Imagine that in a big feast, Tencent Holdings is lobster, Meituan Dianping is thick soup and JD.com is snow beef.
That was the menu of the mainland internet giants – with the exception of one – at the World Internet Conference, or Wuzhen Summit, last Sunday.
The dinner, at a forum billed as a gathering of the strongest among the eastern sphere of the internet world, was co-hosted by JD.com and Meituan with a dozen of other guests who are closely related to Tencent through equity investments.
With a full table of Chinese cuisine, the hosts named each dish after the companies participating, as if they were sponsoring the plate.
Tencent, which started from the instant messaging system QQ (and has the penguin as its mascot), was given the first plate of lobster, which literally means it is the dragon head, or leader.
That was followed by Meituan’s thick soup and JD’s snow beef. Guests were then served Xiaomi’s abalone, Hillhouse Capital’s Dongpo pork and Legend Holdings’ crab. The banquet was completed by a pot named “win-win”.
The banquet menu was released on social media via the weibo account of Xiaomi chairman Lei Jun.
The dinner was co-hosted by JD (e-commerce) chairman Richard Liu and Meituan’s (food review) Wang Xing.
It was attended by Tencent (game) chairman Ma Huateng, Xiaomi (electronics manufacturer) chairman Lei Juan, Jinri Toutiao (news) chairman Zhang Yiming, Didi Chuxing (hired car) chairman Cheng Wei, Kuai chairman Shou Suhua, Legend Group (computer) chairman Yang Yuanqing, Mobike (bicycle) chairman Wang Xiaofeng, Group 58 (classified) chairman Yao Jinbo, Zhifu (tutoring) chairman Zhou Yuan, along with three venture capitalists – Hillhouse Capital chairman Zhang Lei, Global Executive Partner of Sequoia Capital Shen Nanpeng and GSR Ventures managing director Zhu Xiaohu.
The same executives attended an earlier dinner hosted by Netease chairman William Ding (who also invited Baidu’s Robin Li) before the second dinner at 8pm started.
But, wait a minute: Where is Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma?
According to Sina and Sohu (both owned by Alibaba), Ma also hosted a dinner. No guest was mentioned except Legend chairman Yang Yuanqing.
For a change, Alibaba has turned low-key while Tencent has become increasingly more high profile.