LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman believes the next Silicon Valley will be located in this country
By Glenn Leibowitz, McKinsey Head of Communications, Greater China
In a recent episode of his excellent podcast, “Masters of Scale,” LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman said something that caught my attention:
“Beyond Silicon Valley itself, I believe that the next Silicon Valley is…undoubtedly China. Shenzhen is just one of several cities in China that blow other contenders for the next Silicon Valley out of the water. I would argue Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and possibly Chengdu, are all far ahead of any of the cities we’ve discussed so far…The fact is, China’s tech industry is evolving so rapidly, it catches veterans off guard.”
“There’s a common thread running through their successes. First they have an enormous number of users through which local companies can scale their services. And second, they work fast. Scale favors the swift and you can find few startup scenes as fast-moving as China’s.”
Hoffman continues: “But I would argue that the greatest asset of China’s tech scene, is not just the speed by which massive companies have taken over the market, it’s the talent that now resides in those companies: the executives, programmers, designers, and marketers, who know how to scale a team from a few founders to several thousand employees. They form a critical mass that can scale the next generation of promising startups at blistering speeds.”
For anyone that's working on-the-ground in China today and bearing witness to the extraordinarily hectic pace of innovation and new business-building that's happening here, Hoffman's observation comes as no surprise.
For many startup founders outside of China, however, the market remains a black box. The distance, the language, the culture, the politics: all are formidable barriers that make most entrepreneurs pause. But according to Raymond Chang, a serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience starting and scaling companies in China, if you want to grow your business fast, you should seriously consider expanding into China.