Chinese platforms are going global: Ctrip, Didi, Alibaba, Baidu, UnionPay. Global platforms try to enter China: Airbnbn, Uber, Google, Facebook. Peking University business professor Jeffrey Towson welcomes us to the US-China platform war, and explores on his LinkedIn page the battle field.
Point 3: Complementary and inter-connected platforms can be particularly powerful.
A single platform is good. As mentioned, it can have lots of strengths, particularly when competing against a traditional vertically integrated merchant (VI). Especially, if you can get a network effect and some economies of scale going.
But complementary networks can be even better. This is when you actually have two different (Multi-Sided Platforms) MSPs serving a common set of users. The two MSPs can sort of amplify each other. For example, Microsoft Word (an MSP) is helped by being on the Microsoft Operating system (another MSP). They both have a user group in common and amplify each other. A mapping application (sometimes an MSP) linked into Wechat (another MSP) is another example. Complementary networks are very common in China, where much of the mobile world has collapsed to a few powerful ecosystems (Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu).
However, inter-connected platforms are arguably even better. This is when a platform (or set of features) is actually integrated within another platform – to the point that the whole thing becomes inseparable within a service. The feature the user group sees and uses is actually being delivered by several interconnected platforms. For example, advertising-based media (e.g., Yahoo, broadcast TV) is increasingly inter-connected with advertising networks (i.e,. platforms that match advertising buyers with available inventory in real-time). That’s how the ads on Yahoo, Baidu and Google get placed in real-time based on who you are or what you are looking at. There are actually +2 interconnected MSPs delivering this service.
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