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Amazon launches innovation center in Qingdao

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao | | Updated: 2017-03-31 16:56

Amazon's cloud-computing arm has launched its first global joint innovation center in Qingdao, Shandong province.

The Qingdao-Amazon Web Service Joint Innovation Center will provide cloud-computing services to global startups, according to Rong Yongkang, AWS global vice-president and AWS China executive director.

"In the next five years, the center will work with the Qingdao government to support 750 innovation firms," he said, adding that it will also fuel the city's innovation and development.

The new center will also work with the Qingdao government to set up a cloud-computing innovation institute to train professionals, Rong said.

Located in the Licang district of downtown Qingdao, the center will be jointly operated by AWS, the Licang district government and local company Vancoo Commerce, which has raised 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) in funding to help startup high-tech companies in the fields of cloud-computing, big data and the internet of things.

Cui Lei, vice-president of Vancoo Commerce, said: "We will partner with leading companies from home and abroad and leverage tech-driven ideas to help local enterprises upgrade their structure and go global."

The company also plans to cooperate with the Licang district government to launch a 1 billion yuan fund that will support the Amazon center's innovation services.

Steven Hoffman, CEO of United States-based business incubator Founders Space, said the new center may help Chinese entrepreneurs change their minds about innovation.

With many years of experience working with Chinese entrepreneurs, he said "their weakness is that they always go after the obvious goal. When they see something working, everybody goes and rushes - very few of them take a different path to discover something different".

"However, if China wants to be the true global leader in innovation, more entrepreneurs should take a harder path and pursue a brand-new idea even if they don't know where they are going," he added.

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