Arjun Kharpal, a senior technology correspondent for CNBC, has moved to southern China’s Guangzhou from London, opening a new page for his career in the media industry.
Arjun, who made the move last November, said in an interview with Asia Times: “Being on the ground in Guangzhou allows us to get to the heart of China tech stories.
“In southern China, there is so much innovation going on. When you look at what’s happening in Guangzhou at the moment, there are lots of big technology companies and new start-ups popping up. For example, Tencent’s WeChat has its headquarters in Guangzhou. It’s broadly part of a bigger story about the Greater Bay Area as well. ”
The Greater Bay Area – short for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – is a plan launched by the central government to transform the area into a world-class city cluster. Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong Province, is also geographically the center of GBA.
The area has been equated with other international bay areas in New York, Tokyo and San Francisco. Guangzhou Nansha government is currently collaborating with CNBC to hold an annual event called “East Tech West,” to give global audiences a deeper understanding of technological developments in China.
Arjun said that as a newcomer to Guangzhou, he was amazed at the lifestyle opportunities in China. “Because I focus so much on technology, I have been able to understand how Chinese consumers live their lives through all these mobile apps, the payment system, the food delivery and the e-commerce sites,” he said, adding on a personal note that “I love the food. People are very relaxed, laid-back and friendly in Guangzhou.”
Before coming to China, Arjun was a senior technology correspondent in London. “London is obviously a major financial center and a very critical technology hub in Europe. What you see in London is the development of a lot of financial technologies or Fintech. It has also become a key hub for artificial intelligence,” he said.
In terms of technological development, Arjun said the growth pace in China is faster than UK. “China has a market with more than a billion consumers. A lot of technology companies are able to scale up very quickly. Scale is crucial for any company. It can be difficult if you are in a small market,” he said.
Due to his job, he can visit a lot of important and influential tech companies in China. This April, he had an exclusive interview with Ren Zhengfei, the 75-year-old founder and chief executive of Huawei, which is a Shenzhen-based equipment maker, to talk about China-US trade and tech wars. Arjun was deeply impressed by Ren’s calmness and open mind.
Arjun has been a journalist all of his career. When he was graduated with a masters degree in journalism in 2013, it was a difficult time for the media industry. In the digital era, traditional media companies were struggling to make profit. “You have to think about what’s next and what will be the trends. You have to reinvent yourself all the time to stay relevant,” said Arjun, adding that a technology reporters should learn to think like a tech entrepreneur.
This article was written by Huang Wanyi in Chinese on ATimesCN.com. Huang also wrote the English version.