From early 2007 to March 2011, TechNode was just a little personal blog where I wrote about tech news and startups as a hobby. TechNode as a company has grown from a blog to a fully-fledged part of the media, but it hasn’t been a short and easy journey. As it enters its fifth year, the Year of the Sheep, I’d likee to say some words:
TechNode has changed
In four years, TechNode has been through many changes. Starting as one man’s hobby, it grew to an 8-person team, then for quite a while had only 4 full-time staff, but now we have 17 full-time staff. TechNode is building a media platform for startups, but it’s also a startup itself, which has been a happy if not painless journey. Bring part of the tech media in China (where people and the industry still don’t really respect copyright) is not easy, but we have survived and made our voice known not only throughout the Chinese startup ecosystem but also globally, in USA, Israel, Korea, and Japan for example. If you want to gain insights into Chinese tech space, TechNode is always an unmissable resource. Unlike other English media are reporting about China’s tech market, we are really in the local market and have direct, close connections with investors, startups and entrepreneurs. And now we have also started covering Korean startups.
I still remember that early in TechNode’s history, when we organized events for around 100 people, but now we can manage big events, like the TechCrunch Beijing we did last August, which had around 5000 attendees. XFounder Club, a young but promising community we are building for talented startup founders, has gathered around 500 startup founders and investors. In early 2014, with a partner, we launched our first co-working space, theNode in 751DPark, 798 Art Zone, Beijing. It has 3000 square meters of floor space and has attracted around 30 startups there. Today many of these startups have received investment from angel rounds, A rounds and even B rounds. The co-working space itself is already profitable.
The market has changed
I used to think there was no way we could be as influential as tech media like TechCrunch, simply because before 2011, the market was dominated by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, who always wanted to kill off startups. At that time, there were not much space in the market for startups; there was no mobile internet and many shanzhai phones.
Now, many resources, from the government and venture capital to universities have become supportive of startups. Mobile internet is already familiar, as everything is about mobile nowadays. Online-2-Offline, On-Demand services, and IoT are the hottest keywords now. Beijing is still the center of the startup ecosystem in China, but we see blooming startup communities in Hangzhou (because of Alibaba) and Shenzhen (the heaven of hardware). There are still lots of startups following the Copy-2-China (C2C) model, but we have seen amazing innovation on the business side, of which WeChat may be best example.
The media industry has changed – but not much
Thanks to the booming startup culture in China, we have also have a booming so-called tech media in China right now: probably too many. If we forget the copyright issue (I know we shouldn’t, but…), more tech media in the market is a good thing, at least for the startups.
The Year of the Sheep – where will TechNode go?
How to judge a member of the media – by web traffic, its influence, the loyalty of its readership, the offline community it manages, the size of the events it holds, the revenue it generates, or by its impact on the industry on which it focuses?
In 2014, we’ve seen lots of early startups we’ve written about getting funding, raising millions, and growing fast – not only in China but also globally. Startups will remain our most important focus, even though most of their stories does not generate much traffic and revenue. In January, we launched our first app, Startup Daily, which has one simple function: introducing one startup a day (in Chinese). And this is just a beginning, In 2015, we do everything for startups, from delivering great, unique content online to operating co-working spaces for startups across the country.
If you are passionate about startups, we are looking for more writers, business developers and a community manager. Please email: job AT technode.com. As a startup, TechNode will push you!
Finally, but most importantly: at the beginning of the Year of the Sheep, and on behalf of all at Technode, thank you all so much for supporting us all the way!
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)