Chinese internet industry first boomed from consumer-based services: Alibaba had e-commerce, an instant messaging tool for Tencent, while Baidu had its search engine.

All Chinese tech giants start from relatively straightforward services that people easily can understand. The consumer-focused approach to tech innovation in the early days meant that entrepreneurs with interesting ideas could start their own business if they had a general understanding of their market. Coding skills or a tech background were not essential.

However, as China’s startup scene evolves, companies and investors are shifting quickly to deep tech, a set of cutting-edge technologies based on scientific discoveries, medicine, mathematics, and engineering. This change brings more new professional possibilities for academics in transforming their academic results to real products.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.