U.S. Tech Companies Now Copycats of Chinese Peers, Andreessen Horowitz Partner Says

By Liza Lin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Chinese technology companies have long had a reputation of being copycats of Western peers, but U.S. companies have recently begun to return the favor, said a partner at prominent venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

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China's internet titans such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. are influencing U.S. startups and majors alike, and many Chinese models are being replicated in the U.S., said Connie Chan, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture firm whose investments include Airbnb Inc. and Facebook Inc.

LimeBike, a San Mateo, Calif., upstart backed by Andreessen Horowitz, adapted China's dockless bike-sharing model for U.S. consumers, Ms. Chan said at The Wall Street Journal's D. Live Asia conference Friday. The company's smartphone-activated bicycles, which use designated public spaces for parking instead of docking stations, were first rolled out by Beijing-based Ofo Inc. and Beijing Mobike Technology Co.

Also, Apple Inc. recently added payment services to its iMessage chat service, taking a page from Tencent's playbook, Ms. Chan said.

"I love this reversal of what 'China copycat' can mean," she said. "It no longer just means a Chinese company copying the States, it can mean a U.S. company copying China."

David Su, the founding managing partner at Matrix Partners China, said the next big Chinese technology success story would likely come from companies whose business models leverage micropayments on mobile as well as the software services and security space.

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"In the next few years, we will see a lot of innovation on payment on mobile which will drive a lot of consumption and changes in behavior," said Mr. Su, an early investor in Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc. and ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

Mr. Su said the growth in investments coming from China's three internet majors- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent and Baidu--hasn't had an impact on valuations for early-stage venture-capital firms, as the three companies typically take part in later funding rounds, he said.

Still, intense battles often take place there.

"Unfortunately, because of the hyper competition among the big giants, often when one picks a big player, the other side almost compulsively will pick another competitor," Mr. Su said. "It's created almost two blocks of warring camps."

Write to Liza Lin at liza.lin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 09, 2017 02:06 ET (06:06 GMT)