Doing business in Shenzhen

If China is about to turn the world upside down, Shenzhen is the epicenter. There are three major factors why doing business in Shenzhen makes you a part of today’s digital revolution.

Imagine asking Europeans the following question: Which city is the fastest growing one in the world at the moment? This place is clean, well-organized, modern and vibrant. It actually is the Silicon Valley of hardware. How many of us would really guess it right?

The Silicon Valley of hardware

If you want to make your own smart phone – starting from one to any number, then go to Shenzhen. The city is sometimes referred to as Hong Kong’s younger but bigger brother. It only had about 300,000 inhabitants end of the 70s. Currently more than 12 million people are living there. Today it is a maker hub, particularly its Huaqiangbei market, where you can place orders for all sorts of electronic parts of any quantity. Apple contractor Foxconn as well as Huawei are both located in the city.

The magic formula “SOOT”

According to Edward Tse (see “China’s Disruptors” by Edward Tse), the ingredients for hyperfast growth are:

  • Scale,
  • Openness,
  • Official Support and
  • Technology.

In Shenzhen, this formula can be observed in practice. A growing number of people with the right skills who find the appropriate ecosystem of private and foreign businesses engaged in the information and communication technologies. The government is at the same time providing the physical and policy infrastructure needed – and quite on the contrary to the European way, the infrastructure is created BEFORE demand or even scarcity emerges.

The agility and entrepreneurial spirit it needs

Talking to business people with different origins and backgrounds has revealed the following development: Some time ago working for a large multinational company was a prestigious thing to do – also in China. However, this has changed significantly. Many young people now prefer to create their own start-up. With the support of the government, they can first of all make a living of it. But secondly, and even more importantly, this is like holding a call option: you cannot lose more than you invest, but the upward potential is unlimited. There are plenty of examples of young entrepreneurs who have made it. Part of this new mindset is that failures are increasingly regarded as a natural part of the game you need to undergo before giving it another try and finally succeed. All in all, in Shenzhen you find today the magic potion for what is going to turn our lives upside down in future.

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