Riding Wind and Waves: 30 Technology Entrepreneurs in China 2020
In China, a group of entrepreneurs have been applying their ideas using technology. Regardless of age, education, industry, gender and nationality, it is the technology entrepreneurship that binds them together in this dynamic society.
As typically understood, ‘Technology Entrepreneurs’ refers to those entrepreneurs who build businesses based on a sustainable competitive advantage, typically possession of some innovative technology or in order to catch a set of technological opportunities.
EqualOcean identifies technological innovation's significance as the underpinning force behind the economy’s flow and growth. EO also believes that great enterprises will grow in future from today's competitive and promising SMEs (small and medium enterprises).
Why this topic?
A great cause is based on people. No matter how advanced the technology becomes nowadays, people with aspiration, passion and dreams are the key factors that will put all things together to make it happen.
We believe it is important to honor these ambitious entrepreneurs for their innovations, creations and persistence. Besides, we also want to provide a free and open platform for people to share their insights, ideas and experiences, to seek next-level business cooperation and build an interpersonal network.
What do we focus on?
At WIM 2020, at the end of this year, we plan five categories under the big topic 'Technology Entrepreneurs,' specifically as follows:
Young Technology Innovators
Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurs
For each rank mentioned above, we will select 30 entrepreneurs, providing a stage for them to enlighten guests with their 'from Zero to One' business experience in China, and a future online cohort session for all to work together.
Young Technology Innovators
The youth innovators are destined to be the future power in the business world. They are young, vibrant, creative and passionate. Most importantly, they’re brave enough to try to open new chapters in their efforts.
According to the Hurun Report data about the youth innovators, 92% of them are above 25 years old, but there are still 8% talented entrepreneurs under 25. They distinguish themselves in different industries, ranging from advanced technology to communication. They utilize their wisdom and courage to dig out new potentials in diversified markets. Even the young entrepreneurs have difficulties getting the business information and professional guidance; it is still worthy of expecting and believing that there will be more younger generations who will shine and lead China's business world.
Moreover, the government has published plenty of advantages for youth innovators, like providing small security loans and training programs. It is not hard to imagine that more and more college students full of burning ambition would love to try to start businesses with such great policies.
About 80% of Chinese scientists who have gone abroad to study or work in the previous decade have returned home and are now publishing high-impact, collaborative research. It was found that more than 4500 and 2300 Chinese researchers had left the US and Europe, respectively, to return to China in 2017 – roughly double the number seen in 2010. With the COVID-19 situation in foreign countries and the economic growth in China, it can be expected that more scientists and PhDs will come back to the motherland after this year. Concerning the industry for scientific entrepreneurs, more than 90% of them are involved in technology or healthcare industries. And some of them focus on the fintech market, which also needs AI and big data.
As scientific entrepreneurs, they have abundant experience in research and solid knowledge in advanced technology. Therefore, they need to pay more attention to running a business with different people in society.
Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurs
The global revenue of AI industry could reach $26 Bn in 2020, and it is estimated to grow increasingly to about $89.8 Bn. Also, AI has potential incremental value in diversified markets, from transportation to financial services. Therefore, AI is so popular and is determined to change the lifestyles of the world.
A study by Accenture and Frontier Economics expects AI to have a big impact on a country’s gross value added (GVA). It estimates the annual GVA growth rates in 2035 for a baseline state, based on current assumptions regarding economic growth, and for an AI steady state, assuming artificial intelligence is integrated into economic processes. In terms of global AI start-up funding, China ranks well above other countries, including the US. In fact, of the US$15.2 billion invested in AI start-ups globally in 2017, 48% went to Chinese companies, while only 38% went to companies in the US. Accordingly, it would be wise to keep an eye on the AI industry development in China’s market.
There are approximately 252 million women entrepreneurs working in a diversity of industries. This is a great leap from the “9.1 million businesses nationwide” in 2001. And very gladly, this number is still on a growing trend. In China, one of the world-leading emerging markets, the last two decades have witnessed a growing group of businesswomen, with 25.6% of all businesses owned by women in 2019. According to the Mastercard index, the US percentage is 35.1%, 27.9% in the UK and 25.7% in Germany, with the largest 38.2% in Uganda and 37.9% in Ghana.
More than that, women's power has been more on display in the entrepreneurship arena.Crunchbase data shows that the year 2019 saw 21 start-ups founded or co-founded by a female become unicorns – six more than 15 unicorns in 2018, those with over one female founder.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that women entrepreneurs constantly face gender bias, making their successes even more valuable. Confronted with the universal stereotype issue, one 2019 HSBC survey of 1,200 entrepreneurs point out 54% of women in the UK reported to be subjected to bias from investors during raising funds, followed by 46% in the US. The report also stated that women seeking business investment in China experienced the lowest bias (17%) and were expected to be the most successful at securing capital (reach an average of 40% target).
Another BCG analysis concludes women-owned companies are a better bet from an investor perspective. They showed data start-ups founded or co-founded by women tend to raise fewer investments but generate more revenue.
Entrepreneurship is never an easy thing – not even to mention how challenging it can be for foreign actors. However, as China's entrepreneurship wind blows, many foreigners have come to the oriental land and joined this flow.
There are at least over 1 million foreigners starting businesses in China now, with Shanghai accommodating over 215,000 foreign entrepreneurs alone. Compared to other emerging markets, China has been a formidable field for innovation and is crammed with innovators and entrepreneurs from across the planet. Their input has undoubtedly helped China to become one of the leading countries both for new ideas and application of ideas.
For foreigners, the enormous Chinese market is undoubtedly the most attractive point for their motivation to start businesses. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor points it in the newest report that the wholesale and retail sector was the most popular among all the new entrepreneurial activities in 2019, reaching 55% of Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA), followed by manufacturing (6.8%), transportation (2.7%), agriculture (1.7%) and mining (1%). One mainstream for foreigner’s entrepreneurship lies in the cross-border trade and marketing agencies.
On the one hand, China encourages entrepreneurship throughout the country, with seven out of 10 adults perceiving good opportunities. On the other hand, more than half that portion considers it ‘not easy’ to start a business there. Indeed, there are more issues for a foreigner to worry about when realizing their business ambitions in China, including but not limited to legitimacy issues, financing, business localization, language obstacle, cultural shocks and local partnership.
However, the general climate has become more welcome and friendly. Shanghai and many other metropolitan cities have launched pilot policies regarding the foreigner entrepreneurship visa, financing support and business consultations.
We sincerely welcome you to join the World Innovators Meet annual themed conference, WIM2020. This year, the theme is "Technology and Innovation: Connecting the World", and it will be held between 9-11 December, 2020.
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