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Chinese entrepreneurs look to tap Web growth

Updated: 2013-08-19 10:01
( Xinhua)

Chinese entrepreneurs look to tap Web growth

A woman asks questions on cloud computing products at the China Internet Conference on Aug 13, 2013 in Beijing.[Yu Xi / Asianewsphoto]

BEIJING -- "Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy. And Elon Musk." When asked who he admired, Wang Dechao gave two names that were probably on the mind of everyone else sitting with him at an Internet startup forum during the 2013 China Internet Conference (CIC).

Wearing T-shirt and shorts and fiddling with his tablet and smart phone while listening to a speaker sharing an innovation idea, 25-year-old Wang looked more like a college geek than what his name card showed: chief executive officer (CEO) of an online shopping guide website in the making.

Looking to Silicon Valley big names like Zuckerberg and Musk for inspiration, aspiring entrepreneurs like Wang are eager to carve out their own niche in China's burgeoning Internet industry.

Wang was among some 1,600 participants of the forum, one of the most popular during the three-day China Internet Conference which concluded on Thursday. Many of them, like himself, came to get acquainted with investors and seek inspiration or cooperation.

Wang quit his previous job in another Internet startup earlier this year and started working on his website with a friend, against the wishes of his parents, who would have preferred him to work in a government institution or a State-owned company.

"They have changed their mind and are supporting me now as I'm getting my website together. At the bottom of their hearts, parents want to see their children go out and make a difference," said Wang.

In a report released on Thursday,, a technology information website for Internet entrepreneurs, said it found 1,378 new Internet startups in China in the second quarter of this year, the majority of them are in the areas of e-commerce, mobile apps, consumption guide, social networks and online tools.

Entrepreneurs of today are lured by ballooning opportunities in fast moving mobile Internet in China and an increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the sector.

About 464 million Chinese had access to the Internet via mobile phones by the end of June, according to China Internet Network Information Center. That's more than the population of the United States and the United Kingdom combined and represents a 10.5 percent growth from half a year before.

Those numbers may open up new ground for Tao Wei, CEO of an emerging cashback website for online shoppers of overseas goods. His company launched a mobile application about two weeks ago.

"The mobile Internet is the big thing now. There are a lot of opportunities out there," said Tao, once a software engineer at a Chinese telecom giant before joining a startup team to pursue his interest in what he describes as "buying and selling things."

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi Technology Co, a maker of android-based handsets, said China's mobile Internet business is just two or three years into a growth phase of at least 10 years.

Promising areas of investment include social network sites catering to specialized needs and web-based entertainment services, said Zhang Chaoyang, chairman and CEO of, a major Internet media company in China.

Increasingly active M&As by industry heavyweights also offer fresh hopes for startups. Small innovators once had to struggle for opportunities to go public, or saw their revenues eaten away by larger rivals who could roll out similar products.

"Acquisitions are very common in the US Internet industry, but they only became more frequent recently in our country, which is good for the health of the industry," said Tao.

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