What Western entrepreneurs say about China
“Chinese supermarkets are more flexible in their choice of partners and are more adaptable to new technology. They are going mobile first, therefore Reward Technology is keen to target on this market. We will start from big centers like Shanghai and Shenzhen, which have big head office shopping clusters.”
CEO of Reward
“We have developed our product’s prototype in the UK, but we think China has good manufacturing capability to produce and commercialize our SpaceCots on a large scale. In addition, China’s mass consumer market will help us create scale of sales.”
founder of Oxford Space Structures
“China’s vibrant technology scene and visionary Chinese firms like Tencent are allowing us to implement our technology on a large scale. After we rolled out our positioning technology for the first time in China, we’re now looking to take it to other international markets.”
Sensewhere is a startup in Edinburgh, Scotland, founded in 2009. It has created a positioning technology for smartphone applications that can detect user position inside shopping malls accurately, so app developers can send more targeted discounts and direction advice to customers. It has received investment from Chinese Internet firm Tencent, which is using its technology on its maps and in its QQ applications.
vice-president of business development, Sensewhere, whose smartphone applications that can detect user position inside shopping malls investment capital in Britain only two years after the company was set up. Chen was aware that China’s manufacturing strength is the key to helping SpaceCots become commercially viable, and that the size of the Chinese market would be critical in the company’s growth.
Oxford Space Structures set up an office in Suzhou Industrial Park in Jiangsu province to manage the manufacturing side of the business, which is outsourced to a Chinese manufacturing firm. The company said it expects to make 1 million SpaceCots this year.
“China is a very big market for baby products, and its rising middle class is increasingly able to afford high-end consumer products,” Chen said, adding that she expects that it is in China that sales of SpaceCot will be largest in the next few years.
In addition to the sheer size of that market, the newly emerged Chinese consumer market’s willingness to try new ways of buying is also making it highly attractive for Western startups that hope to make an impact but cannot compete with deeply rooted incumbents in their markets.
The UK startup Reward Technology has developed a new way of engineering supermarket discounts, so that a store detects loyalty cards in customers’ pockets as they walk in and automatically generates a selection of the most suitable promotions based on a customer’s shopping habits, and sends this list to the customer’s phone as a text message.
Technicians of the Hebei Angtai Robot Science and Technology Co Ltd work on an industrial robot. The Shijiazhuang Science and Technology Innovation Center, in which Angtai is located, is a state-level science and technology incubator.