The “Greater Bay Area” is a term that outlines the Chinese government’s master plan to integrate the cities of Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen, and Zhaoqing into one large economic and business hub. With the “Greater Bay Area” being an important aspect of the One Belt One Road initiative, promoting industrial transformation and upgrade and fostering new industry growth in the region has become a priority for the state. This year at TechCrunch Shenzhen, we will be taking a look at policy advantages, talent advantages, and the supporting capital market of the “Greater Bay Area” in recent years, as well as the outlook of business transformation, industrial upgrade, financial innovation, new retail, scientific research, and biomedical development in this region.
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The area surrounding Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau has a vast economic hinterland due to its advantageous geographical environment, and its developed sea, land, and air transportation and logistics network. The fourth largest bay area in the world, after the San Francisco Bay, the New York Bay, and the Tokyo Bay, it’s gradually becoming a new type of advanced manufacturing, modern service industry, and high-tech industry zone. It is also said to match the financial prosperity of the New York Bay Area, the thriving high-tech of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the capital flow of the Tokyo Bay Area.
With Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau moving toward globalization, it is pertinent that traditional manufacturing enterprises and new-model enterprises speed up the integration of digitalization, intelligent hardware, and the internet. Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau are home to a number of leading innovative companies such as Huawei, Tencent, Huada Gene, and Dajiang, which can provide strong technical strength for the development of high-grade manufacturing. On the other hand, many small and medium-sized enterprises in the region are still facing many challenges, such as low starting point, lack of technology, capital, and talent. Therefore, one of the topics to be discussed at TechCrunch Shenzhen will be how SMEs can gain an advantage in the wake of heavy competition.
As the most diverse and comprehensive urban manufacturing sector in China and the most market-oriented urban agglomeration, the industries of Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao should put their competitive advantages to play. For instance, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, both strong cities for manufacturing, should better integrate. Hong Kong and Macau, both financial centers and strong in science and technological innovation, should transform into a financial and technology center and jointly build a modern industrial system that is internationally competitive. At TechCrunch Shenzhen, the discussion will also surround strategizing on how to best utilize the region’s competitive advantages.
With its mature capital market, complete industrial system, and rich innovation, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau region is undoubtedly a harbor for innovation in financial technology. Hong Kong, for example, under rich management systems, mature and efficient financial infrastructure, and high-level scientific and technological research and development capabilities, saw more than 200 new fintech startups this year. Meanwhile, Nansha, Guangzhou, had more than 4,000 new financial companies settle at the beginning of the year. Coupled with the development of technological innovations such as mobile payments, blockchain, and digital currency, the traditional finance industry can provide improved financial services to those in the “Greater Bay Area”. At TechCrunch Shenzhen, we will explore a broader perspective of the advantages in fintech for this region.
In recent years, new retail has gradually realized the significance of the free flow of four elements: people, logistics, capital, and information. Having relied on innovative technologies and business models, the Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Macau region’s transportation infrastructure, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, has been greatly improved. Furthermore, the planning and construction of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail, and the integration of big data and logistics have laid a solid foundation for the retail industry to embrace the new model. At TechCrunch Shenzhen, we will be discussing how to further use the intelligent supply chain to achieve data access across supply and demand sides, and how to combine smart logistics to advance new retail in the “Greater Bay Area”.
Throughout China’s scientific and technological development, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao region has proven to be the leader in technological change. However, in order to further become an international science and technology innovation center, it is also necessary to build a major scientific research platform and an international-level scientific research team to support innovative education. The San Francisco Bay Area is well known to be home to many prestigious research institutions and independent laboratories, while the New York Bay Area houses the research and development centers of hundreds of the world’s leading companies. Catching up, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau region today has many national and provincial-level laboratories, as well as a variety of new research and development institutions. The next step is to figure out how to build a strong talent pool, a topic which will be explored at TechCrunch Shenzhen.
The development of the “Greater Bay Area” has brought many opportunities, attracting more and more enterprises to take root there, as well as industries that see a strategic advantage there, such as the biomedical industry. However, the disadvantages faced by biotechnology enterprises include relatively low-end technology and their small-scale businesses compared to their counterparts in the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim. At TechCrunch Shenzhen, we will examine how to better focus on quality scientific and technological elements of these cities and promote the healthy and diversified development of the biopharmaceutical industry in the “Greater Bay Area”.
Overall, in recent years, Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau’s technological innovation can be described as “in full swing”. This year, TechCrunch International Innovation Summit will be coming right to the forefront of these happenings: Shenzhen.
TechCrunch International Innovation Summit’s Main Stage provides special opportunities for the audience to gain knowledge from world-famous speakers. Topics like AI, healthcare, consumption upgrade, and new retail will be discussed during the event. In previous years, the summit brought together elites from various industries, including former Executive Chairman of both Google and Alphabet Eric Schmidt, CEO and Chairman of Sinovation Kai-Fu Lee, Chairman of Alibaba Group Technical Steering Committee and Founder of Alibaba Cloud Dr. Jian Wang, Co-founder of iRobot Colin Angle, Co-founder of ZhenFund Bob Xu, Vice President of Ctrip Huaiyi Zeng, and National Technology Officer of Microsoft China Qing Wei.
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In order to explore in-depth the different fields of innovation, the Side Stages provide insight into emerging trends and technologies. Last year, we had companies from all industries come and share best practices, from autonomous driving and chip algorithms to high-precision maps and blockchain.
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From 2013 to 2018, a total of more than 1,550 exhibitors participated in Startup Alley, with an average of more than 150 each year. Startup Alley brings together international companies and exhibitors from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, and other countries and regions to conduct international exchanges. Many startups have recognized TechCrunch International Innovation Summit as the forefront of today’s cutting-edge technological innovation. With its large influence, many companies have chosen to launch and advertise their new products at Startup Alley.
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One of the most popular attractions of TechCrunch International Innovation Summit, VC Meetup has been held 16 times across the country, with more than 5,200 entrepreneurs and more than 550 VCs in attendance. In this session, each entrepreneur will get 10 minutes to pitch a project to a VC. From previous years, more than 50 startups have received Pre-A Round financing, and 3 foreign startups obtained domestic investment. This year, we will continue to invite hundreds of well-known domestic and foreign VCs to come and meet entrepreneurs.
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Through the Startup Competition, we hope to lead the best Chinese startups to the international stage. The Startup Competition is held from October to November every year. Startup projects are presented on stage at TechCrunch International Innovation Summit, with spectators that include many investors, media, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals. In the past, the Startup Competition received participation of 300+ teams from 25+ countries and regions and 30+ media exposure.
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Last November, we witnessed the impressive success of TechCrunch Beijing held at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. Modeled on the Silicon Valley style of events, TechCrunch returns to China in November 2018, this time in Shenzhen. As a precursor to the main event, TechNode and TechCrunch are organizing a Hackathon. Hackathons have been a mainstay for TechCrunch Disrupt since they were first started. Each team has 24 hours to complete product design and development. We have invited some of the top names in the industry to judge projects and present the awards.
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