in the development of apps. While they started out in the development of utility apps, they are trying to move into the realm of content based apps such as games or newspaper article compiling apps.

Rather than putting extended amounts of time into the development of a few products, the company follows a strategy of “running fast with small steps,” in essence releasing many apps in quick succession. This strategy is necessary because apps either become very popular or flop, and for the company to be profitable they can’t put all their eggs in one basket per se. This differs from the strategies discussed in Microsoft which I will mention shortly. Cheetah mobile’s profit comes from in app advertisements and their edge on the competition comes from their ability to offer these types of utility and content apps for free with advertisements. Overall, I learned a lot about the types of strategies needed to run a successful app development company from Cheetah Mobile.

After the presentation we had a tour of their facility which was amazing. Employees of Cheetah Mobile enjoy an office slide, massage room, supermarket, ping pong table, gym, karaoke bar, movie theater, child care room, fish pond, and rooftop garden. Much like Google, it appears that some of the best work in software happens when employees are placed in a creativity inspiring and relaxed work environment.

Following our visit to Cheetah Mobile we went to Microsoft where we got to sample their traffic predicting, Hololens mixed reality, recording drone, and translating technologies. In contrast to Cheetah Mobile, Microsoft puts more effort into a few individual products like the artificial intelligence Hololens and power point translation devices. I think the root of this difference comes from the nature of the products each company is creating. While apps like games tend to have short lifespans of a few months, the products being released by Microsoft are likely to result in long term use and loyalty from consumers, meriting more time and attention placed on tech development. Our tour at Microsoft also discussed the quick turnover of successful mobile phone companies in recent years in China, each company featuring their own specific strategy to dominate the market. Currently, Vivo and Oppo dominate the smart phone market in China because they not only rely on heavy celebrity endorsement from MBA players but they have also invested heavily in store locations, being present in most cities, even rural ones. Though Microsoft is not as focused on smart phone development as they are software, there was still a lot to be learned from their presentation.

That’s all for today, reader to visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden city tomorrow!

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