Beijing - Friday Evening – January 19
The traffic is crawling below my hotel window, and I mean crawling, but the entrepreneurs and investors in Beijing are in full action, talking up deals in the lobby and all over town. Horns are honking and the hotel is filled to overflowing. Their faces are as red as the lanterns hung all over the city in anticipation of the Chinese New Year. It is exciting, reminding me of early days of setting up the first semiconductor factories in Singapore back in the stone age, in the ‘70s.
This town may be crowded and bursting at the seams, but it is also filled with very optimistic local entrepreneurs. At the BlueRun Ventures event last night, I compared notes with Danny Lui, serial entrepreneur and private investor, now leading Zero2IPO www.zero2ipo.com in China. He agreed: the deals being made here are hot and heavy, with investors expecting quick returns. It is a buyers market with entrepreneurs setting the valuations very high. The momentum is in their favor.
Meanwhile the wave of deep pocketed American VCs are arriving. In addition to BlueRun Ventures with their vision of global reaching support for their startups, there is the new Sequoia China fund and more are on their way. John Malloy and Jui Tan of BlueRun said they are competing successfully for good deals and expect to see more in 2006. They said each deal has the potential to go NASDAQ IPO within five years.
Beijing entrepreneurs are focused on doing startups in China to serve only the local China market market. Exceptions that think global are rare, but they are here. The bulk of my audience last night saw no reason to go worldwide, ever. They will have to take their chances and probably learn in the school of hard knocks that we have entered a new era of venturing. It’s now all about competing globally.
I took a break from speaking today and spent the time with my China publishing agent, talking to people about translating The Power of Unfair Advantage to simple Chinese. Jackie is an ace. She now has two firms qualified and interested. Meanwhile, I got news that a publisher in Taiwan has jumped on the chance to do the complex Chinese version. So I’ll be back in the Middle Kingdom sooner than I had expected. That is very cool.
BOTTOM LINE: Beware of bubbles but meanwhile drink the champagne before it runs out. And aim for the gold medal, not the bronze. Go global from day one. If you miss the bronze there is no medal.
Tomorrow I’ll tour the Forbidden City and visit the Great Wall. The weather is 40F to 19F and reminds me of a balmy day in my old home state of Minnesota. Now if only I had a personal helicopter waiting to take me beyond the traffic congestion below . . . Ah the dreams of the proverbial engineer!
Come to Mumbai to talk with me on Tuesday, January 24.
Join us! We'll have some startup fun!