The team at Expert DOJO arrived in Hangzhou, China last week and proceeded to go on a whirlwind tour of 5 cities (Shanghai, Yiwu, Jiaxing, Beijing, Hangzhou) in 5 days. We even visited 3 of the cities twice. We met the Mayor or high level dignitaries in each city and in this short period we became convinced that China can outperform the USA in output of unicorns within 5 years.
Our goal was to work out what this enormous market of 1.2 billion people wanted and how we could serve our american based startups better by being here as well as be a resource locally in China. It will be no surprise to anyone that the biggest challenge US based companies have working in China is trust and that just happens to be our biggest strength. We also saw that many of the Chinese cities are tired of making cheaper product and want to do as the Japanese did when they moved to quality over quantity.
Here is what surprised us. Our expectation was to see a country of socialists where enterprise and innovation was neither encouraged or rewarded and we found the opposite. Their new Government led policy to actually incubate and accelerate startups with entire streets dedicated to them is admirable. In addition the free workplace, free training and free resources are unlike anything I have ever seen in over 40 countries.
We were met by over 41 high ranking officials in each city and all of them offered incentive after incentive to open up there. This may be the model we have been searching for as the perfect Government led startup ecosystem.
So whats next I hear you ask. Well we may just open an international accelerator over there. The Government not only support startups but they are also desperate for international collaboration in their community. We know that China has its issues but, as supporters of startup globally, I cant help wanting to help fix this very broken bridge between our two countries. Our startups in America deserve to have the best representation on site to help them manufacture, produce and ship the best product at the right price and ontime. In addition we will possibly raise a fund to help US companies benefit from all the opportunities out there.
We all know that the seas of China are full of forgotten westerners who came with good intentions but no possibility of ever fulfilling their unfinished dreams. We at Expert DOJO are cautious but optimistic of a future where we all get along and create great startup cultures while doing it.