Global investors and entrepreneurs have high hopes in China’s innovation and entrepreneurship as they pour more investment and resources to build up their network in the country.
San Francisco-based HAX Accelerator, one of the world’s largest hardware accelerators, set up an office in Shenzhen in 2011, helping startups from across the world get connected with different kinds of resources and speed up their business.
“We are drastically increasing our investment here in China,” said Garrett Winther, a partner of HAX.
He added: “That’s because we’re seeing entrepreneurs that are really savvy, really clever, working really hard, but also developing technology in an entirely new way. So teams are able to scale up very quickly here, especially for the local Chinese market.”
Every year, HAX invests in around 35 teams – a third of which are from China, another third from the United States and the rest from Europe, India, Australia and other parts of the world.
“We are going to increase the percentage of our investment into Chinese startups to 40 percent this year,” Winther said during an interview with China Daily on the sidelines of Slush, an innovation and entrepreneurship event.
The event, which made its debut in Shenzhen’s Pingshan New Area on Aug 8, attracted more than 200 startups and 100 investment enterprises.
At this time, HAX is focusing on investing in startups in emerging industries such as industrial robotics, the internet of things and healthcare.
“Out of our 35 teams each year, 75 percent are raising between $1 million and $3 million for a seed round and then many of those are going on to grow and scale up,” he said.
Peter Vesterbacka, the founder of Slush who is better known as the person behind the popular mobile phone video game Angry Birds, is exploring new fields to cultivate the next wave of talent in China and internationally.
The Finnish entrepreneur believes the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will provide a sound platform for global entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into reality.
As part of the Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen produces 80 percent of the world’s hardware and electronics.
“That’s why it is super important to be here in Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area,” he said.
Chinese players, meanwhile, are also betting big on the prospect of the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiative.
Pan Hao, founder of Chaihuo Maker Space, the first maker space in Shenzhen, said there are a number of industries that have not been changed by technology and they represent opportunities for entrepreneurs to explore.
He said urban space development and agriculture are the two areas that his company is focusing on.
For example, it is working in Shenzhen with property developers including Vanke to explore the needs that lie in urban space development. It is also cooperating with players in agriculture across the country to help digitalize the traditional industry.