Magnet for the service providers

By Chai Hua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-08 08:08

Magnet for the service providers

An inventor wears a self-made high-tech helmet at a startup fair in Shenzhen in June 2015. [Photo/China Daily]

Flourishing startups and entrepreneurialism in Shenzhen have attracted international resources to the city.

It is becoming a destination to realize foreign makers' ideas and a rising market for new economy's service providers of the world.

Pierre Martin, economic counselor at the French Consulate in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, said many French startups had come to Shenzhen for a very specific phase of their development.

He said: "They already have the idea and come here to develop a prototype in three to six months."

In October, the French Tech Hub, a worldwide network initiated by the French government to offer talent and resources service for French entrepreneurs, was set up in Shenzhen.

So far, the hub has attracted more than 40 members and it has been growing in the past few months, said Martin.

Besides Shenzhen's strength in manufacturing power, the proximity of Hong Kong is another key asset, he continued, adding the French Tech Hubs in Shenzhen and Hong Kong complement each other.

He said: "Shenzhen excels in hardware development and access to the Chinese market, while Hong Kong is for financial investment and marketing."

Their proximity is also the motivation for Shenzhen to join the global innovation sectors.

In 2010 the world's largest hardware incubator HAX Accelerator established an office in Huaqiang North, where makers or inventors can find various electronic gadgets at a fair price.

So far it has incubated more than 100 startups and about 90 percent are international teams.

About half of Shenzhen's foreigners are makers, Shirley Feng, founder of the Sino-Finnish Design Park, spoke from her experience.

Magnet for the service providers

A foreign maker shows children how to use the laser cutting technology at a week-long national mass innovation and entrepreneurship campaign in Shenzhen in 2016. [Photo provided to China Daily]

She founded the park in 2014 with a complete service line from seeding to incubators and accelerators. Last year it has realized total output value of 2 billion yuan and successfully incubated more than 320 startup projects.

She admitted Shenzhen's overall international environment is not at the same level of Shanghai and Beijing, where many Fortune 500 companies are located, but it definitely stands out in terms of makers' international level.

Foreign businessmen, makers and service providers come to the city because they want to be involved in the burgeoning new economy, she noted.

MIT's Fab Lab established an office in the Park in 2015. "One of its aims is to help international makers and startups find partners in Shenzhen to make prototype and even mass production," she said.

The entrepreneurship-promoter said the production ability is one of Shenzhen's biggest attractions for international makers. The Fab Lab will open the world's first Fab-factory in May.

But more importantly, its industry development direction is in line with what international pioneers are focusing on, such as wearable devices, drones and robots.

It has also attracted a dozen of world famous designers to provide industrial design for international and local makers' ideas.

A top crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, has also teamed up with the Park and believes the startup projects in the Park are suitable for the individual investors at their platform.

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