CEO of 58.com forecasts big growth in online services

18 Dec 2016

Speaking at the World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen, China on Nov. 17, Michael Yao Jinbo, founder and CEO of 58.com (NYSE: WUBA), the major Chinese online marketplace, said his company foresaw new opportunities in the area of life services.

Michael Yao Jinbo, founder and CEO of 58.com in China (photo from his LinkedIn profile with thanks)

China is expected to see a huge change in the next decade, when life services will grow to more than half of the digital economy, Yao Jinbo said, according to a report in China Daily.

“We believe the process whereby life services are combined with mobile internet and data is merely at its starting point. We see how opportunities are created in particular areas, such as car-hailing and shopping. But, the vast majority of life services haven’t been transformed yet.”

(Unfortunately, he didn’t explain what he understands under the term “life services”. All we can say for sure, is he referred to services, not products – editor.)

Yao also noted that 58.com was actively exploring new ways to approach the expanding digital market. The second-hand trading platform Zhuanzhuan.com, launched last year, was one way of doing this.

According to him, total online transactions on Zhuanzhuan hit 7 billion yuan ($1 billion U.S.) by November 12 this year, when the site celebrated its first birthday.

“I consider launching a shopping festival for second-hand trading,” Yao said. “And I hope online sales during that period will reach the same amount as the November 11 shopping festival. ”

The 58.com CEO said that China, which has about 710 million internet users, or one-fifth of the world’s total, had a natural advantage in the developing, digital economy.

Even when everyone thinks there is no opportunity in the market, a new chance might already be brewing, which could grow into a future unicorn – that is, a tech company valued at $1 billion U.S. or more – he said.

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Don Gasper