Unexpected Findings about Business in China

Steve Hoffman at Founders Space recently returned from a “marathon business trip” to Asia. He returned with some unexpected findings about business in China that defy many of our staid stereotypes in the West. With Steve’s permission, I am quoting his findings below:

  • “Chinese food in America sucks!”
  • “Traffic in Beijing makes Hwy 101 [on the California coast] look like the Autobahn [in Germany].”
  • “Smog is out of control, so the government is making cleantech a top priority.”
  • “Stock market reacts like a yoyo with each new government policy.”
  • “Big city Chinese need to own real estate to get into the right school districts.”
  • “Home prices in major cities are sky high, but if you don’t own property, no mother will let her daughter marry you!”
  • “Many Chinese own three or more condos, and they don’t even rent them out because rental prices are so low.”
  • “Real estate prices have peaked and are falling, so owners are cashing out and investing in startups.”
  • “This has precipitated a [business] startup boom.”
  • “The government is fueling the boom by laying out big subsidies for startups and incubators.”
  • “If you want free space for your startup, China has plenty of it.”
  • “Valuations are sky high, as investors compete to get into the hottest startups.”
  • “Chinese investors prefer startup founders 30+ years old – they don’t trust the kids with their cash.”
  • “High tech wages now rival those in the US – the days of cheap labor are gone!
  • “Traditional businesses are on the decline.”
  • “Factories that were once off-shored to China are moving to Southeast Asia in search of cheaper labor”
  • The buzz word in China is “innovation” and the entire country feels they must move up the value chain to compete.”
  • “Copying has become a dirty word, as China pushes to develop its own intellectual property.”
  • Intellectual property rights will be enforced more strictly moving forward because China needs to reward innovation.”
  • “The Chinese government is focused on bringing the best technologies from around the world to China.”
  • “Chinese work harder than anyone I know: even government officials come to work on weekends (imagine that!).”

For those of you not already familiar with the organization, Founders Space in San Francisco is an international business incubator and accelerator “dedicated to helping exceptionally talented entrepreneurs reach their full potential.” Steve Hoffman (a.k.a. Captain Hoff) steers the ship. Inc. Magazine ranks Founders Space as one of the top ten Incubators around.

Steve’s proven business acumen is why I take his findings seriously and why am sharing them here. Dim sum, anyone?


Judah Freed is the author of the the proposed book, Making Global Sense (preview available at GlobalSense.com) You can follow him on Twitter @judahfreed.

Judah Freed
Author: Judah Freed


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