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Start-up hub opens office in Shanghai

By Cecily Liu in London | | Updated: 2017-10-26 22:57

London-based start-up hub Global Tech Advocates has opened a subsidiary in Shanghai with the aim of connecting China's new enterprises with international investors, partners, and suppliers, the parent company announced on Thursday.

Russ Shaw, founder of Global Tech Advocates, said he believes the Shanghai base could soon recruit a few hundred Chinese start-up members.

Founded in 2013, Global Tech Advocates has around 6,000 member companies globally. It has directly facilitated investments of hundreds of thousands of pounds into start-up companies in London.

The Shanghai subsidiary's launch was attended by around 500 industry and government representatives, including people from multinational corporates, such as SoftBank, and government bodies, such as the United Kingdom's Department for International Trade.

"China is set to overtake Silicon Valley and become the world's leading tech superpower in the next five years," Shaw said. "But, in order for the ecosystem to make the most of its investment, talent, and market size, it will require support networks for the entrepreneurs, start-ups, and scale-ups driving growth."

Global Tech Advocates' initiative is the latest trend in which start-up incubators and accelerators have been connecting Chinese start-ups with international resources.

The Chinese big data company BBD established an accelerator in London this summer, which now partners with around 10 British and Chinese companies, assisting them in expanding into each other’s markets.

Other earlier China-focused accelerators have already achieved success. Canary Wharf-based Silk Ventures, which was established in 2015, reached breakeven in its first year of operation and has 20 member companies.

Global Tech Advocates is funded through corporate sponsorships, rather than membership fees. Its sponsors include the City of London Corporation, information technology company Hewlett-Packard, the law firm Penningtons Manches LLP, and China Science & Merchants Investment Fund, which is a Beijing-based private investment company. Most sponsors are keen to look for partners from within the start-up sector.

In addition to working with investors, Shaw and his colleagues also work with government-sector representatives, to create investor-friendly policies and improve innovative cities’ global connectivity.

"We hope to do the same in China, to help the government sector assist Chinese start-ups to grow and connect with international resources," he said.

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