When I participated the Paris Le Web conference back in 2006, I was really excited about a China-themed panel called the The Dragon’s Web, dedicated to China’s internet landscape. However I was disappointed to find the whole conversation was completely focussed on the firewall and China’s copycat culture. In the past decade, the middle kingdom has undergone dramatic changes, and so has the internet ecosystem both here and abroad. So what can we expect from the ‘Dragon’s Web’ in 2015?
We still have to face the frustrating fact that the compact culture here in China is still running rampant. It will continue to be a malign feature of China’s internet scene, especially when it comes to technology innovation. But we can also acknowledge that Chinese companies are making great breakthroughs in terms of business model innovation. WeChat’s transformation from an instant messaging tool to an all-inclusive service is one of many tributes to that innovation. Many new business models with unique Chinese elements are emerging, including trends in Online-to-Offline (O2O) and Internet Plus, a government policy bringing traditional industries online. Although, these concepts might sound confusing for foreign investors at first, they have a huge number of applications in the country. China’s internet market is massive, but its traditional market is larger and urgently needs reform. That’s why online education and online finance are becoming buzzwords in China.
In Shenzhen, the hardware Silicon Valley, we see hopes of a “hardware renaissance” in China in the coming years. The emergence of a slew of promising fields including Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, wearables, smart homes and virtual reality are bringing new hopes to China’s tech market thanks to their inseparable connections with hardware.
Traditional manufacturers such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo used to represent the major powerhouses of China’s tech companies in exploring overseas markets. But now, China’s startups are tapping foreign consumers with confidence and ambition. Xiaomi, DJI, LeTV and OnePlus are snapping up overseas sales, while more domestic companies are catching up including Cheetah Mobile, CamCard, Kingsoft, Camera 360 and APUS to name only a few. Moreover, gaming companies are winning in a big way in the U.S. and Southeast Asian markets.
The Dragon’s Web has thoroughly remolded itself. However, in this era of mass entrepreneurship and innovation, it is crucial for us to notice that spoon-feeding entrepreneurship can harm innovation. We need to stay clearheaded about our advantages and weakness, as well as what is in our future?
We are really excited about the upcoming TechCrunch Beijing summit on Nov. 2-3, where we can illustrate to you the best of The Dragon’s Web in 2015. Here, you will not only meet Chinese startups representing China’s innovation spirit while covering the red-hot sectors of O2O, fintech, hardware and IOT, but also top entrepreneurs and investors from home and abroad. TechCrunch Beijing will be an international carnival for all techies, celebrating entrepreneurial spirit with a main conference hall accommodating 1,000+ attendees, a 200+ startups demo zone, two parallel sessions holding 500+ participants respectively, an O2O marketplace, a new product demo stage, and a VC meet-up session.
In addition, we will hold TechCrunch Hackathon in Beijing for the first time to bring more opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs to prove themselves. TechCrunch’s Startup Competition is also recruiting for contestants now.
As always, welcome to Beijing! We look forward to seeing you this November.