ShareIt builds on early success to expand in various overseas markets
ShareIt Group, known for its digital products like mobile apps and entertainment content, is seeking to ride its impressive record of the last six years for fresh growth across the world.
Its apps have been installed 2.4 billion times already and span 45 languages in more than 200 countries and regions. The ShareIt app was ranked second among all apps in Southeast Asia in 2020.
Jason Wang, chief business officer of ShareIt, said a teenager in Beijing and another teenager in Cairo may have similar demand for quality internet services, but what each of them might get in real life could be vastly different. That is, given the abysmal state of the internet in emerging markets, there is big potential for the digital industry to grow there.
And that insight informs ShareIt’s overseas strategy. “People in Beijing are overwhelmed by various internet products and services. They have so many choices. However, people in many other places in the world such as countries in Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia do not get similar supply of digital services,” Wang said. “Big demand still exists.”
With business climate changing globally in the COVID-19 era, the company will focus more on localization in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa this year and has already made related arrangements, Wang said.
Chinese customers may not be familiar with ShareIt since the company has never developed the domestic market as its battlefield. However, as a one-stop online platform for digital content, it is a popular app in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Russian-speaking countries. Users can share their short videos, music, games, among other things, via the app.
Although low-cost smartphones are popular in emerging countries, internet infrastructure tends to be ordinary, so users cannot enjoy swift internet services as limited networks are slow.
In 2015, ShareIt saw an opportunity in this reality, and developed an app through which people can transfer music, films and other digital content without using expensive mobile data. It was welcomed in those countries and became a big success, reinforcing its signature “discover and share unlimited joy”, a tagline that appears on screen upon opening the app.
“An increasing number of China-oriented internet companies are exploring the overseas market, which we would love to see. We are no longer a lonely explorer. We will grow with others,” Wang said.
Based on its large user base in emerging markets, ShareIt now is working on building a bridge between other Chinese companies and overseas customers.
The company also started to provide services for global digital gaming and e-commerce companies, making their products more suitable for their different niche markets.
“For instance, we helped a game developer to shorten the download time of a game from one hour to three minutes via our unique peer-to-peer transfer solution,” Wang said. “We also helped lots of China-based or cross-border business holders such as livestreaming, mobile game, and online education app developers to solve the online-to-offline payment problem in emerging markets.”
For the Chinese market, ShareIt Group has a different strategy. “We have never given up this market. We just choose different clients. Our mature experience in overseas markets among users can help us serve the domestic corporate clients better,” he said. “We don’t compete with our domestic clients so that we won’t explore the domestic consumer-level market.”
He predicted that the number of Chinese companies that plan to expand in overseas markets would soar rapidly in the following years, which means ShareIt won’t worry about their domestic businesses.
“Even though we see a bright future, we still face challenges such as the unstable international political environment,” Wang said. “We target at building ShareIt into a ‘great’ global company and we’re confident we can achieve it.
According to the 2020 Chinese outbound internet companies white paper jointly released by Huawei Cloud and online community BaijingApp, Chinese internet companies still enjoy a competitive advantage and huge potential when exploring overseas markets since there are still 3.2 billion people without good-quality internet service across the world.
The white paper has noted that the companies should make efforts to provide specialized products and services in different countries to achieve better results.
Dong Xue, deputy director of the Beijing Animation and Game Industry Alliance, said Chinese companies are not short of capital when exploring foreign markets. Instead, they are short of planning, strategy and experience.
“Thus, those companies that have gained rich experience abroad will own many advantages that others don’t have. For example, they have a big database, which can help them to make precise market positioning,” she said. “Their deep roots in foreign countries will lead to products designed to fit local users more.”
There is no doubt that when companies such as ShareIt cooperate with other Chinese companies to expand in overseas market, it will offer them powerful competitiveness, she said.
“Our efforts are on to make our voice heard in the global market. We hope to participate fairly in the international market,” Wang said.