One of the fundaments to answer why there is an enormous amount of globally successful startups in China is based on a very simple reasoning: China has dramatically shifted from being an exporter solely of goods, to being an exporter of goods AND cutting edge technology to the world.
China is exporting technology!
Here are some facts:
- Currently, 4 out of the top 5 largest banks in the world are Chinese. China counts with a population of around 1,4 billion people, and still, you will hardly see someone visiting a branch or standing in line to perform any whatsoever transaction, mainly because their online banking is one of the most advanced out there. In addition, have you ever seen a Chinese using a credit card in China? Not just part of it, but a WHOLE generation of Chinese have skipped the credit card mindset and habits to jump directly into the mobile payment’s revolution. WeChat alone, an APP message platform developed by Tencent similar to WhatsApp, reports 1 billion WeChat Pay transactions per day! Utilities, movie tickets, train tickets, airline tickets, food delivery, hotel reservations, health insurance, phone bills: yes, you can pay it all by WeChat.
- Urban mobility in China counts with amazing companies such as NIU, an electric vehicles manufacturer, that went from founding to being listed at NASDAQ in incredible 4 YEARS! This is simply fenomenal. Most incredible, this is not a unique feature to NIU. Many other EV companies emerge and pop up in the streets of China everyday day and embracing large chunks of the market. When asked about the high growing rates, the answer is based on a privileged ecosystem for two wheels mobility, the extremely adaptive market, large scale research and development infrastructure, huge government incentives, and a lot of business savviness. Everything from electric scooters, bikes, skates, cars, buses, trains, bullet trains, pretty much all the EVs, BEVs, HEVs are very well present in Chinese territory offering sustainable urban mobility and sharing concepts that get develop locally and later exported to all over the world. Why not electric or two wheeled, or even both? Cheaper, faster, simpler, and ultimately easier and better. Turn the tradicional, old and static into something new and modern, and you might find a vast blue ocean to explore.
- Now, one of the most impressive facts about China’s startup potential: In one hand, take Brazil’s population of 215 million and its 8 unicorns. On the other, take China’s population of 1,4 billion and its 204 unicorns. Is super easy to conclude China has a larger population and therefore its number of unicorns would naturally be larger as well. Ok, but putting into perspective, China’s 1,4 billion population is roughly 7 times larger than Brazil’s, while the unicorn ratio between the two countries implies a number 25 TIMES LARGER. There is clearly something going on to create this gigantic growth environment that apparently is not happening in the rest of the world. Which is large, super large, economic incentives of all kinds.
- Should we even mention XIAOMI, HUAWEI, DIDI, TIKTOK (BYTEDANCE), 5G, gaming empires? There is so much going on…
Not long ago, early after WWII, Japan was considered to produce a variety of low quality cheap products among cameras, televisions, music players and so on. The Japanese quickly learned how position themselves and the next thing you hear is Westerners testifying in favor of Sony and Canon as the best brands out there. Suddenly, Japan had become synonymous of reliable high quality manufacturing.
The current scenario shows that China has evolved and matured to a point where cheap and low quality concepts are gradually getting behind. Certainly not there yet, but constant economic changes are pushing these attributes away, which are now migrating to other counties willing to continue the exploration of cheap labor such as Vietnam, Thailand, and India. Numbers don’t lie, and is very safe to say China is running for the lead on the world’s technology race.
We hope this post was useful to bring you new horizons for exploration.