World / Reporter's Journal

Chinese startups hear and follow advice from Yahoo's Yang

By Chang Jun (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-01-13 12:02

In a recent interview with China Daily, Jerry Yang, the founder and former CEO of search engine giant Yahoo, said Chinese entrepreneurs who want to start new ventures should "focus on a large market opportunity. Furthermore, really recruit the best talent possible. Lastly, look for strong, defensible differentiation: either through deep technology, or time to market, or tremendous ease-of-use."

It seems that most Chinese entrepreneurs not only have heard his advice, but have applied it in their operations in China and the world market. An example is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest annual consumer electronics event in the world, which just concluded last week in Las Vegas. Chinese enterprises represented one-fourth of the 3,600 exhibitors displaying the coolest gadgets occupying some of the 2.2 million square feet of exhibition halls.

Chinese startups hear and follow advice from Yahoo's YangAll major Chinese high-tech companies, such as Hisense, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, TCL and Alibaba, showcased their innovative products and services. More and more tech startups in China also come to the Las Vegas show with their "cool" products to attract international buyers and industry attention.

Chinese companies as a whole have grown quickly in both innovation and applications in the past decade, said Frank Shi. He's the founder and CEO of Shenzhen Tongguan Technology, developer of the world's first 4G IP camera powered by Qualcomm snapdragon SOC chipset, with many unique features to meet market requirements.

"I launched this product in last December at Beijing's Security Show with much positive feedback," said Shi, adding that he was teaming up with Qualcomm at CES this year. "Big names of Chinese companies, such as Alibaba, Huawei, ZTE, TCL bring some of the most advanced concepts, equally as good as US big names. The CES is a world of Chinese companies," he said.

"The whole world can see and feel that Shenzhen is the world's manufacturing base of the high-tech ecosystem. Although some of the small Shenzhen companies are still nicknames for cheap products, the image is changing now," Shi said, adding that Shenzhen does provide the world some of the most advanced and coolest gadgets, such as go-pro like sport DV, Robot helicopters.

For Shenzhen-based ORBBEC, an angel-funded startup specializing in chip design, optics, machine learning, user experience design and user interaction, it is aiming to acquire world-class talent to expedite the company's business expansion.

"We've realized long before that the quality of talent will make or break our business," said Howard Huang, founder and CEO. "That's why we never withhold our budget on hiring the best and brightest." The most recent hire on their payroll was Joshua Blake, a world renowned machine-learning expert who will take charge of research at the company's US branches.

Always in the shadow of such giants as Microsoft, Apple, Intel and Google since its formation, ORBBEC seeks to provide similar resolutions of 3-D chips to those of Apple's but at a lower cost and on a cross platforms (Windows/Android/Linux). "Although we started our business relatively late compared to our US counterparts, we are catching up in terms of product quality and affordability," said Huang, who spent 10 years working at MIT's research lab with renowned scientists.

Many high-tech companies had approached their booth at the CES, and showed interest in their products that can be widely applied into interactive displays, smart TVs, gaming, SD scanning, smart home automation, smart conference room and Internet of Things (IoT), Huang added.

US technology experience is a must-have for high-tech returnees, said Shi. Just by copying the US business model would not work in today's Chinese and/or world market.

China has a big market, very good engineer work force, low operational costs, government support and the cycle from research findings to application is short, said Huang, adding those are good reasons for Chinese entrepreneurs to think about returning and starting their own business. However, entrepreneurship is a very hard road. In reality, you might encounter three times more difficulty than what you've expected, Shi warned.

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