For years, US companies such as Oracle and IBM have invested heavily in building industry-leading databases for new markets in China. But now when the tension in US-China trade is escalating, an emerging Chinese startup has moved forward and won over the tech giants on enterprise software.
So far, PingCAP has more than 300 Chinese customers. Many big-name startups, such as Meituan, the food transport giant, the Mobike bike sharing service, the video streaming site iQIYI and Xiaomi smartphone maker, are all leaving services of IBM and Oracle to switch to PingCAP.
PingCAP's prestige increased as the United States cut its technology relationship with Huawei, raising fears from major domestic companies about the safety of foreign products. This will be a serious threat as Chinese companies modernize systems in many industries, from finance, manufacturing to health care by connecting them to the internet.
Alternative B of Chinese people to replace foreign firms
Co-founder and CTO of PingCAP, Huang Dongxu said: "Many companies that used Oracle and IBM thought that replacing them was a long journey, they never thought it would happen tomorrow. But now they are looking for Alternative B seriously. "
These customers use PingCAP to manage databases and improve work efficiency, allowing them to store and locate different types of data, from bank transactions to their locations. personal delivery of food. This is the market area dominated by companies like IBM and Oracle. This market is expected to grow 8% annually to 63 billion USD globally by 2022.
Revenue for big data solutions in China could increase to 86 billion Yuan (about 12.5 billion USD) by 2023.
This startup is one of a number of emerging companies in the field of providing open source databases, such as PostgreSQL and SQLite. Research firm Gartner predicts that 70% of new, self-developed applications globally will be developed on open source database management systems by 2022. IBM currently has more than 20% of its revenue coming. from Asian markets, while Oracle also has 16% of revenue from this region.
PingCAP was founded from three former programmers – Huang, Liu Qi and Cui Qiu – of a mobile application company, acquired by Alibaba. Inspired by Google's Cloud Spanner, who pioneered a distributed database model, the trio began creating an open source database management system that could allow companies to Infinitely expand the ability to store data by simplifying the ability to connect to more servers than existing solutions.
PingCAP's founding trio.
Their idea has attracted the attention of investors and venture capital funds, including Matrix Partners China, agreeing to invest about 10 billion Yuan (about $ 1.4 million) in 2015. .
Persevering for a long journey
However, the short-term journey of PingCAP is still very long and arduous. The market where PingCAP participates is a fierce competition – based on DB-Engines rankings, their TiDB database currently ranks only 121th compared to other global competitors. Other open source database managers such as PostgreSQL currently rank fourth and PingCAP's rival, CockroachDB, is currently 30 ranks above them.
Not only that this is a very difficult market to make money – PingCAP has only a few dozen paying customers in China and revenue of about 10 million yuan per year. However, they still expect that success with these first customers will be spread when there are more customers and bring more sustainable revenue for them.
That's why Huang cooperates with big names like Bank of Beijing or Mobike – they can create patterns for each area they're leading. "Only one thing is certain, data will continue to explode. We have the patience to wait before they envision the best revenue model. "
PingCAP has a reason to believe in that. Chinese customers are increasingly willing to test technology. Data supplied from 2,000 companies show that – more than 300 companies are operating with users, and about 1,500 companies are testing their systems – this will bring great prospects for PingCAP in the future.
Yu Zhenhua, IT director at Bank of Beijing, said China is constantly making efforts to improve information security while his industry wants to lower costs while expanding rapidly. "TiDB's service meets what we want in a distributed database management system. "
In the long term PingCAP wants to reach out to China, but geopolitical obstacles can turn it into a difficult challenge. Earlier this year, PingCAP was ready to expand into the US market and said it was discussing with some potential technology startups to use their software. But now with the current trade tension, this prospect is becoming blind.