Star­tups look to tar­get over­seas op­por­tu­ni­ties

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By REN QI

renqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

More Chi­nese startup com­pa­nies are ex­plor­ing the United States or other over­seas mar­kets, although var­i­ous chal­lenges ex­ist, say startup com­pany of­fi­cials.

“For me, par­tic­i­pat­ing in for­eign com­pe­ti­tion or de­liv­er­ing speeches on the over­seas stage means a lot to my com­pany,” said Wei Qingchen, CEO and founder of Emokit Tech Co, a com­pany that in its early stage of de­vel­op­ment took part in an over­seas com­pe­ti­tion and was able to show­case it­self to an over­seas au­di­ence. “By show­ing the com­pany over­seas, I met lots of new part­ners.”

For in­stance, Wei said, his com­pany at present en­joys a close re­la­tion­ship with a Pak­istani IT com­pany. He met com­pany of­fi­cials dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion over­seas.

Co­op­er­at­ing with the In­sti­tute of Psy­chol­ogy of Chi­nese Academy of Sciences, Emokit wrote a soft­ware de­vel­op­ment kit that rec­og­nizes the mo­tion of users, their ac­tions or fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

Wei said he at­tached great im­por­tance to the at­ten­tion from for­eign cus­tomers and media.

Emokit is now set­tling in at Ts­inghua Univer­sity Science Park, which was de­vel­oped and is op­er­ated by TusHold­ings Co. The park has more than 400 mem­bers, in­clud­ing sev­eral startup com­pa­nies and in­sti­tu­tions. With the help of the TusPark, more Chi­nese star­tups are now able to go abroad to pro­mote them­selves.

Three years ago, TusHold­ings, Chi­nese in­vest­ment com­pany North­ern Light Ven­ture Cap­i­tal, and Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank es­tab­lished In­nospring In­cu­ba­tor. It was the first in­cu­ba­tor for both Chi­nese and Amer­i­can star­tups to ex­plore over­seas mar­kets. Now more than 50 star­tups have joined the in­cu­ba­tor.

This month, TusPark of­fi­cials, along with those from the three Chi­nese star­tups, went to Moscow for the Skolkovo Startup Com­pe­ti­tion. This com­pe­ti­tion had great sup­port from the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment, and even Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev showed up. As a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Chi­nese star­tups, Wei was able to chat with Medvedev.

Herbert Chen, the ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of TusHold­ings, pointed out that the big­gest con­cern of Chi­nese star­tups at their science park is the lan­guage bar­rier.

“For in­stance, we along with three lo­cal startup com­pa­nies went to Moscow for the Skolkovo Startup Com­pe­ti­tion. Although the CEOs had Rus­sian-speak­ing as­sis­tants, when some in­vestors wanted to know some­thing, they found it very dif­fi­cult and in­con­ve­nient to have a deep talk via a trans­la­tor.”

Still, Tus-Hold­ings has great con­fi­dence in their star­tups abil­ity to go global. Sophia Shang, the for­eign af­fairs man­ager, said the co­op­er­a­tion of Chi­nese star­tups and for­eign en­ter­prises is mu­tual.

“Now we are get­ting in touch with a Euro­pean en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion en­ter­prise,” she said. “We are seek­ing to in­tro­duce Euro­pean en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nol­ogy into China. The pro­ject has a bright fu­ture as this in­dus­try is well de­vel­oped in Europe, and mean­while China is in need of large-scale en­vi­ron­men­tal gov­er­nance.”

Wei said he had de­cided to take the global strat­egy as soon as the com­pany was founded. By talk­ing with lead­ing ex­perts and for­eign coun­ter­parts, the com­pany could ob­tain ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy within the in­dus­try as well as some po­ten­tial co­op­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In Novem­ber, Wei went to the Sil­i­con Val­ley in the US and made a speech about his emo­tion de­tec­tion app code at Santa Clara Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. Dur­ing this visit he met Zhang Xuan, who was do­ing re­search in psy­chol­ogy. Zhang found what Emokit did was what she al­ways wanted to do, so she helped the com­pany to in­te­grate data from for­eign re­search in­sti­tutes.

Also thanks to the ad­vanced emo­tion de­tec­tion SDK and a good speech in Sil­i­con Val­ley, Emokit started to co­op­er­ate with MIT. Ex­perts from MIT pro­vided pro­fes­sional ad­vice on how to im­prove the app.

Since then, Wei has grown more con­vinced about his global strat­egy. In late Novem­ber, Emokit par­tic­i­pated in the Slush World Founder and In­vestor Com­pe­ti­tion to com­pete with more than 200 projects from all over the world. It won the cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

REN QI / CHINA DAILY

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