China’s inevitable role in pushing the frontier of innovation

The reality is that the world has always been more complex and interdependent than we would like to admit. The current negative trends and national emotions are probably a result of the disappointment of the large group of common middle class citizens in the lack of tangible positive rewards of a global economy. In my opinion, as a business school professor, the answer should probably be in an increasingly important role for entrepreneurs in shaping the future and making changes not only in the economy but also in the society. Entrepreneurs are the real change makers and social entrepreneurs may be able to mobilize key stakeholders, including governments and citizens, most effectively. China, as one of the largest stakeholders in the world economy and society, will inevitably play a large role in this process. And, China has proven in the past years to be a supporter of entrepreneurship and innovation; China’s economic power is mostly driven by entrepreneurs.

Read More: China Daily

Five reasons why foreign entrepreneurs start a business in China

I think it is very good. Firstly, the support of the Chinese government is rather extensive, from incubators to subsidies, and a lot of supportive measures to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation. However, there is much more that makes China a great place for entrepreneurs, including foreign entrepreneurs.

Secondly, the wide availability of money in the market, especially venture capital and private equity. In particular, Chinese private risk capital has started to mature and professionalize in the last five years.

Thirdly, the Chinese (consumer) market is large and growing. This means that entrepreneurs have possibilities to scale their business. It is a very particular advantage that the Chinese market has; business has room to grow more than in many other countries.

Fourthly, the policy and regulation is still changing and upgrading, which may mean new opportunities. Industries like internet finance, digital health and cross border e-commerce, are not fully regulated yet. So it is a good living laboratory for entrepreneurs to try out their business ideas. At the same time, when businesses grow up and industries mature, a better regulated environment in terms of consistency and clarity is desired.

Lastly, China’s environment for entrepreneurship is quite facilitative of building business ecosystems and external partnerships with stakeholders. It is relatively easy for entrepreneurs to find other partners, resources and investors; especially in cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

Read More: China Daily

Rise of Chinese change-makers

In August 2016 Chinese taxi hailing platform Didi Chuxing acquired Uber China after closing several investments with Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent (BAT), Apple, Foxconn and China Investment Corp. These impressive investments totalled US$1 billion, with the market valuation reaching US$35 billion. Didi Chuxing now lays claim to 300 million users, 10 million orders per day and 14 million drivers in over 400 Chinese cities. Founder Cheng Wei is only 33 years old and joins a long list of young Chinese changemakers that are disrupting Chinese markets.

Read More: East Asia Forum

Can China’s Internet celebrities run successful businesses?

After a record year of fund raising in 2015, the euphoria may be ebbing for China’s venture capital firms. Luo Yonghao had a vision when he founded Smartisan in 2012: China was ripe for a home-made smartphone that was so beautifully and artistically crafted that it could rival Apple Inc’s iPhones and Samsung Electronic Co.’s Galaxy. Four years later, and after burning through 300 million yuan of investors’ funds, the reality hasn’t quite lived up to the vision for the former English teacher and Internet celebrity, who has no manufacturing experience.  Can Internet celebrities run successful businesses?

Read More: South China Morning Post

China swaps sweatshops for smart tech in bid to reclaim lost ground

Manufacturers also acquiring established brands overseas in push to move up the value chain. A young woman walks into a booth and removes her outerwear. Six seconds later, a software programme linked to a scanner that plots 600 points displays her bust, waist and hip measurements on a computer screen. The scenario, played out at a factory run by Hong Kong company High Fashion Garments in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is the new face of “made in China”, where smart, small-batch production is replacing the old sweatshop approach of bulk manufacturing.

Read More: South China Morning Post