It was the coffee slurp heard around the world.
In an effort to drum up support for an innovation-based economy, Premier Li Keqiang last week was photographed drinking a coffee at the 3W cafe, an incubator at the heart of China’s innovation strip in Beijing. The photo, which has gone viral, brings into focus the country’s innovation mania and the Chinese government’s encouragement of this trend.
As the Chinese government struggles to restructure the country’s export and investment dependent economy, it is calling on young people to start their own businesses. And young Chinese entrepreneurs are heeding the call.
Many are inspired by Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba. Even SoftBank, Alibaba’s largest shareholder, is getting in on the action. SoftBank China Venture Capital has ten offices in China from Beijing to Shenzhen, according to China Spectator.
But SoftBank isn’t the only venture capital firm looking for success in the fast growing sector. American, Asian, Australian and Chinese firms are throwing money around in an effort to find the next Alibaba.
A recent PwC report said Chinese companies made up 34% of global technology initial public offerings in 2014, compared with just 13% in 2013. Venture capitalists poured $15.5 billion into China deals last year, more than twice the previous record of $7.34 billion set in 2011.