UBER know a thing about launching a successful tech business. Its business in China is valued at $8b alone and yet it is actually playing catch up with the established Chinese players.
China hands like myself have been saying that to just see China as the world’s low cost factory is under estimating the extraordinary potential of this country. The creativity and ability to learn is amazing and as impressive as the famous work ethic. When UBER predict that China will be the leading innovator in the world it feels like a seminal moment. Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP predicted much the same a couple of years ago and the world also listens to him.
What do I think this means for technology in all the other markets?
Should we pack up and go home?
In my experience, the Chinese are extremely good at playing as part of a team, in this case, a multi national one. They do not assume they have a monopoly on wisdom or expertise and will want to work with other nations who bring complementary skills and capabilities. They will ‘Chineseify’ what they learn and adopt what works and amend what doesn’t.
Just like we do in the West, meetings in China are often punctuated with people asking each other who they know that can help with a range of specific problems or opportunities. The difference is the urgency and energy that surround things. A meeting in a morning can result in a flurry of frenetic activity as everyone mobilises to make the most of what they have learned and the opportunity that emrged.
Countries and businesses that want to work with the Chinese Silicon Valley need to make sure they get on the radar screen and fast.