World / Reporter's Journal

As season changes, thoughts in Silicon Valley turn to startups

By Chang Jun (China Daily USA) Updated: 2016-09-13 12:19

Autumn symbolizes the season of harvest. In Silicon Valley, it signals a series of startup competitions among the best and brightest Chinese Americans.

China in recent years has been stepping up efforts to seek growth in innovation and build its overall strength in science and technology.

Addressing a conference staged by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the national congress of the China Association for Science and Technology on May 3, President Xi Jinping said that China should establish itself as "one of the most innovative countries by 2020 and a leading innovator by 2030, before becoming a world-leading science and technology power by 2049".

Among the several tech events I've attended recently, the overwhelming enthusiasm of participants along with Chinese investors' unquenchable thirst for good projects impressed me deeply.

As season changes, thoughts in Silicon Valley turn to startups

I can't help but agree that China is in a golden era of massive innovation and entrepreneurship. The United States, especially Silicon Valley, the world's center for technology innovation, should partner with China while taking advantage of America being the tech and innovation leader.

On Aug 29, the US-China Association of High-level Professionals (UCAHP) held a news conference in Santa Clara to announce that its annual North America Chinese Startup Contest, now in its seventh year, is open to applications worldwide with programs to be scrutinized by a knowledgeable team of judges.

On Sept 10, 12 teams of US regional finalists competed at Stanford University at the Create@Alibaba Cloud Startup Contest (CACSC), an event co-sponsored by the Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing division of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and Hanhai Investment, a business incubator with three locations in the Bay Area.

Wang Junming, science and technology counselor at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, who addressed the two events, encouraged participants to explore opportunities for tech innovation and entrepreneurship through platforms of competitions in Silicon Valley; take advantage of policies and incentives offered by the Chinese government; and to best monetize their technology know-how and scholarly research.

"I'm thrilled to learn that about 13,000 individuals (brought) in 2,500 projects through UCAHP contests over six years," said Wang. "This is a miracle."

Roy Kong, the main organizer, said this year that the contest will focus on new technology and industry such as smart manufacturing, smart living, artificial intelligence, new materials, robots, big data, cloud computing and mobile internet. Initial program screening will take place between coasts in the US and Canada.

The final competition is on Jan 7 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Kong said that this year's judges are composed of experts across industries and areas with investors from China, the US, Germany, Israel and India. "We are more international and global-minded this time."

Two teams selected from the CACSC US demo day, one from Boston and the other from Indiana, each received $50,000 credit to be used on Alibaba Cloud products and services, and a chance to receive $100,000 investment from Hanhai Investment, plus sponsored trip to compete in Hangzhou at the World Final Alibaba Clound Yunqi Conference in October.

The winner of the global final will receive a seat in the Alibaba Cloud's 18 Founders program.

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