Calvin is particularly passionate about transforming China into an innovative powerhouse that can unleash its entrepreneurial talent. Calvin shares his views on how China can harness this talent and notes the apparent differences between the US and China start-up environment.

Fail Fast, Grow Faster

I think one key challenge for China is around innovation and appetite for risk, to develop not just risk-tolerance but actual real acceptance for failure. To get to real innovation we need smart, capable people to be comfortable with risk but unfortunately it’s made long standing economic sense for smart, talented people to take safe corporate jobs. Social pressure also plays a part in the Chinese market, if you fail in your start-up; it would have a measurable cost to your career development that it would not have in the US. In Silicon Valley, if you were to apply for a job at Google or Facebook and said you spent the last 12 months on a failed Y-Combinator start-up, it is actually to your credit. But in China, if you were to apply to a large corporation, it would be to your detriment, so one key issue is not only getting potential innovators comfortable with risk and real failure, but fostering an entire corporate culture that is open to taking chances.

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Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.