We love Shenzhen. Sure, Beijing has Zhongguancun and Shanghai has its international and diverse entrepreneurial community. But Shenzhen has a certain je ne sais quoi, an energy that pervades the entire city. Maybe it’s the great weather or maybe its youth of the city (both the residents and the age of the city itself), but every time we come to this southern city, we’re amazed by the people, projects, and companies thriving here.
Teams of 4-6 people—some total strangers before the hackathon—came together to create proofs-of-concept to complete blockchain challenges. Winners included teams who came up with novel ways to record transactions, verifying the history of vaccines, preventing payment fraud, and—of all things—a hardware controller for CryptoKitties as well as a Pokemon Go-like game for the crypto pet platform.
Spanning two days and covering a wide range of topics, the main stage saw some of China’s leading technologists and businesspeople talk about where the cutting edge is, for both consumers and businesses.
Smartphones and hardware
Huami Corporation’s Chairman and CEO Wang Huang spoke on the future of wearable devices. Huami, a Xiaomi eco-chain company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in February this year. As of last year, Huami shipped 18.1 million units of smart wearable devices globally and had recorded a total register use base of 56.1 million.
The once low-profile Chinese flexible display company Royole grabbed headlines over the past two weeks, becoming the first company to launch a foldable smartphone.
While the smartphone-tablet hybrid stoked much anticipation among flexphone aficionados, for Royole CEO Bill Liu, this is just the beginning. For him, the potential of flexible display technology is great and expands far beyond the world of smartphones.
So, is the blockchain-powered phone a hype or it is something potentially revolutionary?
Chen said with crypto and blockchain he saw, for the first time, tech’s potential to disrupt big centralized companies. Smartphones are the most accessible and ubiquitous devices where most of our data is generated, Chen said.
“The apparent death of the sharing economy is actually the death of the term as a concept—not the business model,” Ren explained. “As the tech ecosystem becomes impatient, and treats the sharing economy as just a novel and innovative noun, real implementations are beginning to penetrate our lives.”
Ru’s referring, of course, to how hip-hop fever swept the nation after streaming platform iQiyi released its surprise hit show Rap of China last year. The series kickstarted previously unknown artists’ careers while introducing new fashions and phrases to Chinese audiences.
“Consumer-driven companies, and startups too, could hand over fundamental research work to professional tech teams. Efforts saved shall be paid to implementations,” Liu explained, adding that it is China’s diverse use cases that encourage companies to adopt data supported implementations.
Amid headlines of the impending arrival of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on China’s roads, Michael Shu, general manager of the Auto Intelligent Ecology Institute at Chinese automotive manufacturer BYD, says the technology should be viewed with a level head.
“We need to look at self-driving cars with a calm eye,” he told attendees at TechCrunch Shenzhen today (November 19). “Driverless cars need to become more mature, rules and regulations still need to be formulated, and ethical issues need to be solved.”
Speaking on the sidelines of TechCrunch Shenzhen 2018, Toa Charm, chief public mission officer for the innovation and digital tech hub, said closer collaboration is needed in order to realize the full potential the GBA represents for sectors such as fintech.
For the third time in a row, TechCrunch in China hosted a blockchain side stage. Covering topics from the bearish market to government application, from blockchain security to payments, the side stage provided a comprehensive overview of the current state of the industry and technology.
“One day in crypto is like a year in any other technology space.”
At TechCrunch 2018 this past Tuesday, 500 Startups partner Edith Yeung’s statement seemed fitting.
This time last year, Bitcoin’s value was close to $10,000. After the value peaked, however, it and other cryptocurrencies have seen a rocky slide south. As of Tuesday afternoon, Bitcoin had dropped below $4,500 and set a new low for this year. But panelists at TechCrunch’s blockchain side stage remained largely optimistic.
One of the many promises of blockchain technology is that it allows users to store and exchange valuable information in a secure and tamperproof way. But how secure is blockchain really?
David Lancashire, founder of Saito, and Sarah Zhang, founder of Points discussed blockchain’s vulnerabilities and long-term security issues during a panel on TechCrunch Shenzhen’s blockchain side stage.
Blockchain is the best mechanism currently available to deal with the problems in the supply chain, said senior advisor at Fantom Foundation Dai-Kyu Kim. His comments come at a turbulent time for the global supply chain.
Joined by EximChain CEO Hope Liu, Kim was part of a panel discussion at TechCrunch Shenzhen yesterday (November 20) focusing on blockchain’s applications in enhancing the global supply chain.
Startup Alley was perhaps the most fun of the entire conference. Spread between the two stages, over 180 startups showed off their latest and greatest products. Here are some highlights from our Twitter feed (check out #tcshenzhen for more):
We tried out #WT2Plus, a real-time earphone translator that supports 20 languages and 7 accents. The device does need users to speak louder and clearly, but the translation works pretty well. Employees Alex Qin and Kazaf Ye claim the device can guarantee 95% accuracy. #tcshenzhenpic.twitter.com/RklkwFNjyU
Out of 300 contestants, 20 finalists, and 100 thousand online votes, 12 teams took the stage to pitch their ideas to our panel of experts.
China’s younger generation of academics is adopting a more open mindset and willing to embrace these opportunities. The trend is best demonstrated at the healthtech stage of TechCrunch 2018 Startup Competition.
A total of 300 teams applied and only 12 projects demoed at the event, which is sponsored by Merck, a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science, and performance materials.
The winner of the competition will be shortlisted as a candidate for Merck China Accelerator, a program that focuses on collaboration between startups and Merck’s innovation ecosystem.
Thanks to all the speakers, volunteers, partners, and sponsors for making this awesome event happen. See you next year!