American internet companies are, thanks to Asia, still growing. If it weren’t for Asia, they’d be struggling to bloom. Earnings reports and the new strategy decisions of 2014 unveil a gripping reality for internet companies in America: without Asia, their profits would plummet and their investors would eat them alive. And this isn’t some claim I’m making for a few American companies here and there. This trend, for better or worse, is impacting every major tech company from Redmond to Cupertino.
Let’s start with Apple
In the latest earnings report, the Wall Street Journal notes that China and Japan are Apple’s biggest bright spots for growth. Apple securing a China Mobile deal was was the biggest news for Apple’s potential earnings in 2014. Apple got a whopping $8.8 billion of revenue out of China last quarter, and there is no doubt that this will continue to increase because China is the biggest smartphone market in the world. The Asian markets are saving Apple’s ass in the long run.
Lenovo saves Google the trouble of dealing with Motorola
Up next is Google, Apple’s bitter rival in the smartphone market. Just last week it was reported that Lenovo would be acquiring Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion. Lenovo, if you’re not aware, is a Chinese company, which acquired the PC business in 2005 from IBM. Who else is going to buy outdated arms of a business that fail the overall strategy? Asia is leveling up while American companies are shedding what doesn’t look essential to their strategy. Google is lucky someone was even willing to buy Motorola from them. For Google, it was a good strategy to keep the Android-related patents and also muscle Samsung in a strategy to keep Samsung’s hands from overstepping bands in Android. And that’s a battle with a Korean company, which of course is Asian. Lenovo essentially saved Google and IBM’s asses.
Facebook’s biggest growth is Asia
While everyone’s talking about the cool new Paper app coming out of Facebook this week, the most significant things for the social network are these numbers. Facebook has over 368 million monthly active users in Asia and that amounts to Facebook’s most populous continent and also Facebook’s fastest growing continent. Facebook is even losing users by the millions in its home markets, but Asian numbers are blooming. And that’s all without the help of China, which is still blocking Facebook.
Yahoo, Alibaba, and Marissa Mayer
By far the most revealing of the big tech companies is Yahoo, which has a 20 percent stake in Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company. In fact, Alibaba’s earnings last quarter were double those of Yahoo’s and that has essentially allowed Marissa Mayer to go on an acquiring spree. Alibaba is boosting Yahoo’s valuation and earnings, allowing Yahoo to grab prime internet real estate like Tumblr. It’s safe to say that without Alibaba, Yahoo would be a dead and gone company. Jack Ma saved Yahoo’s ass.
Et tu Microsoft?
And finally, possibly the most tenuous but telling ass saving from Asia is Microsoft’s. If you haven’t read already, Microsoft is hunting for a new CEO. Currently, the leading candidate is Satya Nadella, current head of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise sectors. And yes, as the name indicates, he’s an Indian. Nadella was born in Hyderabad, India. He stayed there long enough to get a bachelor’s degree, no less. And in other news, Sundar Pichai is also another candidate for CEO. Yes, that’s right. That’s the senior vice president at Google, and current king of Android. He also got his Bachelor’s in India, before then moving to the US and getting a Masters and going down a promising career path into one of America’s most important technology companies. These two Indians are the two biggest candidates to turn Microsoft around as Windows 8 disappoints and Windows Phone grows slowly.
Asia is inextricably tied to America’s technology growth
These are just five of the most significant impacts that Asia is having on America’s most public and influential internet companies as of late. I haven’t even started getting into how Twitter’s most active city is Jakarta and how Asian-born engineers make up to 21 percent of the Silicon Valley workforce. Or how Hugo Barra, Google’s former Android VP, defected to Xiaomi, one of China’s leading smartphone players (valued higher than Nokia). No, I don’t even need to get into that stuff. It’s pretty clear from the five examples that Asia is now holding up Silicon Valley. But has SIlicon Valley woken up to this fact?
(Editing by Steven Millward)