China Tech Talk

China Tech Talk
China Tech Talk is a weekly podcast about what’s happening on the ground in China’s tech and startup ecosystems. It is hosted by John Artman, Editor-in-Chief of TechNode English, and Matthew Brennan, founder of ChinaChannel
48: Problems With Chinese & Western tech media with Wang Boyuan, of
May 20 • 53 min
This week, John and Matt talk with Wang Boyuan, editor of, about media inside and outside China, some of the hazards as a reader, and some tips on where to get reliable information about the Middle Kingdom.
47: Shenzhen style innovation: IP protection, ZTE, and manufacturing standards with Benjamin Joffe of HAX
May 13 • 54 min
This week, John and Matt talk with Benjamin Joffe, General Partner at HAX, about why Shenzhen is so strong with hardware, the fate of ZTE and the role of national security, and IP protection in China.
46: Internet business models disrupt China’s coffee market: Luckin Coffee
May 6 • 47 min
John and Matt discuss the power of examining first principles in an increasingly mobile-centric marketplace in the case of new coffee delivery startup Luckin (瑞亲) Coffee.
45: Tencent vs Alibaba - The battle for China’s offline retail with WSJ’s Liza Lin
Apr 28 • 64 min
This week, John and Matt talk with Liza Lin, China technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal, about the increasing competition between Tencent and Alibaba in offline retail.
44: Short video and China’s hottest app
Apr 24 • 47 min
John and Matt talk about Douyin, the breakout short video app of 2017, how it stacks up against Kuaishou (aka Kwai)—China’s “low” humor video app, and some predictions for short video apps in 2018.
43: The e-commerce platform becoming a threat to Alibaba with Thomas Graziani
Apr 15 • 50 min
This week, John and Matt talk with Thomas Graziani, founder and CEO of WalktheChat, a company that specializes in helping foreign organizations access the Chinese market through WeChat.
42: China’s mobility and transport market gets all mixed up
Apr 8 • 60 min
This week, John and Matt talk about recent developments in China’s mobility and the O2O market as Meituan acquires Mobike and joins others encroaching into Didi territory.
41: New retail, new customer experiences with Stephane Monsallier
Apr 2 • 49 min
We’re back! Sorry for being gone so long. Hope you didn’t miss us too much. This week, John and Matt talk with Stephane Monsallier, founder of Shops of the Future, about new retail and Alibaba’s strategy with Hema.
40: Unpacking China’s “new retail”
Mar 9 • 70 min
Matt and John try to understand the recent (and not so recent) moves by China’s internet giants into offline retail.
39: PUBG and the future of Steam in China with Charlie Moseley
Feb 26 • 50 min
Matt and John talk with Charlie Moseley, an American games developer based in Chengdu. We start the conversation about PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds and then go into the future of Steam as well as PUBG’s prospects in 2018. [This was recorded on 01 Feb 2018]
38: Trends in early-stage Chinese startups with Edith Yeung
Feb 18 • 63 min
Matt and John talk with Edith Yeung, managing partner at 500 Startups about blockchain, AI, and how China’s startups fit into global trends. Edith Yeung on WeChat: edithyeung
37: Weibo’s KOL woes with Elijah Whaley
Feb 11 • 56 min
Matt and John welcome Elijah Whaley, CMO of PARKLU, onto the show again. We catch up with what’s he’s been working on lately and then discuss some new heavy-handed rent-seeking from Weibo.
36: Don’t forget about Weibo with Manya Koetse
Feb 4 • 64 min
Matt and John talk with Manya Koetse, found and editor-in-chief of What’s on Weibo, about how the role of Weibo in Chinese society and its continuing relevance in public discourse.
35: A change in WeChat is a change in Chinese society
Jan 28 • 55 min
Matt and John talk about recent developments in WeChat, including new insights from WeChat Open Class, the role of mini programs and games, and “WeChat as a Platform” (WaaP).
34: Making, hacking, and hardware with Naomi Wu
Jan 21 • 44 min
Matt and John talk with Naomi Wu, a well-known online personality known for her hardware and making projects. Thanks a bunch to @Broadcastorm for the suggestion and making the intro!
33: Fintech IPOs and the future of money in China with Zennon Kapron
Jan 7 • 49 min
Matt and John talk with Zennon Kapron, founder of Kapron Asia, about fintech in China, P2P lending, fintech IPOs, and money in China
32: China tech trends in 2017, part 2
Dec 30, 2017 • 54 min
This week, Matt and John discuss the top 5 trends (plus some honorable mentions) in China’s tech for 2017 and make some predictions going into 2018. This is the second of two parts.
31: China tech trends in 2017, part 1
Dec 24, 2017 • 42 min
This week, Matt and John discuss the top 5 trends (plus some honorable mentions) in China’s tech for 2017. This is the first of two parts.
30: Live from TechCrunch - Interview with BingoBox and Xiaomi
Dec 3, 2017 • 42 min
This week, we hear from BingoBox and Xiaomi about their products, market strategy, and the future of their verticals
29: Tencent’s $2 bln Western beachhead
Nov 26, 2017 • 41 min
This week, Matt and John talk about what Tencent’s $2 bln investment in Snap means for both companies (John also goes down a rabbit hole about Chinese consumer psychology).
28: Reinventing commercial real estate with Dominic Penaloza
Nov 20, 2017 • 47 min
This week, Matt and John speak with Dominic Penaloza, CIO of naked Hub, about co-working in China as well as what naked Hub is doing to reinvent commercial real estate.
27: Can the iPhone X save Apple in China?
Nov 12, 2017 • 45 min
After a lackluster response from China for the iPhone 7, and consecutive quarterly declines in market share, many have wondered if we are watching the beginning of the end for Apple in China. This week, Matt and John revisit their discussion about Apple…
26: The Uber China Mafia with Chenyu Zheng
Nov 5, 2017 • 43 min
Some call Uber’s China foray a failure but looking at the DNA of the company, its values of radical ownership and operational focus have reshaped entrepreneurship in China. This week, Matt and John talk about the lasting impact Uber has had on the…
25: Mobike goes global with Florian Bohnert
Oct 29, 2017 • 44 min
This week John and Matt follow up with Florian Bohnert, Head of Global Partnerships about what Mobike has been up to since we last talked, including: - How Mobike has expanded into global markets - The challenges of globalizing from China - Finding talent…
24: The water we swim in
Oct 22, 2017 • 70 min
The first reference episode for China Tech Talk delves into the broader conditions enabling China speed, including: - Economic growth and habituated pace of change - Generational differences in user habits - Super apps - Values that don’t include net…
23: Group chat rules, VPNs, and the future of the internet in China
Oct 15, 2017 • 58 min
John and Matt start with new group chat rules as well as VPNs and end up talking about deeper questions the economic implications of a truly tech-savvy Chinese government, specifically: - Rules affecting group chats in WeChat, QQ, and Baidu Tieba - The…
22: P2P lending, retail banking, and the future of online services with Ling Kong
Oct 1, 2017 • 81 min
John and Matt talk with Ling Kong, CTO of Dianrong about: - How peer-to-peer (P2P) lending got started - What makes Dianrong different from their competitors (hint: there’s a reason we’re talking to the CTO) - How the government sees the P2P lending…
21: China’s ICO ban with Patrick Dai
Sep 17, 2017 • 47 min
This week, John speaks with Patrick Dai, co-founder & chairman of Qtum foundation, about: - What ICOs are - Why companies want to do ICOs - How many ICOs are fraudulent - Why the Chinese government banned ICOs - How long the ban will last - How this will…
20: Alipay vs WeChat and why smile to pay matters
Sep 7, 2017 • 63 min
Matt and John start with Alipay’s recent “smile to pay” demo and end with a discussion on why WeChat went into payments in the first place. Along the way, they talk about: - Alipay and WeChat’s money market funds - WeChat’s new money market fund feature -…
19: China’s $20 billion news app with Dannie Li
Aug 30, 2017 • 42 min
This week Matt and John talk with Dannie Li, an analyst at China Tech Insights about Jinri Toutiao, a Chinese content aggregator recently valued at $20 billion, including: - Why Jinri Toutiao is so popular - How it is so sticky - Its business model and…
18: China’s gaming and e-sports industry with Daniel Ahmad
Aug 24, 2017 • 47 min
This week Matt and John talk with Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners about: - The uniqueness of China’s games market - The size of the e-sports industry - How gaming and e-sports are becoming more mainstream - Tencent’s position in the games market…
17: China’s largest retailer with Josh Gartner
Aug 18, 2017 • 66 min
This week Matt and John talk with Josh Gartner, veteran China hand and VP for International Corporate Affairs at, about: - How JD stacks up against Amazon and Alibaba - Early challenges and a crucial pivot towards in-house logistics - Tencent as a…
16: ICO madness and China’s bitcoin fever with Neil Woodfine
Aug 10, 2017 • 64 min
This week Matt and John talk with Neil Woodfine, former COO at Remitsy about: - What bitcoin and blockchain are - What Ethereum might be - Why ICOs don’t make sense - How bitcoin is going to play a bigger part in decentralized transactions - Why bitcoin…
15: Baidu ain’t that bad with Kaiser Kuo
Aug 4, 2017 • 72 min
This week Matt and John talk with Kaiser Kuo, veteran China hand and former International Communications director for Baidu about: - What the early China internet was like - How he joined Baidu - How Chinese companies are like ice age tribes - VPNs in…
14: Tencent’s OTHER killer app
Jul 28, 2017 • 82 min
This week Matt and John talk about Honor of Kings aka Strike of Kings aka Arena of Glory, Tencent’s uber popular mobile multiplayer game, including: - Background on mobile gaming and MOBA’s - Why it’s become a cultural phenomenon - Why Tencent is butting…
13: AT’s Southeast Asia entrance with Bernard Leong
Jul 21, 2017 • 60 min
This week John and Matthew talk with Bernard Leong, host of the Analyse Asia podcast, about Alibaba and Tencent’s activity in Southeast Asia, including: Why banks aren’t competing with each other but with other tech companies Why…
12: China from Asia and China in Asia with Jon Russell
Jul 15, 2017 • 59 min
This week John and Matt talk with Jon Russell, TechCrunch’s man in Asia about covering China from the outside. We cover topics including: Biggest challenges in covering China from outside the country Explaining China to people who aren’t familiar…
11: Bringing your apps to China with Shlomo Freund and Michael Michelini
Jun 30, 2017 • 42 min
This week John and Matt talk with Shlomo Freund and Michael Michelini, hosts of the China Business Cast, about bringing your app to China, including: Why games are difficult to bring to China How app markets monetize Why there is no paid app…
10: Influencers in China and the future of brands with Elijah Whaley
Jun 23, 2017 • 77 min
John and Matthew talk with Elijah Whaley, Chief Marketing Officer for ParkLU, about: Why big ad agencies are failing to keep up How content is being democratized Why Taobao is dominating live streaming How influencers are building the…
09: Astroturfing, tipping, and how to become a live stream celebrity in China with Lauren Hallanan
Jun 16, 2017 • 68 min
John and Matthew talk with Lauren Hallanan, an internet celebrity in China about: Differences in live streaming platforms Gifting as a business model How to make a live stream interesting Agency practices (hint: it’s not always ethical) …
Episode 08: How Chinese internet celebrities are taking over e-commerce with Dannie Li
Jun 8, 2017 • 43 min
John and Matthew talk with Dannie Li, an analyst at China Tech Insights, about China’s internet celebrities, including: Differences between wanghong (网红) and KOLs/influencers A brief history of the wanghong industry Why they’ve become so popular…
Episode 07: WeChat’s pivot in-progress
Jun 2, 2017 • 38 min
John and Matthew talk about the future of Tencent and WeChat, including: What a WeChat hardware device might be Possible AR features and products The role of mini-programs in the WeChat ecosystem WeChat team learning how to make partnerships…
Episode 06: Smartphones in China - Apple’s growing weakness
May 26, 2017 • 55 min
John and Matthew talk about Apple’s challenges in China, including: A brief history of the iPhone in China A look at some strong competitors and their ability to appeal to Chinese customers Apple’s non-existent services ecosystem Tensions between…
Episode 05: From the Valley to China, Shifting Gears with Steve Hoffman
May 19, 2017 • 54 min
John and Matthew talk with Steve Hoffman, Founder and Captain of Founders Space. Steve has tons of experience in the Valley and has been spending more and more time in China. We talk about a variety of things, including: How does Chinese…
Episode 04: Exclusive interview with Florian Bohnert, Mobike’s Head of International Expansion
May 12, 2017 • 56 min
This week we switch up the format a bit to do our very first interview! Continuing our discussion of bike sharing, we invited Florian Bohnert, Head of International Expansion at Mobike, to talk about Mobike, bike sharing, and their plans inside…
Episode 03: Bike sharing business models - Mobike and ofo
May 4, 2017 • 56 min
John and Matthew go deeper on bike sharing and respond to some listener feedback. Questions they answer: How many bikes are on the streets? How many users do Mobike and ofo have? How much are these two companies worth? How do they…
Episode 02: Mini-programs - WeChat’s killer feature
Apr 27, 2017 • 27 min
John and Matthew talk about WeChat’s mini-programs. Introduced earlier this year, the full potential of mini-programs were not apparent at launch, leading some to speculate that they would never be useful. Matt is pretty bullish while John has a…
Episode 1: An introduction to China’s bike sharing
Apr 21, 2017 • 29 min
John and Matthew talk about bike sharing. Since the middle of 2016, China’s streets have explosions of yellow, orange, blue, and green as the bike sharing wars take off. Who are the big players? Why is it taking off in China? Will the Chinese…
Episode 0: Introductions
Apr 20, 2017 • 22 min
China Tech Talk is a TechNode x ChinaChannel co-production This episode is all about introductions: who we are, what we do, and what this podcast is about. John Artman is Editor-in-Chief at TechNode English. Matthew Brennan is the founder of…