Entrepreneurs of tomorrow inspired by Dream Town

Updated: 2015-09-07 07:33

By Yan Yiqi(China Daily)

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Just a few kilometers from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's headquarters in Hangzhou, there is hive of activity.

Known as Dream Town, it has become the place to be for Internet startups in the capital of Zhejiang province, with free office space and infrastructure facilities for at least three years.

Yu Yang moved his 3-D printing company, Hangzhou Samdi Technology Co, there after graduating from college. In addition to free office space, his fledgling firm also has complementary cloud computing, which usually involves sharing resources on a pay-as-you-go basis.

"What attracted me here is that they do not evaluate us on our revenue or profit," Yu said, adding that Hangzhou Samdi received 3 million yuan ($472,440) in initial funding when he set it up last year. "Instead, they focus on our potential and the venture capital we have attracted."

Similar companies are sprouting up in Dream Town since it was opened in March. By the end of July, there were more than 60 startups, employing 2,100 staff. Many are involved in 3-D printing and smartphone app projects.

The incredibly success story of Alibaba has helped trigger the rush, according to Zhao Qikai, deputy director of the administrative committee of Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City, which is in charge of this innovation center.

"Alibaba is like a role model in Hangzhou that encourages young people to pursue their dreams," he said. "The company also provides free service platforms for startups there."

Data released from Hangzhou Bureau of Industry and Commerce showed there were 8,876 startups in the city, set up by 19,000 college students, by the end of last year.

Shen Aixiang, 23, was one of them. He is CEO of the country's first online camping travel service platform E-camping. The Zhejiang University graduate turned down a 200,000 yuan job from Procter & Gamble Co, or P&G, the multinational consumer products company, to launch his own business in Dream Town.

Eight months after setting up his company, Shen has received two rounds of fund-raising by angel investors, including IDG Ventures, a global family of venture funds with approximately $3.6 billion under management.

"The atmosphere in Dream Town is aspirational," Shen said, declining to reveal exact funding figures. "Knowing there are thousands of passionate young people like me who are fighting for their own startups is the ideal encouragement. Starting a business is no longer just for a small group of privileged people. College graduates can also fulfill their dreams here," he added.

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