At today’s TechCrunch Shanghai, we had entrepreneurs from Taiwan and Hong Kong discussed startup scene in the two places and how entrepreneurs there can interact with the mainland China market.


Jeff Chang is the VP at strategy and business development of mainland China-based trends media group. Trends media group has funded a bunch of startups focusing on fashion or digital marketing.

As a Taiwanese that has been working in mainland China, he sees big opportunities in the cross-border tech market. Mr. Chang found that Taiwanese startups, however, aren’t willing to start business in the mainland. Reasons include they are not familiar with the market and competitions in the mainland is fierce. On the other hand, he suggested mainland China-based startups take advantage of Taiwanese’s capability in branding and marketing. Taiwan’s creative and cultural industry has been famous.

Tim Shyu is CEO of Wavenet. Wavenet helps startups in the mainland do marketing on Facebook and Twitter for overseas market. He agrees with many that Taiwanese venture capital would invest in big hardware companies but not Internet companies. Few Taiwanese Internet companies has went public. Gradually Internet companies in Taiwan are small companies focusing on niche markets. One reason that Taiwanese Internet companies don’t try hard to grew bigger is they are profitable as users there would like pay for apps. That’s also why some games by Hong Kong-based startups see Taiwan market as their major market.

Kaifu Lee, former head of Google China, seems disappointed with the Taiwan startup scene, saying at a Taiwan event last month that entrepreneurship and innovation in Taiwan are sick, just like him. Taiwan used to be the leader of the four rising powers in Asia. “When the US was talking about hardware companies such as HP and Dell, Taiwan was talking about Hon Hai/Foxconn and TSMC. But when the US entered the times of Google and Facebook, what Taiwanese were talking about were still those mentioned companies”, he said. (report in Chinese)

Hong Kong

Gene Soo, co-founder of Startup HK, decided to do Startup HK with his co-founder as he found it was really hard to do tech startups in Hong Kong after he got back from the US.

Mr. Chang with trends media group found entrepreneurs in Hong Kong either elite or people with rich families backing them. Commenting on that, Lau said Hong Kong is full of talent in finance and business in general. It’s true some of them have little idea on doing tech startups.

It seems things are changing. Now in Hong Kong there are almost 20 co-working spaces for startups all over the city.

As startups in Hong Kong would like to do businesses facing English-language markets, Mr. Chang concluded, to some extent Hong Kong could be a good place for entrepreneurs from mainland China to reach Southeast markets or English-language markets in general.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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