Bailey Fisher hosted its latest Technology Leadership Dinner, focusing on UK/China Business Opportunities, with guest speakers Henk Koopmans (Huawei), Ting Zhang (Crayfish International) & Rick Hao (IQ Capital Partners). The speakers shared great insight into market entry, relationship building, partnership & investment opportunities for Cambridge technology companies looking to do business with China.
At Bailey Fisher's latest Leadership Dinner, speakers Ting Zhang, Rick Hao and Henk Koopmans shared insight for Cambridge's tech companies looking to do business with China. Interestingly this was the second dinner that Bailey Fisher has hosted on this topic in recent weeks. The topic is clearly one of interest for the cluster's growth businesses. Common themes emerged, which are summarised below:
- Have a specific strategic reason for pursuing business in China – simple size of market/available investment is not sufficient.
- Due to cultural, language and relationship development differences, in-country partnerships or a localised team/freelance workers are absolutely vital for business success in China;
- Don’t go it alone; organised events such as investor roadshows make life much easier
- In China, WeChat is embraced as a far less formal and cumbersome form of communication than email, and often expedites processes and negotiations significantly;
- The focus between the UK and China used to be very one dimensional. UK would sell to China and outsource there. Now China’s tech is catching up & there is currently a huge push in China for innovation. Historically this has been focused on B2C but is now targeting the B2B space. The government has put in a 5-year plan for AI development;
- 48% of global equity funding in AI has come from Chinese money. With new US policies limiting this, there will be a greater focus on UK/Europe;
- The market is dominated by Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent (BAT). They drive investment and set trends;
- Average time from start-up to unicorn is 4 years;
- IP protection is far more robust that people typically perceive – this is driven by China’s own need to progress their own technologies;
- Collectively the UK should be proactive in shaping China’s appetite and recognise that a passive approach will be interpreted as indifference;
- Don’t be fooled by the apparent large sums of VC money on offer from China – credible investors with experience are what matters and currently this represents a trickle;
- Common misconceptions can put people off seeking to work with China, however with the right partnerships and guidance, business is no more challenging than any other international market.
The dinner was the latest in Bailey Fisher's series of Technology Leadership Dinners, hosted in partnership with Mills & Reeve and Grant Thornton. The dinner was hosted by Andrew Moore, Managing Director of Bailey Fisher.