Business / Technology

Dreaming of the next big thing

By Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2015-08-31 08:06

Dreaming of the next big thing

Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai tempt the brightest and the best in the world of high-tech startups

It is a tale of three cities. During the past three years, Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai have become Chinese centers of innovation.

Tens of thousands of budding tech-savvy entrepreneurs have poured into the big three cities with dreams of changing China's economic future.

"Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are the most economically dynamic regions in China," Zhao Guodong, secretary of Zhongguancun Cloud Computing Industry Alliance, an industry body, said. "They edge other places in attracting the most ambitious and forward-looking entrepreneurs.

"The technology resources of these cities, and the talent pool, are also the best across the country," he added. "These are the successful ingredients for every startup."

Each city has a unique place in the high-tech entrepreneurial mix-feeding off each other when it comes to innovative startups.

Beijing, for example, is awash with angel investors, hedge funds and venture capital firms that have helped fuel the breakneck growth in online and technology-based businesses.

Zhao Yong returned to Beijing from the United States two years ago to set up DeepGlint, which has up to 100 employees. The former Google Inc engineer, who was part of the team that developed Google Glass in Silicon Valley, is busy working on a three-dimensional visual recognition system. "It basically allows computers to see the world," Zhao said. "The sort of device which could be used in driverless cars or security systems."

After spending more than a decade working for an array of technology giants such as Nvidia Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and Google in the US, he has had to learn quickly about nurturing a startup here. "It has been a challenge," he said. "But the business potential in China is bigger than anywhere else and the demands are therefore different from the rest of the world, such as culture and the way of doing business.

"After saying that, Beijing is a special place where the West meets the East. That is why I decided to start a business in this city," he added.

It also has Zhongguancun Science Park, which is commonly referred to as China's Silicon Valley, with nearly 20,000 tech companies. According to data from the park, Beijing creates more than 120,000 startups every six months.

Funding is one of the major reasons behind this boom.

AngelCrunch, an online platform helping startups attract investors, was able to raise more than 920 million yuan ($143 million) for technology projects in the first half of this year.

"The number of companies searching for angel funding, or the first-round of investment, jumped by 178 percent to 92 in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2014," Lan Ningyu, founder and CEO of AngelCrunch, said.

Startups specializing in consumer gadgets and mobile apps dominate the marketplace for investment.

But according to Zhao, of Zhongguancun Cloud Computing, financing was just part of the blend that has made Beijing so attractive for fledgling firms.

"The capital has deep technology resources that have grown during the past few years," he added. "It has a lot going for it."

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks