The CEO of a Chinese-German AI platform, Fabian von Heimburg, shares the mega trends that will affect European founders
China is accelerating its race towards global leadership in key technologies. To become independent of US companies like IBM, China's government is investing trillions of dollars in their own infrastructure and private tech companies to become the global leader in new technologies.
Fabian von Heimburg experiences the aftermath of the Corona crisis in China first hand. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of “Hotnest Technology”, a China-Germany based AI Marketing and Consulting Automation Platform based in Shanghai which has received about 8 Million USD in funding. Because China was the first to be hit by the virus and acted quickly, it was also the first country to begin to recover from it.
Therefore, some trends that can be observed there, will be seen in Europe a few months later. Fabian points out three key megatrends from China entrepreneurs should be aware of:
China’s doubling down on investments in Deep Tech
With its “new infrastructure strategy” China’s society, government and startup ecosystem is doubling down on key developments and technologies that already started before the crisis. This sees 1.4 trillion USD to promote developments in 5G, Deep Tech, Smart City, Smart manufacturing, the Industrial Internet and adjacent technologies. As China is about 2 to 3 months ahead of Europe in the course of the pandemic, he expects a similar development later on in Europe:
“We will, apart from all the rescue packages, see some kind of Big Plan (aimed) towards the (industries of the) future (...) like eLearning, Digital Health, Big Data and AI.” He is sure that investments will double or even triple in these sectors in Europe.
At the same time, in China startups did not get the same support as in Germany and because the startup ecosystem is the most competitive in China, many companies went bankrupt especially if their business model was not sustainable long-term, so that only the stronger business models survived.
B2B in China is a big opportunity for European founders
It's hard for European founders to succeed in China because of the strong competition and foreign marketplace but Fabian sees new opportunities:
“You need to be in the right area in China, which (are areas like) B2B Deep Tech, Big Data, Smart City. (...) If you have money now, and if you’re one of the lucky ones and you’re in the right area, that is a very good time for opportunities right now.”
Most of Chinas’ businesses were traditionally focused on B2C right now and the B2B market has not been fully discovered yet. As Europe is way ahead in B2B, founders should look at the opportunities that lie in that huge market. This is especially a big opportunity for founders in B2B hubs, such as Munich.
Changes in Behaviour: Business will pick up speed
Another development he points to is the behaviour changes that are happening in the workplace and are already the new normal in China. Business is a lot faster in China than it is in Europe because people are already merging their working and social apps, like WeChat, and are trained to be constantly available and always online. In China you are expected to reply to an email no later than 2 hours after receiving it. In Europe you will sometimes wait for an answer to your email for about 1 or 2 days. He says:
“I think the email will also be obsolete in the future and you will have more chat based programs and in the end (that’s) great for founders because that means that business picks up a lot of speed.”
That means for European founders that business development and other processes can thereby be accelerated and communication will be facilitated.