China Hi Tech Fair - November 2015 (Post Event Report)

 Shenzhen, China

November 16-21, 2015

In 1980, Shenzhen, nestled just across the border from Hong Kong, became a special economic zone, a testing ground for capitalism in China, and in the grand scheme of things went from being a town of 30,000 fishermen into a great metropolis in a span of just 30 years, with a population of over 20 million. It is a city to behold, a prosperous giant city with hi tech industries, innovation. In a US city, this is all expected but it was a stunning revelation when I stepped out in the city in day light and held my breath as I witnessed sky high buildings and first-class infrastructure to facilitate economic growth. It is no surprise that the city and the region around Shenzhen is expected to continue to grow exponentially which in turn would attract the smartest people from all over the country. The importance of the region therefore cannot be overstated in the grand scheme of things for a country like Pakistan, particularly when Pakistan enjoys undisputed goodwill, not just at government level but also among general population across the board as I witnessed firsthand multiple times during my 7 day stay.

Approved by the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 1999, China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF) is held in Shenzhen from November 16 to 21 every year. It is co-hosted by Ministry of Commerce and other state ministries and Shenzhen Municipal People's Government and is the largest and most influential Chinese technical exhibition, which is well known as the "No. 1 Technology Show in China." This event should therefore be on absolute top priority of PSEB and Pakistan IT companies when planning overseas marketing, networking, collaboration and cooperation opportunities.  It must be stated that not focusing on vibrant Chinese clusters is a major oversight by both Pakistani companies as well as policy makers. 

China Hi Tech Fair was the largest exhibition that I have seen so far. With 150,000 sqm of space, 3686 exhibitors, delegations from 28 countries, nearly 600,000 visitors from 90 countries, China HI Tech fair can be counted among world’s largest exhibitions. Exhibitors showcased thousands of hi-tech products at CHTF 2015, which covered industries of Energy Saving & Environmental Protection, Smart Wearable Devices, Internet+, Unmanned System, Robot, Big Data, New Energy, New Material, IOT, Smart Home, Optoelectronics Display, Aerospace, Smart City and Modern Agriculture, etc.

PSEB booth was located in a prime location with three sides open. PSEB booth therefore saw heavy visitor traffic and PSEB member companies interacted with a large number of prospective customers. It is however pertinent to note that overwhelmingly large number of professionals that I interacted with had absolutely no knowledge of Pakistan’s IT industry capabilities.  In fact, nearly 99.5% of the Chinese Professionals that I interacted with did not even know that the IT industry or any industry for that matter actually existed in Pakistan. The presence of Pakistan’s IT booth was therefore immensely helpful in creating Pakistan’s perception as a viable and feasible destination for outsourcing in literal terms. The undersigned quickly ran out of business cards as well as brochures.

The number of indigenously developed products and services displayed at the exhibition was literally breath taking as these were no copy and paste jobs. The undersigned attempted to visit as many companies as possible and apprised them on the value of setting up operations in Pakistan. As has been stated earlier and it is worthwhile to note it again that the representatives of 99.5% of the companies were genuinely surprised to hear the story on Pakistan’s IT industry and its prowess. My impression is that Pakistan is perceived as a good friend of China among Chinese professionals but no one knows if Pakistan has an IT sector and that they “Chinese” should collaborate with Pakistani IT companies. `           

Shenzhen is a city that must be studied by Pakistani stakeholders and policy makers. Shenzhen is an entrepreneurial hotbed as is evident from the fact that nearly one third of China’s venture capital and private equity companies hail from his city. The city attracts the best and the brightest from all over China which contributes to the city’s ability to sustain eye popping growth for incredibly longest stretches of duration that almost seems to defy economic rules as any city country can be made to grow economically through implementation of the correct policies but the real challenge is to keep the growth momentum going.  

Shenzhen Government is also focused on fostering green technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship. One of the interesting government programs is focused on luring expatriate Chinese professionals and students back to China by offering them grants and startup capital. Shenzhen city has dedicated state of the art office space for those returning to China. The government of Shenzhen’s policies are working in luring skilled Chinese back to Shenzhen. Smart money is chasing opportunity in Shenzhen, which has an entrepreneurial business culture, boosted by public and private support for emerging startups. The city has China’s highest ratio of business owners.

Shenzhen’s established pool of high-tech companies, broad talent pool and extensive constellation of hardware factories give it formidable advantages against other world cities as Shenzhen’s tech scene has achieved a critical mass that draws top talent in the software and hardware industries. A lot of the most dynamic companies in China are based in Shenzhen, not just Ten cent, but also BYD, Huawei, ZTE and others. As is the case with the Silicon Valley, top talent from the aforementioned companies often strike out on their own and establish new companies, leveraging their local connections and experience to branch out in different directions thereby ensuring that the cycle is self-sustaining. In some areas of Shenzhen, as I was informed, the cost of one sqm of space goes for an incredible US$120,000.

As should be clear by repeated inferences in this article, the growth of Shenzhen can be directly traced to its unfettering focus on attracting the smartest people from all over the country and combine them with encouraging policy tools that create the right environment for economic growth.

We, in Pakistan may be proud of the incubation programs but cannot hold a candle to the number, sheer depth, breadth, scope, and success of the incubation programs in Shenzhen. Government-sponsored incubator program offers extensive subsidized loans as well as direct investment in fledgling companies. These are backed by private entities for example Haxlr8r offer short-term programs to help companies turn ideas into manufactured products that can then be used to raise funds from investors. As I discovered during my discussions it is the startups and incubators are the ones that seem to contribute heavily to what Shenzhen is today. The city even has startup cafes such as Beta Cafe, 3W Coffee.  A lot of startups can live and grow with very small amounts of capital but lack the experience and network of advisors to give them help and advice during critical times in their business. This is something money cannot buy and it takes a long time to develop a support network and community and the government ensures that it is available.

After my visit to Shenzhen to attend CHTF, I have come away convinced that nothing is more important for Pakistan than having as many incubators programs as possible with as much as support as possible as that support can mean the difference between top talent taking the risk and starting a company or take the safe route to become an executive at a large company or simply leaving the country. In Pakistan, we actually encourage our top talent to leave the country in hope of increasing remittances. Chinese are doing it the opposite way, making all possible able to attract smart expatriate Chinese back to the country.

Pakistan needs to study the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone which was created in formerly communist China to allow investors to set up factories that employed workers to make shoes, toys and electronics for export. Policies tested there were later spread nationwide, sparking a more than 97 fold expansion of China’s economy. An incredible 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result of those policies, three times the population of Pakistan. It also transformed China from an agrarian society into one where urban residents now outnumber those in the countryside. China, a low cost country is no more, this is evident from rising wages which have pushed Nike Inc., Top Form International Ltd. and other companies to seek lower labor costs in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. This is a development on which Pakistan may be able to capitalize on.

It is pertinent to note on a side note that Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are the only economies that have moved from middle-income to developed nation status (US$24000 income) while maintaining relatively high growth rates. Chinese ability to lift 600 million people out of poverty is also a near miracle of economic wizardry and top notch policies. Population control appear to be one of the tools that Chinese used. It is worth noting that the one child policy has been loosened in China across the board, a sign of Chine coming of age. It remains to be seen if Pakistan can achieve relative prosperity and quality of life for its 220 million citizens.

 

Shenzhen, China

November 16-21, 2015

In 1980, Shenzhen, nestled just across the border from Hong Kong, became a special economic zone, a testing ground for capitalism in China, and in the grand scheme of things went from being a town of 30,000 fishermen into a great metropolis in a span of just 30 years, with a population of over 20 million. It is a city to behold, a prosperous giant city with hi tech industries, innovation. In a US city, this is all expected but it was a stunning revelation when I stepped out in the city in day light and held my breath as I witnessed sky high buildings and first-class infrastructure to facilitate economic growth. It is no surprise that the city and the region around Shenzhen is expected to continue to grow exponentially which in turn would attract the smartest people from all over the country. The importance of the region therefore cannot be overstated in the grand scheme of things for a country like Pakistan, particularly when Pakistan enjoys undisputed goodwill, not just at government level but also among general population across the board as I witnessed firsthand multiple times during my 7 day stay.

Approved by the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 1999, China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF) is held in Shenzhen from November 16 to 21 every year. It is co-hosted by Ministry of Commerce and other state ministries and Shenzhen Municipal People's Government and is the largest and most influential Chinese technical exhibition, which is well known as the "No. 1 Technology Show in China." This event should therefore be on absolute top priority of PSEB and Pakistan IT companies when planning overseas marketing, networking, collaboration and cooperation opportunities.  It must be stated that not focusing on vibrant Chinese clusters is a major oversight by both Pakistani companies as well as policy makers. 

China Hi Tech Fair was the largest exhibition that I have seen so far. With 150,000 sqm of space, 3686 exhibitors, delegations from 28 countries, nearly 600,000 visitors from 90 countries, China HI Tech fair can be counted among world’s largest exhibitions. Exhibitors showcased thousands of hi-tech products at CHTF 2015, which covered industries of Energy Saving & Environmental Protection, Smart Wearable Devices, Internet+, Unmanned System, Robot, Big Data, New Energy, New Material, IOT, Smart Home, Optoelectronics Display, Aerospace, Smart City and Modern Agriculture, etc.

PSEB booth was located in a prime location with three sides open. PSEB booth therefore saw heavy visitor traffic and PSEB member companies interacted with a large number of prospective customers. It is however pertinent to note that overwhelmingly large number of professionals that I interacted with had absolutely no knowledge of Pakistan’s IT industry capabilities.  In fact, nearly 99.5% of the Chinese Professionals that I interacted with did not even know that the IT industry or any industry for that matter actually existed in Pakistan. The presence of Pakistan’s IT booth was therefore immensely helpful in creating Pakistan’s perception as a viable and feasible destination for outsourcing in literal terms. The undersigned quickly ran out of business cards as well as brochures.

The number of indigenously developed products and services displayed at the exhibition was literally breath taking as these were no copy and paste jobs. The undersigned attempted to visit as many companies as possible and apprised them on the value of setting up operations in Pakistan. As has been stated earlier and it is worthwhile to note it again that the representatives of 99.5% of the companies were genuinely surprised to hear the story on Pakistan’s IT industry and its prowess. My impression is that Pakistan is perceived as a good friend of China among Chinese professionals but no one knows if Pakistan has an IT sector and that they “Chinese” should collaborate with Pakistani IT companies. `           

Shenzhen is a city that must be studied by Pakistani stakeholders and policy makers. Shenzhen is an entrepreneurial hotbed as is evident from the fact that nearly one third of China’s venture capital and private equity companies hail from his city. The city attracts the best and the brightest from all over China which contributes to the city’s ability to sustain eye popping growth for incredibly longest stretches of duration that almost seems to defy economic rules as any city country can be made to grow economically through implementation of the correct policies but the real challenge is to keep the growth momentum going.  

Shenzhen Government is also focused on fostering green technologies, innovation and entrepreneurship. One of the interesting government programs is focused on luring expatriate Chinese professionals and students back to China by offering them grants and startup capital. Shenzhen city has dedicated state of the art office space for those returning to China. The government of Shenzhen’s policies are working in luring skilled Chinese back to Shenzhen. Smart money is chasing opportunity in Shenzhen, which has an entrepreneurial business culture, boosted by public and private support for emerging startups. The city has China’s highest ratio of business owners.

Shenzhen’s established pool of high-tech companies, broad talent pool and extensive constellation of hardware factories give it formidable advantages against other world cities as Shenzhen’s tech scene has achieved a critical mass that draws top talent in the software and hardware industries. A lot of the most dynamic companies in China are based in Shenzhen, not just Ten cent, but also BYD, Huawei, ZTE and others. As is the case with the Silicon Valley, top talent from the aforementioned companies often strike out on their own and establish new companies, leveraging their local connections and experience to branch out in different directions thereby ensuring that the cycle is self-sustaining. In some areas of Shenzhen, as I was informed, the cost of one sqm of space goes for an incredible US$120,000.

As should be clear by repeated inferences in this article, the growth of Shenzhen can be directly traced to its unfettering focus on attracting the smartest people from all over the country and combine them with encouraging policy tools that create the right environment for economic growth.

We, in Pakistan may be proud of the incubation programs but cannot hold a candle to the number, sheer depth, breadth, scope, and success of the incubation programs in Shenzhen. Government-sponsored incubator program offers extensive subsidized loans as well as direct investment in fledgling companies. These are backed by private entities for example Haxlr8r offer short-term programs to help companies turn ideas into manufactured products that can then be used to raise funds from investors. As I discovered during my discussions it is the startups and incubators are the ones that seem to contribute heavily to what Shenzhen is today. The city even has startup cafes such as Beta Cafe, 3W Coffee.  A lot of startups can live and grow with very small amounts of capital but lack the experience and network of advisors to give them help and advice during critical times in their business. This is something money cannot buy and it takes a long time to develop a support network and community and the government ensures that it is available.

After my visit to Shenzhen to attend CHTF, I have come away convinced that nothing is more important for Pakistan than having as many incubators programs as possible with as much as support as possible as that support can mean the difference between top talent taking the risk and starting a company or take the safe route to become an executive at a large company or simply leaving the country. In Pakistan, we actually encourage our top talent to leave the country in hope of increasing remittances. Chinese are doing it the opposite way, making all possible able to attract smart expatriate Chinese back to the country.

Pakistan needs to study the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone which was created in formerly communist China to allow investors to set up factories that employed workers to make shoes, toys and electronics for export. Policies tested there were later spread nationwide, sparking a more than 97 fold expansion of China’s economy. An incredible 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty as a direct result of those policies, three times the population of Pakistan. It also transformed China from an agrarian society into one where urban residents now outnumber those in the countryside. China, a low cost country is no more, this is evident from rising wages which have pushed Nike Inc., Top Form International Ltd. and other companies to seek lower labor costs in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. This is a development on which Pakistan may be able to capitalize on.

It is pertinent to note on a side note that Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are the only economies that have moved from middle-income to developed nation status (US$24000 income) while maintaining relatively high growth rates. Chinese ability to lift 600 million people out of poverty is also a near miracle of economic wizardry and top notch policies. Population control appear to be one of the tools that Chinese used. It is worth noting that the one child policy has been loosened in China across the board, a sign of Chine coming of age. It remains to be seen if Pakistan can achieve relative prosperity and quality of life for its 220 million citizens.

Minister’s Message

Our IT Vision is to put in place an accelerated digitization ecosystem to enable socio-economic development, to expand knowledge-based economy....

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Promoting Pakistan’s IT industry is PSEB’s core activity. IT companies have largely benefited from PSEB’s marketing initiatives by generating valuable business leads, establishing offices in key foreign locations, and signing outsourcing contracts with their foreign counterparts.. ....

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