For the past ten years, some of China’s biggest companies have divided the country’s tech industry. Now, they’re fighting proxy wars in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia and India, battling it out for a share of the regions’ digital real estate. 

“These investments are building the muscles for a world-class clash of titans—with the big guys competing head to head and local players serving as proxies for the foreign giants,” consultancy Bain & Company said in a report describing the scramble for market share in Southeast Asia.

China’s tech giants are known as jealous backers. When Chinese startups take money from a tech major, they’re often committing to a side and its associated ecosystem. That’s why Tencent invested in Pinduoduo—the e-commerce company’s business model is based on users getting their Wechat contacts to buy items with them.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.