MBA China

Hot Sectors of 2012 in China: TMT, Cleantech, Healthcare

Predicting the next big thing in China...

Written by Grace Chia | MBA China | Monday 27th February 2012 17:59:46 GMT

Photo from Ren Mensen's Photostream (

Photo from Ren Mensen's Photostream (

I recently attended an event organised by China Entrepreneurs, where a panel of industry professionals discussed their views on the hot sectors in China. Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), Clean Technology and Healthcare were three sectors brought up during their discussion which I felt particular interest in, and I believe they will be experiencing great developments in China.

1. Technology TMT: There are various industries involved in this broad sector, and these are some key areas that were highlighted. Some have criticised China's products to be copies of those in the more developed countries, such as being the clone of Facebook and Weibo a copy of Twitter, but we have seen many of their local products overtake their foreign competitors in terms of user design and functionalities.

Mobile and wireless Apps, Video Streaming, Social sharing: There are so many apps developed everyday in China, be it Angry Pigs or Angry Chickens. We have multiple platforms for them. We have 2 main microblogging competitors, Sina and Tencent Weibo. Is it possible to make money? Are there any other alternatives to monetization besides advertisements, raking in profits offline?
NFC and Mobile payments: Having gone to various NFC and mobile payment conferences recently, there is indeed renewed interest because of the clearer government policies. It is now mandatory for a third party payment provider such as 99Bill or Alipay to get a payment license. As of 31st Dec 2011, 101 third party payment providers are now issued with these licenses. NFC technology was also a key topic that Mobile Monday covered late last year, featuring developments by Watchdata with their SIMPass technology, amid many other solutions.

E-commerce : E-commerce in China is huge. With Taobao and the newly launched 天猫(previously known as TMall), I no longer have to use multiple platforms such as Amazon, E Bay, Gmarket, browsing many blogshops like what I do to source for the cheapest deals online back in Singapore. Most of the best deals can be found on Taobao/360Buy. The convenience and the price competitiveness of e-commerce in China is very attractive. The fee charged for sellers is also low, encouraging people to sell online.
Smartphones: China companies have launched their own line of smartphones such as Xiaomi and various phones from ZTE and Huawei, priced at much lower prices and thus affordable for the general population. These phones are also compatible with the local 3G network provided by China Mobile, the world and China's largest operator. As of Dec 2011, their official figures show a whooping 650million subscribers.

Group Buying sites consolidation: Despite many negative news about group buying sites, such as false sales numbers and fake goods, the market remains profitable. Smaller companies will consolidate to become bigger, or be phased out of this playing field.

2. Cleantech sector: Droughts, floods, cleaning up of pollution(the evidence is in your face whenever you walk out to the Beijing air), all these require technology to support the clean-up of a rapidly developing "World Factory". The textiles industry in China creating massive pollution was hugely publicised by Greenpeace with their 1 year long investigation, and water treatment is needed for this. There were also news of plans for increased installations of solar panels in China this year.

3. Healthcare: According to Ms Irene Tanner, Partner/Managing Director at China eCapital, she sees an increased interest in mobile healthcare, but there must be someone to pay and support this. This is still done regionally and the industry is fragmented, making it difficult to scale. Business models of providers of personal healthcare products are also not well understood, while relationships (关系) is so important in hospital-based solutions. Nevertheless, with greater awareness of healthcare products and increased consumption levels of better healthcare for the Chinese, this sector will see many opportunities.

How well do you think each of these three sectors will fare in 2012?

About the Author
Grace is a Singaporean based in Beijing, currently the Vice-President of Young Entrepreneurs Association of NUS (YEAN). She is pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), a Technology and Entrepreneurship minor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. She loves travel and blogs at Space


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Tuesday 28th February 2012, 08.30 (UTC)

Rory Black

I love seeing things about China out there....even though I know China has already moved on from being the next big thing to actually being the big thing^^

Tuesday 28th February 2012, 10.10 (UTC)

Grace Chia

Yes Rory, its an exciting place to be!

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