Condé Nast International president: We are entering a world of two internets

10 Oct 2017  |  Ellen Hammett 
Condé Nast International president: We are entering a world of two internets

While the Facebook and Google duopoly continue to dominate the headlines, the president of Condé Nast International has warned publishers to pay attention to the 'under-reported' Chinese-owned internet if they want to truly compete and survive on a global scale.

Speaking at FIPP World Congress London on Tuesday (10 October), Wolfgang Blau, whose business is responsible for titles including Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, said we are entering a world of two internets - one dominated by the American-owned Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, and the other by Chinese-owned Baidu-Alibaba-Tencent - and that publishers need to ensure they have a strong market position in at least one of them.

"Too many study visits still go to Silicon Valley and not enough to go Beijing and Shanghai, and they really should because we see so much innovation there. If we want to anticipate what is happening next to Facebook Messenger, we look to WeChat," Blau said.

"The challenge is that Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and also South East Asia are getting squeezed between these two forces. To really succeed as a global publisher you need to have a very strong market position either in the US, or in China - or ideally in both."

Condé Nast expects many of the Chinese operators to enter the publishing market soon - but not primarily through content propositions.

"At least not initially," Blau said. "We think the safest scenario is that it will be Ali and WeChat coming in with very high quality frictionless mobile payment services which publishers will like, when micropayments finally become a reality thanks to the Chinese. And probably on top of that we will see layers of high quality content being introduced.

"So do not underestimate Chinese publishers."

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