China and Emergence

“Cross the river by feeling the rocks.” —Chinese proverb, to describe how Alibaba and Tencent use hybrid strategies with planned and emergent components


“In a market of rapid technology changes, shifting consumer expectations and regulatory uncertainties, the traditional analyse-plan-execute approach is not good enough. Strategy becomes more dynamic and needs to be constantly tweaked based on new information. Ideas and processes must be tested through experimentation and adjusted to each new reality and opportunity – in other words, through the emergent approach. Especially if you’re going into a market of vastly different culture and social norms.”

“Alibaba has perfected a strategy comprising both planned and emergent components. It identifies unmet consumer needs (such as collateral-free microloans for farmers, individuals and small businesses), collaborates with other service providers like state banks to meet those needs, and does all this while complying with regulations as they emerge.”