As sea­son changes, thoughts in Sil­i­con Val­ley turn to star­tups

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - Chang Jun Con­tact the writer at junechang@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

Au­tumn sym­bol­izes the sea­son of har­vest. In Sil­i­con Val­ley, it sig­nals a se­ries of startup com­pe­ti­tions among the best and bright­est Chi­nese Amer­i­cans.

China in re­cent years has been step­ping up ef­forts to seek growth in in­no­va­tion and build its over­all strength in science and tech­nol­ogy.

Ad­dress­ing a con­fer­ence staged by the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences, the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing and the na­tional congress of the China As­so­ci­a­tion for Science and Tech­nol­ogy on May 3, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said that China should es­tab­lish it­self as “one of the most in­no­va­tive coun­tries by 2020 and a lead­ing in­no­va­tor by 2030, be­fore be­com­ing a world-lead­ing science and tech­nol­ogy power by 2049”.

Among the sev­eral tech events I’ve at­tended re­cently, the over­whelm­ing en­thu­si­asm of par­tic­i­pants along with Chi­nese in­vestors’ un­quench­able thirst for good projects im­pressed me deeply.

I can’t help but agree that China is in a golden era of mas­sive in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship. The United States, es­pe­cially Sil­i­con Val­ley, the world’s cen­ter for tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion, should part­ner with China while tak­ing ad­van­tage of Amer­ica be­ing the tech and in­no­va­tion leader.

On Aug 29, the US-China As­so­ci­a­tion of High-level Pro­fes­sion­als (UCAHP) held a news con­fer­ence in Santa Clara to an­nounce that its an­nual North Amer­ica Chi­nese Startup Con­test, now in its sev­enth year, is open to ap­pli­ca­tions world­wide with pro­grams to be scru­ti­nized by a knowl­edge­able team of judges.

On Sept 10, 12 teams of US re­gional fi­nal­ists com­peted at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity at the Cre­ate@Alibaba Cloud Startup Con­test (CACSC), an event cospon­sored by the Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-com­put­ing di­vi­sion of Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, and Han­hai In­vest­ment, a business in­cu­ba­tor with three lo­ca­tions in the Bay Area.

Wang Jun­ming, science and tech­nol­ogy coun­selor at the Chi­nese Con­sulate Gen­eral in San Fran­cisco, who ad­dressed the two events, en­cour­aged par­tic­i­pants to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for tech in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship through plat­forms of com­pe­ti­tions in Sil­i­con Val­ley; take ad­van­tage of poli­cies and in­cen­tives of­fered by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment; and to best mon­e­tize their tech­nol­ogy know-how and schol­arly re­search.

“I’m thrilled to learn that about 13,000 in­di­vid­u­als (brought) in 2,500 projects through UCAHP con­tests over six years,” said Wang. “This is a mir­a­cle.”

Roy Kong, the main or­ga­nizer, said this year that the con­test will fo­cus on new tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­try such as smart man­u­fac­tur­ing, smart liv­ing, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, new ma­te­ri­als, robots, big data, cloud com­put­ing and mo­bile in­ter­net. Ini­tial pro­gram screen­ing will take place be­tween coasts in the US and Canada.

The fi­nal com­pe­ti­tion is on Jan 7 at the Santa Clara Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. Kong said that this year’s judges are com­posed of ex­perts across in­dus­tries and ar­eas with in­vestors from China, the US, Ger­many, Is­rael and In­dia. “We are more in­ter­na­tional and global-minded this time.”

Two teams se­lected from the CACSC US demo day, one from Bos­ton and the other from In­di­ana, each re­ceived $50,000 credit to be used on Alibaba Cloud prod­ucts and ser­vices, and a chance to re­ceive $100,000 in­vest­ment from Han­hai In­vest­ment, plus spon­sored trip to com­pete in Hangzhou at the World Fi­nal Alibaba Clound Yunqi Con­fer­ence in Oc­to­ber.

The win­ner of the global fi­nal will re­ceive a seat in the Alibaba Cloud’s 18 Founders pro­gram.

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