Ryan Beltran’s Original Grain watches have a comfortable market niche among the fashion savvy.

The unique pieces are inlaid with cuts from vintage oak barrels and one-of-a-kind wood textures from around the world. They are the kind of watches you might expect to see in Brooklyn coffee shops or a London high street.

Which is why it’s surprising that his journey began somewhere completely different; in 2011 Ryan moved to Guangzhou, one of China’s booming manufacturing hubs, to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. When he first landed in southern China,  he tried his hand at product sourcing from local manufacturers. Not long after, he started longing to create his own brand.

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TechNode Guest Editors represent the best our community has to offer: insight and perspective on how technology is affecting business and culture in China