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Data science can be defined as “data classification, regression, and similarity matching underpins many of the fundamental algorithms in data science to solve business problems like consumer response prediction and product recommendation”. China’s large population makes it particularly well suited for data science. As the digitisation of the economy across a wide range of industries continues, the need for and opportunities related to data science continue to grow. There are many opportunities to be exploited in the Chinese economy for data scientists, and the demand for data scientists is great. With respect to the data science market in China, it is important to be aware of who the key players are, and what effect data science is likely to have on the Chinese economy and the businesses operating therein.
Although data science has been applied to solve business problems for a relatively long time, its popularity has accelerated rapidly in recent years. Businesses all over the world are screaming for data scientists, possessing skillsets related to everything from operations research to Big Data, the latter of which has grown immensely popular recently and is projected to have a significant influence on how business is done.
Data Science in China: Key Players
BAT – Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are the key players with respect to data science in China, as they possess the most information on consumers. Moreover, they are all investing heavily in Big Data, which is using data science to gather information and perform analyses which are too complex to be performed by using traditional methods. For instance, Baidu (in Chinese百度一下) announced that Andrew Ng (deep learning and general machine learning guru of Stanford, Google, and Coursera) has joined its artificial intelligence lab, which he will head and implement some truly visionary Big Data projects. Alibaba (in chinese: 阿里巴巴) is currently demanding Big Data scientists as well to implement its visions. Moreover, the Alibaba Taobao Data Mining Team, which operates on the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, is collecting hundreds of petabytes of data and is using Apache Spark to analyse these enormous sets of data. Through these analyses, they are able to predict and understand consumer purchasing habits.
Data science is not only being applied in the private sector in China but in the public sector as well. For instance, Alibaba’s cloud computing and analytics framework are being applied as the backbone of the Chinese government’s Smart Cities initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to improve the delivery of civic services in urban areas to cope with growing populations, using Internet of Things connected technology.
Data science in China and its economy
Data science is being applied to enhance the efficiency of the production of various products and services in both the public and private sectors. The Chinese financial industry is adapting to a Big Data-driven business model. This is in large part due to legislation changes in 2013 with respect to the use of customer data, which caused a boom in the use of Big Data analytics by banks, investment funds, and insurance company. However, the Chinese government also uses Big Data analysis to crack down on such fraudulent activity as insider trading.
Machine learning is another element of data science that has grown immensely in popularity in recent years. Machine learning is based on algorithms that can learn from data without having to rely on rule-based programming techniques. Hence machine learning has the potential to have a large impact on the efficiency of data analysis, as it allows data scientists to stop building finished models, and instead train computers to do it for them.
Machine learning researchers in China has boomed. This can be seen by the ever-increasing number of machine-learning conferences (cf. Chinese Conference on Machine Learning, the annual Chinese Workshop on Machine Learning and Applications etc.) and journals, as well as successful applications of machine learning techniques in major Chinese high-tech companies such as Huawei and BAT. A recent and successful application of machine learning techniques can be seen in Didi, which processes over 11 million trips, plans over 9 billion routes, and collects over 50TB of data per day. Machine learning lies at the very core of Didi, and its competitiveness and growth stem from a continual improvement of its core algorithms, which are used to forecast supply and demand for transport.
In conclusion, it is apparent that data science is transforming the Chinese economy, offering opportunities for businesses dedicated to data science service to create value for a wide range of customers in different industries.
Understanding the Big Data in China
Having a better handle on Big Data in China will greatly help you with:
- Target audience tracking – What is your target audience doing online?
- Customer journey evaluation – Do you understand the customer journey and the impact it has on sales?
- Digital spend tracking – Have you created the adequate strategy to achieve maximum penetration?
- Online sentiment and opinion analysis – How is your product perceived online and can you change it?
- Content analysis – Is your campaign captivating and resulting in sales?
- Competitive analysis – Are you competing effectively against competitors?
- Category benchmarking – Is tour product succeeding compared to those of competitors?
- Market entry analysis – Are there new market opportunities?
All of these problematics can be easily understood and used in China, thanks to social networks like WeChat and QQ, who allow companies to obtain and analyze reliable data, and allow you to have a better understanding of your Chinese market.
Data Science and Daxue Consulting: Customer Profile & Segmentation
One of Daxue Consulting’s clients wanted to develop a personalised marketing campaign in China. They asked Daxue Consulting to outline a clear customer segmentation of their industry in order to allocate resources appropriately and extract the maximum value from targeting specific customers. Daxue Consulting’s experts used advanced clustering segmentation techniques and demographic segmentation data to conduct the market research. It unveiled meaningful information that highlighted the customer’s needs, motivation to purchase, demographics and social profiles.
Daxue Consulting has provided a complete customer profile that will help predict future behaviour from a 360° customer view. The final report helped the client to tailor its marketing strategies in China to match the needs of each segment of its brand.
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