ASIA , AND BE­YOND

In China, the START-UP scene is soar­ing thanks to cut­ting-edge TECH and VEN­TURE CAP­I­TAL. And, one city is at­tract­ing over­seas EN­TREPRENEURS – for busi­ness and plea­sure.

Collective Hub - - CATHAY PACIFIC x COLLECTIVE HUB - WORDS AMY MOL­LOY

When you go to China, you need to re­ally ex­pand your world­view, be open, lift your head out of your phone or emails and breathe China in,” says An­drew Lo­gan, CEO of agtech com­pany OneCrop. “De­pend­ing on which city you’re in, try to go to the in­dus­trial ar­eas, catch pub­lic trans­port and eat lo­cal. The worst mis­take you can make is to go to China, hang around your ho­tel, get a driver to take you to your meet­ings, and spend the whole time look­ing at Twit­ter.”

In the past two years, the agri­cul­ture start-up – which aims to make the farm­ing process more en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able with in­no­va­tive prod­ucts – has suc­cess­fully ex­panded into China with “a mix of good luck, hard work and strong re­la­tion­ships”. Oh, and an ac­tive WeChat ac­count (the coun­try’s most pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing app, which help­fully comes with a trans­la­tion tool).

“Without a WeChat pro­file you’re a non-per­son in China,” says An­drew. “It’s nor­mal to sit at lunch with some­one and have a con­ver­sa­tion over WeChat us­ing the trans­la­tor. If you’re open and aware, you’ll be sur­prised how many op­por­tu­ni­ties you’ll en­counter and how will­ing peo­ple are to help you.”

They’re not the only start-up to be drawn to Asia. The Chi­nese start-up scene is now stronger than ever, with cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy, a rise in ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists and a new throng of uni­corn com­pa­nies cre­ated every year. Whereas founders used to be ob­sessed with break­ing Amer­ica, now the ‘mid­dle king­dom’ is be­com­ing more ap­peal­ing with ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­grams such as Chi­nac­cel­er­a­tor help­ing for­eign start-ups to pros­per.

It’s also grow­ing ever more pop­u­lar as a down­time re­treat for artists, cre­atives, style-mak­ers, thought-lead­ers, in­trapreneurs and en­trepreneurs. Ba­si­cally, any­one who’s at­tracted by the rich cul­ture, iconic sky­lines, pro­tected na­ture and thriv­ing tech scene. And, there’s one place prov­ing par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar: Hong Kong.

Hong Kong-based air­line Cathay Pa­cific Air­ways em­ploys 20,000 peo­ple in its home city, mak­ing the com­pany one of Hong Kong’s big­gest em­ploy­ers. To­day, it of­fers 70 flights a week from six ports across Aus­tralia – Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, Perth, Ade­laide, Bris­bane and Cairns – to over 200 des­ti­na­tions glob­ally across Europe, North Amer­ica, Asia, the Mid­dle East and Africa.

And, they say Hong Kong’s at­tract­ing a (very!) in­no­va­tive crowd. In par­tic­u­lar, pro­fes­sion­als are us­ing the city as a stopover on their way to Europe and North Amer­ica – the per­fect place to mix busi­ness and plea­sure.

“I’ve no­ticed that there are more and more young trav­ellers on­board who def­i­nitely come across as young en­trepreneurs trav­el­ling for busi­ness,” says Cathay Pa­cific cabin crew mem­ber Elodie Lee. “They are young and chic, but look ex­tremely pro­fes­sional, and are al­ways work­ing away on their lap­tops dur­ing the flight.”

The air­line cur­rently of­fers wi-fi on­board all of their new A350-900

HONG KONG is such a GREAT city and has so much to of­fer – sight­see­ing, shop­ping, AMAZ­ING FOOD and a vi­brant nightlife.

and A350-1000 air­craft, with the ser­vice to be rolled out across their en­tire fleet. There are also power points and USB ports at every seat.

As Elodie ex­plains, “Hong Kong is such a great city and has so much to of­fer – sight­see­ing, shop­ping, amaz­ing food and a vi­brant nightlife. In ad­di­tion, English is com­monly spo­ken in Hong Kong, mak­ing it an ex­tremely trav­eller-friendly city to visit, whether you’re stop­ping over for a cou­ple of days or only have a few hours dur­ing a tran­sit.” Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, East Asia is win­ning over en­trepreneurs – via their wal­lets! In Hong Kong, the av­er­age cost of liv­ing is US$2800 a month (far cheaper than Sil­i­con Val­ley’s US$5211), the av­er­age co-work­ing space is just US$255 per month, and a cup of cof­fee is US$4.30. Oh, and the in­ter­net runs at a speedy 38mbps. In Shang­hai, it’s only 7mbps.

In Septem­ber, 2018, Cathay Pa­cific Air­ways launched their first di­rect ser­vice from Wash­ing­ton DC to Hong Kong which, at 13,120km (8153 miles), is their long­est ever route. It’s ex­pected to en­tice Amer­i­can and Asian en­trepreneurs to min­gle more than ever.

“There are plenty of amaz­ing things to see and do in this city,” says Elodie. >

“Hop on the Air­port Ex­press train and you’ll reach Cen­tral in 24 min­utes. En­joy a short walk to the She­ung Wan area and mar­vel at the unique at­mos­phere, where old vin­tage build­ings meet mod­ern sky­scrapers. Mean­while, Cat Street has an­tique stores and cute cafés to ex­plore.”

But, what about ‘bleisure’ ac­tiv­i­ties in the city? In 2018, Sankar Narayan, Xero’s chief op­er­at­ing and fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer was a key­note speaker at the RISE Sum­mit in Hong Kong, the largest tech con­fer­ence in Asia, which re­turns in July, 2019. Other speak­ers in 2018 in­cluded Brad Smith, the pres­i­dent of Mi­crosoft Cor­po­ra­tion, and Werner Vo­gels, CTO of Ama­zon.

On Meetup, there’s no short­age of events geared to­wards en­trepreneurs, as well as any­one who wants to learn about

Visit CHINA the same way you would visit a FRIEND’S HOME. Show RE­SPECT. Take no­tice of the way things are done. Bring small GIFTS where ap­pro­pri­ate.

Chi­nese busi­ness cul­ture or sim­ply be in­spired. The global net­work Startup Grind hosts monthly work­shops and fire­side chats for its 3374 Hong Kong­based group mem­bers.

As OneCrop dis­cov­ered, the se­cret to ex­plor­ing Hong Kong is true im­mer­sion. Ac­cord­ing to An­drew, net­work­ing in China is about three things – hav­ing a solid propo­si­tion, be­ing pre­pared to give it time, be­ing re­spect­ful and mak­ing an ef­fort with the lan­guage.

“Net­work­ing is a se­ries of small steps in build­ing a friend­ship, of­ten done over tea and food,” he says. “For­get your mas­ter-of-the­uni­verse Aus­tralian ap­proach of hav­ing eight fast meet­ings a day. In China, two or maybe three meet­ings are plenty.”

For in­spi­ra­tion, An­drew heads to the in­dus­trial ar­eas of town. “By go­ing to the fac­tory ar­eas, the trad­ing precincts and the lo­cal eat­ing houses, you start to feel what China is all about – and that’s when the best ideas hit. Go to China, make time to walk around and be a lo­cal,” he says.

The ex­pand­ing start-up cre­ated a prod­uct specif­i­cally for the mar­ket. “If you want to break in, you need to build some­thing for China,” he says. “China can’t be your sec­ond mar­ket. We’ve built our prod­uct to ex­actly match ex­ist­ing Chi­nese specs and it’s tai­lored for the cli­mate. It ad­dresses a uniquely Chi­nese prob­lem. So it’s nat­u­ral for buy­ers to choose our prod­uct.”

Whether you book a flight for work or purely play, An­drew has some ad­vice. “Visit China the same way you would visit a friend’s home. Show re­spect. Take no­tice of the way things are done. Bring small gifts where ap­pro­pri­ate. Ask for ad­vice. Ask for help. Demon­strate your idea qui­etly, and humbly ask for feed­back. En­joy eat­ing with your hosts. Lis­ten care­fully. If you go to China think­ing you’ll im­pose an idea on your cus­tomers through the sheer force of your per­son­al­ity and the bril­liance of your con­cept, get ready to go home empty-handed.”

Book now and take ad­van­tage of Cathay Pa­cific’s Early­bird 2019 Sale, with great of­fers to over 20 pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Is­rael, in­clud­ing their new­est USA des­ti­na­tions Wash­ing­ton, DC and Seat­tle (com­menc­ing on March 31, 2019). For more in­for­ma­tion, visit cathay­pa­cific.com.au

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