2021 has been a challenging year for tech companies in China.
Some of China’s biggest tech giants had weak revenue growth from July to September this year, and all eyes are on the macroeconomic slowdown and government restrictions, the Chinese Epoch Times reported.
Tencent, a social media and video game tyrant in China, for example, had their third-quarter sales that grew the slowest since the company went public in 2004.
Online food delivery company Meituan said that orders for food delivery have plummeted. Search engine company Baidu says its advertising business has slowed. E-commerce giant Alibaba lowered its growth forecast for this financial year.
In stark contrast, U.S. companies in the same industry, such as Google and Microsoft, had good results in the third quarter.
They reaped big profits as consumers switched to online shopping and working remotely in the pandemic. Amazon’s quarterly sales growth slowed due to supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, but Google and Microsoft boosted sales in the digital ad business.
While China’s economy grew 4.9% year-on-year in the third quarter, it was still much slower than the 7.9% growth in the previous quarter. Recently, the country’s economic growth has been slowing down due to many factors, including lack of electricity, supply chain problems, and private industries’ stagnation in technology, real estate, and education.
As Beijing tightens regulations in areas such as education, insurance, and online video games, in the third quarter, Tencent’s online ad revenue grew only 5% year on year, much lower than the previous quarter at 23%.
E-commerce platform Pinduoduo saw its online business sales in the third quarter rise 44% year-on-year. Mainly from digital advertising, but not as good as 2nd quarter 64% and 1st quarter at 157%.
On November 26th, Beijing released draft bills for the Internet advertising industry, including a ban on ads about student tutoring courses. According to the bill, advertisers and Internet platforms will be responsible for the ad content.