September 1993 is a time few of us remember in vivid detail, let alone commemorate. Yet it was in this “Eternal September” that AOL made the Internet a household sensation. By making the Internet available to everyone and indispensable to most, AOL made itself wealthy enough to buy Time Warner, the biggest media conglomerate in the world.

AOL’s rise also lifted the fortunes of others. Amazon.com and Ebay both went online in 1995; 1995 was also the year that Yahoo incorporated. Three years later, Google was founded. Together, these four companies emerged as the big winners of the the Internet Era in America.

Internet in China has always had a time delay compared to the U.S., but we see pretty much the same pattern. The Internet craze was full blown by 1997 when Netease was founded. It was followed by more giants: Tencent, Sina and Sohu were founded in 1998, Shanda and Alibaba were founded in 1999, Baidu was founded in 2000. After the first five years, pretty much all the big players are in place.

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Yang Wang

Yang is currently the brand and media director at Elitime Media & Consulting. He has published and translated seven books, and several of his works have been translated and published in areas such...