Study hard and make money fast, was what parents told their offspring in the past when they would sent them off to study. Successful tech giant like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent have created new role models for graduates, tells Shanghai-based VC William Bao Bean in the Technology Review. Aspiration: becoming a VC.
The Technology Review:
Other Chinese tech giants that have gone public in the past decade—Baidu (2005), Alibaba (2014), and Tencent (2015)—had founders who, like Shen, went on to manage VC firms. Often called the “first generation” of China’s Internet titans, they include Alibaba’s Jack Ma, who founded Yunfeng Capital; Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun, who launched Shunwei Capital Partners; and Pony Ma, who has overseen Tencent’s transformation into an investing powerhouse in its own right.
Their impact extends beyond their direct VC investments, inspiring the swelling ranks of both entrepreneurs and investors in China by legitimizing the startup dream. “Before, there was a huge pressure for young people to graduate college and immediately go work for a stable established company and begin to send money back home,” says William Bao Bean, a Shanghai-based partner at venture capital firm SOSV and managing director of Chinaccelerator. “Today the kids who want to launch startups can tell their parents they have role models.” In a survey of graduates from Peking University, one of China’s top colleges, only 4 percent identified as entrepreneurs or self-employed in 2005; by 2013, the proportion had grown to 12 percent.
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