Wu Jun, a former Google executive who once led Tencent’s effort in developing its own search engine, caused much controversy in China over the last two days.

He publicly mentioned that Tencent DID NOT have the DNA to do any B2B business.

In the same view, he also attacked Google, and labelled Baidu as ‘zombified’ and totally ‘hopeless’. However, many commentators have jumped on his point about Tencent and a bit of debate ensued.

Detractors find all the reasons in attempts to prove that the ‘DNA’ theory is utter nonsense. Many even questioned the titles Wu ever held at Tencent or Google, suggesting he might have exaggerated his own achievements. Supporters are listing facts or Tencent’s multiple failures in launching or sustaining B2B businesses.

Many ‘balanced’ articles are arguing that the DNA theory should be attributed to management guru Noel Tichy, although when you Google search “Noel Tichy DNA” you will only find Chinese language results (sounds familiar isn’t it).

The truth is, the decision-making process of business customers differs greatly from that of consumers. For any business that functions exceptionally well towards consumers, it is difficult for the same teams to be equally good at selling to business users at the same time.

That is more of organisational priorities and resource-management issue, rather than a fatalistic ‘DNA’ problem. Many B2B businesses have also successfully built B2C components (think Alibaba) and vice versa.

It is difficult for the same reason it is difficult for companies to expand overseas, but it can be done.

For us, that debate in China is pretty meaningless.


Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].