Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
thechamp

'A Swede Returns to Silicon Valley from China' article

Recommended Posts

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

vellocet

Honestly he comes across like a gigantic self-absorbed douchebag.  No wonder he fit in to Beijing so well.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thechamp

Haha, yes....I do kind of agree. And it's weird how much he talks about computers without ever really mentioning programming

 

But my question is more, is this kind of thing really possible or just nonsense. I can't see how a foreigner can realistically start a company in China that could become in any way successful without getting totally hammered by the government as soon as they got beyond 'ramen profitable'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
davoosh

What I found odd was how he was seemingly so shocked by homelessness in the US but described Beijing like a utopia?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vellocet

Virtue signaling.  He can't allow himself to say anything nice about the Americans, even when he goes to a city famous for being kind to bums. Omigod, there they are right on the sidewalk and they want money. :roll:  The guy doesn't know a lot, he refers to San Fran as "Silicon Valley".  Just another hipster douchebag putting on poses. I bet he doesn't even speak Chinese because if he did he would have been sure to mention it and throw in some unnecessary hanzi into his writing just so that we can all see he's an insider.  I'm thankful places like Beijing exist to collect this sort of soul and keep them away from the rest of China. :wink:  It would be a tragedy if they started thinking of Beijing as uncool and started migrating to the provinces.   :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

I find it amusing you heap scorn on him for virtue signalling, while doing much the same signalling in your own post except for different 'virtues'.

 

Not to mention making up stuff about his supposed Chinese level and then tearing him down for it.  That's pretty intellectually dishonest.

 

Finally I also find it highly amusing that you deride him as a hipster douchebag but then go on to do the stereotypically hipster douchebag thing of 'I'm too cool for xxx, yyy is much better' :roll:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thechamp

I posted this more out of an interest in what he was saying rather than how he was saying it....I kind of think the fact that he thinks China is great for starting software companies is kind of naive. Taiwan on the other hand would be awesome

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
davoosh

Don't we all 'virtue signal' to an extent when we express opinions?

While we don't know about his Chinese level and his motivations can't all be evil, he does seem to write about US problems from a socialist point of view I.e. '...pettiness and greed. Not only did the emperor have no clothes, but the naked corpus revealed was unappetizing to my Swedish quasi-socialist ideals' but then dissmisses China's social problems because of the outweighing advantage he sees to his career in Beijing?

(Plus he says 'what up, #BeiArea?'...)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley

I think the main problem from my point of view, is he could have said all he said in about half the wordage or even less, there was a lot of repetition and padding.

 

I think he sees the world through tech coloured spectacles, he was in Beijing at the right time for him and tech, so as far as he is concerned it is the best place for tech. It could have come together in another place at another time.

 

He dismisses the social problems in Beijing because they are outweighed by the speed of development, this shows us that this is more important to him than social problems, the USA fails not because it has problems but because it hasn't anything to balance this against.

 

Its interesting that he felt he wanted to share this with the world, again another insight into how he thinks?

 

There is also something of the "wild west" or should I say the "wild east" at the time he went, a new and exciting frontier in tech and social improvement. This may have also been some of the attraction.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
I kind of think the fact that he thinks China is great for starting software companies is kind of naive. Taiwan on the other hand would be awesome

It depends.  If you're just 1-2 people looking for a low cost place to bootstrap a software startup then yeah, Taiwan is probably going to be the better bet if for no other reason than you'll have fast, unfettered Internet.  For slightly larger startups, and especially Silicon Valley style startups, China, and particularly Beijing have 2 big things going for them (both mentioned in the article).

 

The first is access to talent.  Yes, there are talented software developers in Taiwan, but in China there are just more of them, especially in the Beijing tech district (Zhongguancun) which is located right next to Tsinghua university, which has arguably one of the strongest comp sci programs in China.  Like the author of the article mentioned, you get access to high quality software developers for a fraction of the cost of other places.

 

The second is access to capital.  There's just more money sloshing around in China, and more rich people wanting to splash money around on random software startups.  The author mentioned getting offers better than what he'd get for a similar stage startup in SV, and I don't think the same level of interest and capital is available in Taiwan.  Not to mention that at least to me, Taiwan has more of a hardware focus compared to software.  Especially in Beijing, most of the big Chinese software and Internet companies are based there, likewise, many multinational software/tech companies have their Chinese headquarters there.  There's more of a tech/software scene if you will.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thechamp

I can see the advantage in terms of local talent, I just can't see how people can get past China's intractable government. It seems there'd be a lot of problems with capturing data on Chinese people, and there are IP issues too. My suspicion is that as soon as you were doing anything innovative or profitable, you'd be hassled incessantly.

 

It got me thinking about this guy:

 

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/mark-kitto-youll-never-be-chinese-leaving-china

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
My suspicion is that as soon as you were doing anything innovative or profitable, you'd be hassled incessantly.

A bigger worry is that as soon as you start doing anything innovative or profitable, a bunch of local staff would take their expertise and start a competitor.

 

The government really isn't interested in preventing people from being profitable or innovative.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thechamp

Yea it's what I mean about 'IP issues' - people would just leave and set up alone or go to a local competitor. When I said profitable or interesting also one thing I mean is 'large-scale' or 'doing something the government doesn't understand' with data that was captured locally. You'd be immediately hassled...surely?! 

 

Would be interesting to see if over the next few years, an ambitious foreigner manages to make a decent start up in Beijing that doesn't get bought out very early stage. 

 

I'm hugely skeptical of the guy who wrote this article too btw...I added him on linkedin and he's not replied, and his linkedin doesn't show his Giithub and his experience is apparently 'international sales' whatever that means. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley
that doesn't get bought out very early stage.

 

Maybe getting bought out at an early stage is what the entrepreneur wants :shock:

 

Sometimes its all about new ideas and following through with production, distribution etc is not what they want to do.

 

Then they can get on with the "next big thing"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
You'd be immediately hassled...surely?!

Not necessarily.  Apparently Uber was going fine and didn't really run afoul of government regulation and they would have been capturing all sorts of data.  In the end though, they were out-competed by a local company and just recently sold their China business to that same company.

 

I'm sure there are all sorts of startups you could do that the government really isn't going to care about.  I mean sure, if you're going to do something with mapping, or something that gives people unrestricted speech, then the government probably is going to start interfering if you get big, but if your focus is more on business customers rather than consumers (like the company in the article) I imagine there's less likely to be a government issue.

 

.I added him on linkedin and he's not replied

Do you reply to random strangers you add you on linked in?  I personally don't use linked in, although from time to time I'll get emails saying someone wants to add me and those emails go straight to the trash.  Not to mention he's probably busy running a company.  What is an acceptable response time from a busy person who you don't know?  It's unlikely he's going to drop everything to respond the moment your notification comes in.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thechamp

I'm just curious about it. I do add strangers randomly on linkedin, yea!

 

I added one of the global development managers at Uber China Growth, who was a friend of a friend just cos I heard they were hiring in China, and had my first round of interviews but was waiting on the technical one and then they suddenly said Uber China Growth over-hired, so yeah I know about the Uber stuff too, and was suddenly awash with clarity when I read about the sale of the China business. 

 

Personally I still wouldn't do it, and if I were a software company I wouldn't outsource there either, despite the cheap labour.

 

Basically for the reasons laid out in that Brit's article, and for the recent experiences of various tech giants trying to enter China, as well as the IP issues (coupled with a totally obfuscatory legal system).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
zhouhaochen

Having started a school (which for the Chinese government is a business too), I think I might be able to add something to the "can a foreigner start a successful business in China" discussion, which is easy enough to answer:

Yes they can and many have. Sanlitun is filled with many very successful foreign owned bars and restaurants and there are all kinds of foreign owned business in Beijing, from fashion design brands to start ups and manufacturing.

Does a foreign enterprise get checked more? Yes it does. Does that mean you cannot run one? Absolutely no.

The Beijing Start Up community is very active and while it is - not surprisingly - dominated by Chinese, there are plenty of foreigners in there. Collecting data on people in China is unfortunately very little regulated (very little privacy law enforcement) and with WeChat China is far ahead of most other countries when it comes to using your mobile phone to run your life (even my local 小卖部 know takes WeChat and Alipay).

I am no internet person (if it was up to me, we could go back to writing letters and actually talking to people...), but would assume the biggest challenge for a foreigner running a start up in China is understanding the Chinese consumer and you would have to probably be at a pretty amazingly high Chinese level to compete.

Cheap labour I would not be so sure though, at least in Beijing.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

would assume the biggest challenge for a foreigner running a start up in China is understanding the Chinese consumer

Depends on the startup. Many startups (like the one in the article) are targeted at businesses, not the consumer.

With regards to cheap labour, it's in comparison to Silicon Valley prices. Consider for example entry level salaries at Facebook/Google, including stock and signing bonus can work out to USD 200k+ anually and at smaller startups is still USD100k+, I'd say yes, Beijing salaries are still cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nils Pihl

 

 

Honestly he comes across like a gigantic self-absorbed douchebag.  No wonder he fit in to Beijing so well.  

Author here. That is, perhaps, the point of the article? Maybe the other side of trying to build something is becoming a self-absorbed douchebag, I could see that being the case. Just look how I put author here in caps? So vain. ;)

 

 

 

I bet he doesn't even speak Chinese because if he did he would have been sure to mention it and throw in some unnecessary hanzi into his writing just so that we can all see he's an insider.

你说得对!我中文说得很差,一点儿汉字也不懂。我会说的话我肯定要装一下逼。。。

 

 

 

 I'm thankful places like Beijing exist to collect this sort of soul and keep them away from the rest of China.

Me too! It seems we agree on the emphasis of my post, that Beijing is great for a certain kind of people - we just disagree about the social value of those people, I guess. Ultimately, I am very thankful to the city that has been my capital-H Home for the last 6 years. Am I seeing the city through colored lenses? Most likely - but I don't know that your criticism is any less biased.

 

 

 

Its interesting that he felt he wanted to share this with the world, again another insight into how he thinks?

The profile is almost complete. Collect your honorary degree in armchair psychology. :)  Jokes aside, I did feel compelled to share this because I think that Beijing is getting an unfair shake - that we're missing an opportunity to both improve Beijing by participating in the new culture and to improve our arguably aging institution of SV.

 

 

 

I'm hugely skeptical of the guy who wrote this article too btw...I added him on linkedin and he's not replied, and his linkedin doesn't show his Giithub and his experience is apparently 'international sales' whatever that means. 

Sorry about that! Hope I added you now, I look forward to hearing what you have to say. My LinkedIn doesn't show my github because I am not a programmer, and didn't try to give the impression that I was. What little JS I churn out on occasion is an embarrassment to the talent on our team. Sorry if you feel misled, it was not my intention.

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
davoosh

Well, regardless of views on Beijing and US society, it's certainly nice that the author took the time to post his own comments in reply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...