Corresponding Author

Guoyou Zhang

Document Type



Throughout the development of China’s Internet industry for more than 20 years, we can tease out three stages that can represent the trend of the times: the first stage can be called "the Portal Era" with the entire Internet industry dominated by portal websites. However, with several major portals ’transitions after being unable to maintain effective operation of their profit model, the Portal Era came to an end. The second stage we call "Social Network Era", represented by Sina Mircroblog and WeChat. The former had successful transitions after several ups and downs and the latter is trending and promising. Also vigorously developing are various social websites and mobile apps. In the midst of the laughter of those entrepreneurs, the industry came to a third stage of development: The Era of E-business. These three stages did not appear one after another in chronological order. Social networks and e-business platforms in fact exist simultaneously with two groups of people hitting on different roads that lead to the same destination. Social networks and business platforms are now already inescapably intertwined with each other: social networks attract traffic for e-business platforms while e-business platforms provide profit in return. What is more, big Internet giants aim to create a "theme park" magnificently situated in the internet world to provide one-stop services like portal browsing, e-business, third party payment, social networking and entertainment. At the same time, social network leaders also gradually provided e-commerce .and the third party payment service without willing to pave way for others. Longer ago, with the smart phones sweeping the world, the mobile internet era approached quietly while online and offline businesses increasingly converged. Therefore, we have reasons to believe that the next important stage of Internet development will be named as the era of multi-functional integrated Internet platforms.