Tech Leaders with Chinese Characteristics

How have Chinese history and culture shaped tech leaders’ characteristics and strategies?

About The Report

Guoli Chen, Professor of Strategy at INSEAD, and Jianggan Li, founder and CEO of Momentum Works have spent the last two years deciphering Chinese tech companies and their global expansion. 

They recently published the book  “Seeing the Unseen – behind Chinese tech giants’ global venturing” (Wiley),  which summarised successes and lessons learned from Chinese tech companies like Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance / TikTok, Meituan, Didi, J&T, SHEIN etc… into People, Organization, and Product and Leadership (POP-Leadership) framework. 

In this report, the Momentum Academy team, together with Professor Chen and Jianggan Li, expand on what influenced and shaped the strategies of Chinese tech leaders. Specifically: 

  • Chinese history and folklore (e.g. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West); 
  • Mao Zedong’s wisdoms used in the Chinese Revolution, and why it is still relevant today; 
  • Myths of China’s tech growth (e.g. the great firewall protected chinese companies), and what are the real facts; 
  • Commonalities of the new generation of tech giants leaders from ByteDance, Meituan, Pinduduodo.
  • And finally, the “Sharks versus crocodiles”: how does that analogy remain relevant, 20 years after Jack Ma made it famous. 

History and stories (the words share the same root) have always been the best way to share lessons and give direction to future generations. We hope you will enjoy reading this report, no matter which industry you are in, or which battle you are fighting. 

Table of content

  1. History of Chinese tech companies 101
  2. Why are founders in China reading Mao?
  3. What do Meituan, Bytedance and Pinduoduo have in common?
  4. Sharks vs Crocodiles 

Players featured: Alibaba, Tencent, Meituan, Pinduoduo, Bytedance and others

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