As many eyes in North America are turned on Techcrunch Disrupt, there is a bigger and more daunting disruption happening: It’s called China. When I thought of China, I had images of people on the road, biking to work in the morning, bamboo sticks, a country where chaos reigned, and where people were taught to be drones of authority. Total Ignorance.
Having traveled in many countries all around the world, and after only a few days in this beautiful land, I am daring to venture that China’s two biggest cities are the most technically advanced, fastest growing, technology hungry places in the World. This is not a small statement.
Since day one, the GOAP tour has led us to meet, interact and engage with the local tech community, from young entrepreneurs, VCs, government officials, and Chinese geeks. You can feel the fire in the belly of the younger generation: one that is proud of their country, one that cares about its future, one that sees a plethora of opportunities in an country that is booming. In particular, Hans Tung of Qiming Ventures, had some interesting insights on how a local rental car company over took and the better funded American competitors in the Chinese market: “Travelers don’t just want to rent a car, they want a driver with the car…”
The country isn’t perfect. The inequality between the “haves” and “have-nots” is big, and the level of pollution is quite extensive, but it is also something that is preoccupying the younger generation of entrepreneurs. Half of all presentations at the Ignite conference we attended in Shanghai were on the environment, including Jill Buck of Go Green Initiative, Peggy Liu of Juccce, and Ryan Dick of the GIGA.
If I was a betting man, I have a feeling that green energy will evolve faster in the land of the dragon than the land of the free. I have no scientific data to back me up, it’s just a hunch based on a few hours in a country – suffering of jet lag.
The GOAP team (Christine and Dave) have done a fantastic job putting this together. We are treated like royalty everywhere we go, and the opportunities to learn, interact with the local community are plenty. A trip that needs to be repeated as often as possible.