Sometimes the only way to truly understand a thing is to compare it to something else. Live in the same place for long enough and you’d be forgiven for forgetting that anything significant actually exists outside it. We adapt to our environment, allowing it (some more than others) to shape our thoughts and behaviors. While I’ve lived in China for a little over 10 years, it’s only been in the last 2 to 3 years that I’ve done any significant travel inside or outside the country.

In December 2017, I was invited to Italy to mentor for a China market entry program at HFarm, an accelerator and innovation consultancy. In April, I got the chance to speak at the Russia Internet Conference, an annual government-sponsored conference, in Moscow about the Chinese ecosystem and recent developments in blockchain. More recently, in June, I was invited to TechSauce, a conference held in Bangkok every year, as a moderator. Living in China breeds a certain arrogance about the rest of the world, an arrogance made clearer with each new country I visited.

In each country, I was able to witness a different manifestation of the fundamental ideal that forms the foundation of every tech-driven entrepreneurial environment: we can make the world a better place by creating great businesses. This was especially apparent at TechSauce. I had the pleasure to talk with entrepreneurs testing the limits of what can be done in Thailand and Southeast Asia, from working with regulators to deliver better insurance schemes to microfinance solutions for blue-collar workers who easily find themselves in debt they can’t handle.

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John Artman

John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...