Marc van der Chijs

Compared to Silicon Valley, foreign entrepreneurs setting up start-ups have a tougher life in China, says Shanghai-based serial entrepreneur Marc van der Chijs in ZDNetasia.  Having good partners and network connections is key, he adds.


“China is like a jungle without a lot of laws [in terms of] business ethics. It is survival of the fittest,” van der Chijs told ZDNet Asia in an interview, as he elaborated on the intense competition. “People really fight [and] there’s no cooperation between companies.”…

van der Chijs observed that the difference in the competitive spirits of Silicon Valley and Chinese is cultural. In the U.S., it is more a “team sports”, he described, noting that entrepreneurs there help each other out as they believe more heads are better than one.

In China, however, they do not think that more people equals better results. Having grown up in a tough environment, local entrepreneurs have had to learn to fend for themselves, he explained, adding that there is also a culture to always be number one…

He also emphasized that these expats will need to spend sufficient time in China to know the ground well and identify the right business partners.

“People think of China as the holy grail,” van der Chijs said. “They come fresh out of the plane [thinking] they can make it, but then they all fail.

“If you know the right people and know how to work your way around, you can succeed, but these are things you can only learn if you’re there a long enough time.”

He said Tudou was successful because it was based on a local partnership and focused only on the domestic Chinese market.

More in ZDNetasia.

Marc van der Chijs is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

More on Marc van der Chijs and doing online business in China at Storify.


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