Beijing is the new favourite start-up ecosystem in Asia. It debuted on The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2017 at no. 4 just behind Silicon Valley, New York City and London (up from no. 6)
Two years ago, it didn’t even feature in the ranking and Singapore, at no.10, was the Asian start-up city to look out for.
Now, not only have 10,000 start-up leaders and 300 partner organisations collectively ranked it 4th in the world, they have also named Beijing 1st in Asia in fostering and sustaining vibrant start-up ecosystems in the report by Startup Genome. In addition, in a survey of 2,100 entrepreneurs across 21 cities conducted by the National Survey Research Center and Renmin University of China, Beijing was voted the best environment for start-ups in China.
It’s clear Beijing is hot as a start-up spot. Here are five reasons why.
1. Government support
The Chinese government has been promoting mass entrepreneurship as a core focus of its five-year plan, setting aside 2.2 trillion yuan (nearly US$320 billion) to provide venture capital to start-ups. The money is aimed at reducing a reliance on heavy industry and supporting innovation, especially in the field of technology. So, new businesses now have extra help to gain a foothold in the Beijing market.
2. Networking opportunities
Beijing hosts three large tech centres: ZhongGuanCun, SanLiTun and GuoMao. Apart from offering numerous co-working spaces for new businesses, top companies such as Lenovo, and international brand-name stores like Adidas and Uniqlo also have their offices there. This provides plenty of networking opportunities for start-ups and a chance to benefit from the creative vibe of the place. Setting your start-up there will ensure that you are at the heart of Beijing’s innovation industry.
3. Large consumer market
China has the largest population in the world and Beijing itself boasts over 21 million people. In addition to this massive domestic market, there is also an extremely high rate of consumer-adoption in Beijing, meaning that new services and products have a high chance of becoming widespread in a short time. What’s more, the millennial population in China, numbering almost seven million, is generally more inclined to spend on leisure as compared to previous generations. This, of course, makes it ideal for start-ups to gain traction and achieve successful promotion of their brand name.
4. Strong and substantial talent pool
A strong start-up requires strong people. Being home to three top-notch universities: Tsinghua University, Peking University and Renmin University of China, Beijing has no shortage of talents be they full-time staff or interns.
Furthermore, these universities, along with many others in China, have opened compulsory or optional courses on entrepreneurship and innovation, making their students readier and more willing to participate in start-up businesses.
5. Infrastructure and connectivity
As the capital city, Beijing is China’s economic, cultural and political centre. Naturally, it enjoys a well-developed infrastructure. Its physical as well as political position, coupled with a highly efficient transport network, provides easy access to raw materials and services that will facilitate any importing or exporting required in your business. The strong infrastructure and connectivity of Beijing thus provide the backbone to support the success of your start-up.