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Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00

Can the next Silicon Valley come out of Beijing?

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Beijing; China, has already produced fast-growing tech companies, like Tencent, Baidu, LightInTheBox and, smartphone maker Xiaomi. Beijing has a great concentration of wealth and as of date sixty eight institutions of higher learning, including China’s best computer science departments. These firms have a clear understanding of the Chinese market and are able to steer through policies that have made it difficult for some U.S. firms to do business.

beijing-02Beijing is also the center of the national government making it, especially a prime location in China. In the 1980s China’s government set in motion ambitious plans to break into high-tech and electronics manufacturing. The Zhongguancun technology hub was created in Beijing, the original in a list of over fifty innovation parks inspired by Silicon Valley.

Beijing has developed its own brands that are leading in their own directions. Some of China’s successes have been seen as clones of US products (e.g. Baidu’s imitation of eBay) but there is also a rise in “lean startup” practices that are tailored just for the Chinese marketplace, its different user needs, culture and which is focused on proactive market research and rapid iteration. It’s not unthinkable therefore that one day Beijing could be on top of the innovation pyramid together with Silicon Valley, East and West; each one producing global companies and creating new industries. With an Internet market of over five hundred million Chinese speaking users; innovators in Beijing have the world’s largest market to satisfy but disruptive technologies such as those we are seeing out of Silicon Valley may take some time (i.e. Google glass, etc); time will tell.

There is a migration of young talents from around China to Beijing which is positioning this location as a principal hub for entrepreneurs, most have never set foot outside China, who are experimenting and creating a new network of innovators that is moving quite rapidly. These young people are gradually moving into technology careers in part due to a shift in cultural thinking, parents formerly pressed their children to only join large stable corporations for lifelong jobs; these days as a result of a focus in the media and the rise of successful startups and availability of venture capital; China is seeing the naissance of technology entrepreneurship. An exciting opportunity for a new competitive and cooperative landscape lies ahead.

Jose Pierre

José Pierre, founder and CEO of Marketware International Inc., leads a firm that provides strategic consulting to both top-tier multinational financial institutions and their vendors as well as turnkey solutions for global trading and portfolio management.


José Pierre founded Marketware International in 1995, based on a vision of developing technology platforms for secure, cost effective, high volume online trading and portfolio management. By 1997, TD Waterhouse, Royal Bank of Canada, CIBC and other top-tier North American firms were clients. In 1999, TD Waterhouse acquired Marketware and Mr. Pierre, as SVP for International Technology for the TD Waterhouse Group, directed the development and delivery of high volume, local securities trading platforms throughout Europe and Asia.

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