The third day of the 2017 Yenching Global Symposium was opened by a keynote speaker Eric X. Li. Eric X. Li is a venture capitalist, and political scientist based in Shanghai. He is the founder and managing director of Chengwei Capital.
During his speech, titled “The Chinese Entrepreneurial Economy – The Next 10 Years” Eric Li introduced his company’s work and perspectives on the future of the Chinese entrepreneurship. He began the presentation by raising two bets: “The most valuable company in the world 10 years from now will be a Chinese tech company. The second most valuable company in the world 10 years from now will be a Chinese tech company”.
Eric Li gave some examples of the companies that Chengwei Capital invests in. Those being AAC technologies (the world’s largest mobile acoustics provider), 1 Smart (the largest after-school education company in Shanghai), Youku (the largest video company in China), and Koudai (the largest mobile e-commerce social network in China). All the companies are immensely successful and have experienced exponential growth in their value and volume in the past few years.
Li talked about the major paradigm shifts in the Chinese entrepreneurial economy that allowed for such an expansion. First of all, raw growth in terms of volume is no longer the primary focus, as many businesses are turning their attention towards the value growth. This is happening due to the consumers being interested in the goods and services that they want, but not necessarily need, and also due to various entrepreneurial improvements.
The presentation was concluded by a discussion on the competition and innovation that is happening both among the largest companies of China, such as Baidu or Alibaba, and also among the very recent unique start-ups. These start-ups are challenging the existing system and are more willing to expand globally. These companies include not only domestically concentrated businesses, as Mobike or Didi, but also fully foreign-focused platforms, such as Musical.ly or APUS Group.
The presentation by Eric X. Li gave an insight into the market of unicorn companies that are ever-multiplying in China and their relationship to the established market and the venture capitalism.