Getting A Full Glimpse of China Opportunities Through venture leaders China 2016

In the early morning of Tuesday 25th October, 10 selected high-tech Swiss entrepreneurs landed in Beijing. The overnight flight was tiring but they were totally ready for the 3rd edition of venture leaders China program, organized by venturelab and swissnex China. The program gave them an opportunity across China (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong) in ten days to broaden their knowledge about the country and its business environment through a series of non-stop pitch events, coaching workshops and meetings with local investors as well as potential partners.

venture leaders China 2016 collage_meitu_1One of the highlight events is the reception event held in the Swiss Embassy in the evening of October 26th. The Swiss Ambassador to China, H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel, invited around 70 VIP guests to the reception and the venture leaders had the chance to present themselves and then network with the audience, among whom the majority were C-level managers and powerful investors. Another unforgettable event was in Shanghai, which was called “Swiss Pitchfest”. The ten venture leaders had two minutes to pitch their ideas to the audience followed by one minute dedicated to questions and answers. At the end the audience had to vote for the best and most interesting pitch. Being neck and neck with its competitor, 1Drop Diagnosis, a med tech startup was selected and rewarded.

venture leaders China 2016 collage_meitu_2In order to equip them as much “China knowledge” as possible, over 40 experts and local entrepreneurs with experience in finances, investment, intellectual property, med tech, Chinese regulations, biology, and medicine, were invited to coach and share with the venture leaders both in Beijing and Shanghai. During the coaching and sharing sessions, the venture leaders had the chance to present their biggest challenges to the experts and to get answers to their biggest problems as well as critical feedbacks about their products and ideas. Though everybody understood that it is too difficult to fully grasp the highly-complex China market in few hours, the coaching sessions were very instructive for their next step on their way to market entry. One of the startup founders said, “learning from others I see the positive aspects of China far exceed the risks and the country is an incredible market opportunity.”

The trip finished in the south of China. Two “Investment Nights” were organized for the Swiss startups to help them getting in touch with more than 50 investors. One was hosted by Shenzhen Investment, a local government unit while another was prepared with the support of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong. In Shenzhen, the venture leaders visited Tencent, where they got a close look at this giant Chinese Internet company and discovered how it has transformed the communication of modern Chinese society through the creation of WeChat, which now has over 800 billion active users every month.

“China represents a huge opportunity but it can also be challenging to approach, this program increased our understanding of China and helped us make valuable local contacts – in a country where networks and relationships are essential to doing business.” The ten-day experience indeed gave the Swiss tech entrepreneurs a full glimpse at one of the most amazing, fastest moving markets of the world. As the local organizer of venture leaders China, swissnex China believes that the program will continue to serve as the unique eye-opening and empowering program for Swiss tech entrepreneurs to expand to China.