Chinese Tech Giants from Alibaba to Xiaomi Ramp up Efforts in Blockchain
Chinese smartphone and electronics giant Xiaomi has recently set up a joint venture with a registered capital of 66 million yuan, which will particularly focus on new business areas involving blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.
The Hong Kong-listed company has been eyeing blockchain since 2017 and the latest move indicates Xiaomi’s ambition to compete in the intense blockchain race with other tech giants of Alibaba and Tencent.
The business scope of the new entity, established in Chongqing of southwest China, includes blockchain-related software and services, as well as AI-powered data platform, and data processing and storage services, according to Chinese company information search engine Tianyancha.
Early in 2018, the company introduced Cryptokitties knock-off Jiamitu (Cryptorabbit), and later a 2C blockchain product dubbed Xiaomi WiFi Chain allowing individual users to earn virtual reward “mili” while connected to a wireless network.
Blockchain initiatives of Chinese Tech Giants
A handful of other tech companies in the country have also been stepping up their efforts in unveiling their blockchain services for expanding their businesses.
China’s Google equivalent Baidu has been bullish on blockchain for years. The latest blockchain initiative from the search giant is the launch of beta version of Xuperchain, which aims to let small and medium-sized businesses and developers cheaply launch decentralized applications (dapps). Prior to it, the company had developed a canine version of Cryptokitties in early 2018, which allows millions of Chinese to adopt and trade cute digital puppies that live on the blockchain; another influential initiative of its numerous blockchain projects includes Totem, a blockchain-based copyright protection platform.
E-commerce behemoth Alibaba is also pioneering efforts in the blockchain space. The company is proud of being the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology for three consecutive years. While blockchain patents aren’t the only proof of Alibaba’s strong showing in blockchain endeavors. So far, the company has adopted blockchain to fight food fraud, secure medical data and track cross-border shipments, etc. Most recently, its fintech arm Ant Financial has launched the testing stage for its consortium blockchain network aimed to support small and medium-sized businesses in different industries.
Social media giant Tencent has started blockchain exploration early in 2015. The company, one of the largest payment processors in the world, has set up a digital currency research unit, aiming to further expand its payment business. Also, Tencent has introduced a blockchain-based invoicing system, which has issued 10 million blockchain invoices in China’s tech capital Shenzhen. In late 2019, Tencent, along with Alibaba and Xiaomi, received a license from the Hong Kong authority to open a virtual bank to provide financial services using blockchain technology. Prior to it, the company’s virtual bank, WeBank, became the first technical infrastructure provider for China’s national blockchain network to serve a range of state-controlled public services across the country.