Guangzhou startup scene 2016

As part of my Zhi-Xing Eisenhower Fellowship, I have been traveling in China to visit entrepreneurs, investors, and small business supporters. Guangzhou presents a unique environment for startups and while my brief stay was bound by a departing bullet train for Shenzhen, the following covers a little of what this area has to offer.

Successful entrepreneurs know that the location that you choose to start your business has a great and direct effect on the success of the business. This calls for a careful choice of the environment to establish a startup. Guangzhou, China is one of the most favorable places for establishing a startup in China. Guangzhou, is ranked among the fastest growing cities in the world. In addition, the city has a favorable cost of living; the average salary in Guangzhou is 3000 RMB, which is about $500 a month (after tax).

Another interesting fact about Guangzhou, which is the 3rd largest city in China, is the population of around 14 million residents of the city. This too makes the availability of labor readily available at a fair rate as well as a ready market for local consumer products and services.

Moreover, while you may consider mainland China as one unit, you’ll realize the potential of establishing a startup here. China is neighbored by other developing economies, which include India, Thailand, and Indonesia just to name a few. These economies have a huge population and a potential market for goods. Being a neighbor to these vibrant markets means that the costs of transporting goods are also considerably reduced and favorable. This makes it possible to establish a startup in places like Guangzhou with little capital.

Photo credit: wikimedia

I enjoyed a visit to WeChat HQ to talk shop, innovation and the rapid rise of this platform … something that engages a billion Chinese users from sunrise to all hours of the night. I encourage everyone to check out or download WeChat to learn more about the tool and understand why it has become so successful in China. Among the growing base of American users and advertisers, are corporations wishing to enhance their reach to Chinese consumers.

Indeed, there are many companies, which have established their presence in Guangzhou and have been thriving competitively and successfully over the past few years. Many enjoy the conducive technological environment of the location and take advantage of the fast growing rate of the region.

Notable Startups in Guangzhou

A study by the National Survey and Research Center at the Renmin University of China in 2015, revealed that Guangzhou ranked third in the number of startups businesses in China- specifically, the city has about 2107 startups per 100,000 residents of the city. This makes it one of the hottest startup hubs in China

The city too has its share of startup businesses, which are leading in disruptive technologies in various fields- biotech, robotics, consumer appliances, manufacturing etc. The most notable startups include:

Ehang Inc - This is one of the most successful startup found in this city. It was founded in April 2014 and has around 300 employees. The company specializes in the innovative manufacturing of smart drones. As a matter of facts, after launching a new drone, Ehang 184 early this years at the CES event in Las Vegas, the drone was cleared for testing, making it the world’s first passenger drone. This clearly depicts the level of innovativeness exhibited by Ehang.

iFLYTEK - This is another tech company which is enjoying massive success in this city. The company is dedicated to the research of artificial intelligence, speech recognition, and language technologies. It has already developed some innovative software and chip products, which are used to enhance the provision of speech services and for integration with online web systems to enhance the accessibility of web materials across all regions of the globe.

Risong Intelligence - In late 2015, China announced the need to incorporate the use robots in their manufacturing industries. Several Chinese companies have entered into deals with companies in the west for the manufacture of robots. Risong Intelligence, however, is a startup based in Guangzhou that specializes in the manufacture of robotics for other auto manufacturing companies in the city.

Medprin - This is another startup which specializes in 3D printing and visualization to manufacture implantable medical devices. The company was an immediate hit, attracting huge amount of funding and establishing its presence in various countries in the west.

Other notable startup companies in Guangzhou include Nexwise, Gizwit and many others.

Follow the Eisenhower Fellows on their journey by searching #EFJourney

Connect with me on WeChat, FB, Tw or LinkedIn: bienko

More soon … Jack Bienko, 2016 Eisenhower Fellow