Ding Lei, founder and CEO of NetEase usually keeps a low profile. Last week, he unusually showed up at a press conference and shared some thoughts on the mobile Internet industry with us.

Mobile OS: only the 2 Titans Can Survive

 Ding thought that the incredible platform of app store changed the tech world, and on the mobile internet, browsers or navigation site all lost their value. As to the widely accepted prediction that Android, iOS and WindowsPhone will eventually dominate the whole mobile OS market, Ding did not agree so. He thought that only Android and iOS can be the winners, and all the other players including Microsoft will fail sooner or later.

The strategy: Stay Away from Apple’s Territory

 Since 2009 mobile traffic has grown by 20 times, NetEase seized the chance by providing mobile optimized services, for example, NetEase News app, mobile mail, Youdao dictionary, NetEase Reading (reading channel). And so on. “We’ve witnessed the rapid development of online games and online video, and today the turning point should be the mobile Internet.” Ding said.

Currently NetEase has 25 mobile apps, their aggregate downloads hit over 10 million. The mobile strategy for NetEase is simple and clear:” Do whatever Apple is not doing, absolutely.”

Ding himself is a big fan of Apple, he pointed out that Apple owns a cloud platform consisting of App Store, iBook and iTunes, which meet the needs of most users. He took the example of the popular chatting tool Weixin, “I think if Apple tried it, like adding some of the similar features into iMessage, Weixin may not even exist then.”

When coming to the business model, Ding said he’s not that concerned for now.

He also said that, “A country’s soft power depends on the economic status of its teachers and writers; we truly believe in that so NetEase Reading has invested tens of millions yuan into it, and we promise we won’t be making money off that.”

Will Launch Smart Phone Soon

Ding Lei once revealed that NetEase had been working on entering the smart phone market. Rumors said the new phone would be equipped with a 4.3 -inch screen, dual-core CPU, and Android 4.0. Ding did not go into details but said that the phone would be “best at video playing”. NetEase was not the quickest ones to enter the heated area, but it seems to be an important part of the company’s mobile internet strategy.

Charlie Sheng

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at) technode.com

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