This week, TechNode’s translation column looks at Kingsoft, China’s homegrown clone-turned-rival to Microsoft Office, published on WeChat public account Python Zhi Shan. TechNode has not independently verified the claims in this article.

In late November, 30 years after its founding, Kingsoft’s software business hit the Shanghai STAR market (a NASDAQ spinoff). It raised $640 million and currently trades at a $10 billion valuation. Westerners—and even many Chinese familiar with its products—regard it as simply another knockoff Chinese firm whose WPS Office is little more than an off-brand Microsoft Office suite.

But an anonymous Chinese blogger tells us why Kingsoft’s story matters. Sister Dan Dan writes in an article on “The hidden history of WPS’s years on the market,” that Kingsoft: “because of WPS, they forced Microsoft to really fight not only for China but also the global market of office products.” Kingsoft’s early missteps in its fight with Microsoft is one of the great what-ifs in Chinese tech history, and its rebound is nothing short of remarkable.

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Jordan Schneider

Jordan Schneider is a freelancer based in Beijing and the host of the ChinaEconTalk podcast.