Asia Hardware Battle 2018: Landing in the Silicon Valley of hardware

Shenzhen, a small fishing village along the coast of the South China Sea in 1978, is now one of the world’s top destinations for entrepreneurs, programmers, and engineers. There’s a place called Huaqiangbei Electronics Market in the Central Business District of Shenzhen where hundreds of shops and vendors sell, repair, and modify electronic components and devices every day. Here, one can find and test specific hardware for a prototype or get a cracked phone screen fixed in a matter of minutes.

In short, the rest of the world’s reaction to the rise of Shenzhen could be described in similar sentiment to Silicon Valley veteran Scotty Allen’s upon visiting the southern Chinese city for the first time: “Wow, we are fucked.”

We wanted to experience first-hand the unique, anything-is-possible spirit of this city, so we’re bringing Asia Hardware Battle (AHB) 2018 City Pitching to Shenzhen. On September 14, we will be joined by our partners HAX, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), ParticleX, ABeam Consulting China, WeWork, Indiegogo, and Tsinghua SEM X-elerator in Shenzhen’s Futian District. If you are a hardware startup ready to take on the impossible, find out how you can join us today!

About our partners

HAX is the world’s first and largest hardware accelerator, a two-stage program that starts in Shenzhen and finishes in San Francisco. After providing companies with the resources of the Shenzhen ecosystem and mentorship to successfully build a scalable prototype, HAX helps companies enter the market in San Francisco through training in business development, fundraising, and growth.

CKGSB is China’s first faculty-governed independent business school. With world-leading business scholars who guide the research efforts that have made CKGSB a global expert in China business insights, CKGSB takes an unconventional top-down approach to business education by focusing on the educational needs of C-suite executives looking to develop their companies further.

CKGSB will be sponsoring an exclusive prize for winners in Shenzhen. The Top 3 startups will receive three mentorship sessions from MIT/HKUST/UC Berkeley within six months of winning.

Indiegogo is an international crowdfunding website headquartered in San Francisco. From helping entrepreneurs start a crowdfunding campaign to help them generate early sales in the Indiegogo Marketplace, Indiegogo has helped bring more than 800,000 innovative ideas to life since its founding.

ParticleX is a Hong Kong-based tech startup investor and incubator with a primary focus on leveraging both Hong Kong and Shenzhen resources in business, capital, and manpower. Established with the vision to make Hong Kong and Shenzhen the next top entrepreneurial and tech startup hub globally, ParticleX believes in finding the strength of each respective region by connecting various strategic resources such as innovation, capital, R&D and talents, and fostering collaboration, cross-border business, and academic networking.

WeWork is an American company that provides shared workspaces, technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises. WeWork Labs gathers promising early-stage startups and provides them with the space, community, education, connections, and mentorship to help them grow.

ABeam Consulting is a consulting services firm based in Japan. With a vision to become the number one global consulting firm from Asia, ABeam Consulting helps clients realize their business transformations through a truly comprehensive service. ABeam Consulting provides a broad lineup of templates for each industry and business function, all comprising the business processes, standard documents, and systems operating environment to help companies and projects thrive.

Tsinghua SEM X-elerator is a startup acceleration platform for global entrepreneurs and startups that embodies the spirit of Tsinghua. Tsinghua SEM X-elerator also develops curricula geared to entrepreneurs’ needs nurturing the next generation of global entrepreneurial leaders. With a mission to help overseas entrepreneurs hit the ground running in China, Tsinghua SEM X-elerator evaluates overseas entrepreneurs’ business plans and assists them to set foot in the Chinese market. Tsinghua SEM X-elerator leverages its academic ties to systematically help global entrepreneurs address the pain points of doing business in the Chinese market.

Tsinghua SEM—X-elerator will be sponsoring an exclusive prize for winners in Shenzhen. The Top 3 Startups will receive the X-elerator 3 Month move-in package for free.

Hardware in healthcare, startups in Shenzhen, and China’s future in tech

In preparation for AHB, which aims to bring together business projects and hardware startups, we interviewed Benjamin Joffe from HAX to talk about hardware in healthcare, startups in Shenzhen, and China’s future in tech.

Commenting on the HAX opinion of investing in healthcare hardware, Benjamin explains that the idea is that people have very few health data points (yearly check), detect conditions too late, and hospitals are understaffed. Therefore, the impact of healthcare hardware is enormous: much cheaper, faster, and convenient. To name a few, Lief Therapeutics is a wearable patch to treat anxiety, Flow Neuroscience is a brain stimulation device combined with behavioral therapy to treat depression, and Sana is a sleep therapy mask that uses sensory stimulation linked with the body’s biosignals. He points out that China has a competitive advantage as it’s relatively less regulated. However, the problem for medical devices (not simply ‘wellness’ ones) is that consumers don’t buy yet, and there are only a few high-end clinics that would spend as well. In comparison, US has many more end users buying, and also a fairly strong insurance reimbursement system.

In terms of Shenzhen’s hardware ecosystem, he notes that some advantages are fast prototyping, product development and production, and unmatched skills and resources in manufacturing at affordable costs. In contrast, disadvantages include limited access to customers for both insights and sales and capital. Even more so, it is difficult for non-Chinese companies to access software and hardware talent, as most are not bilingual, and face heavy competition from tech giants like Tencent and Huawei.

Still expressing optimism, however, he suggests that startups should share best practices with one another, such as procedures for hiring and training staff, join networks to develop management skills, talk face-to-face with suppliers, and visit factories as often as possible.

We don’t blame him for being optimistic. In China, hardware in healthcare is growing as more research is being done by Chinese both locally and overseas. With the future of healthcare hardware in China looking bright, this may be your time to shine—so apply here today and be one step closer to sharing your innovations with the world.