Tiiu Särkijärvi // January 24 2017
A throwback to Slush Shanghai 2016
Last fall I was offered a fantastic opportunity to get inspiration and insight when I was invited to the Slush Shanghai event. Slush is a student-driven non- profit movement originally founded in Helsinki to change attitudes towards entrepreneurship. In 2015, Slush was organized in Tokyo and Beijing for the first time and in 2016, Slush hit Helsinki, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. The aim for Slush Shanghai was to inspire and help the youth to realize their dreams through entrepreneurship and build the best Eurasian investment platform.
The first ever Slush Shanghai was built by a dedicated community of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and event professionals and it was held on 31st of October 2016. The one-day event gathered over 5,000 attendees from 48 different countries, including 70 speakers, 270 startups, 360 investors and 120 media professionals. A myriad of program and presentations took place on 3 stages, covering the hottest topics in different areas, including
1. Marketplace / e-commerce
2. Tech / VR / AR / AI / Big Data
3. Education / Society
4. Healthcare / Medical
5. Enterprise / Industrial
As China is growing rapidly these days, more and more focus is put into the Chinese market and “made in China” products and industries. I think it’s very interesting to involve digital business with a super big manufacturing country.
The Slush community allows bringing together the leading actors of the global tech scene and to drive business in China while at the same time experiencing the phenomenal atmosphere of a Slush event.
The startup scene in China is currently very vital and even the government is encouraging startup-minded people and teams. Startups get legal support from incubators in order to make it faster and easier to establish proper businesses. At Slush Shanghai this could be seen in that fact that there were quite a few local incubators having stands together with startups. Some of the incubators were also providing “on the shelf company” services for startups teams to form companies.
In a business environment like this Slush Shanghai brings quite a boost to the Chinese startup community. However there might be a language barrier for local companies, possibly making the event more like an exhibition for local startups and students. Nevertheless, I still think the event is bringing lots of opportunities for western companies and individuals to get to know Chinese market and connect with local companies.
I feel it’s quite obvious that the new digital age is a fact also in China; many services can easily be found online and there will be even more coming in the future. A friend of me in Shanghai told me that today, you don’t even need your wallet when you go out, your smartphone will do everything for you. Your phone will allow you to make bookings, navigate to your destination and make all payments when shopping or eating out. Considering this and the huge size of the Chinese market I see that design thinking and digital service design have plenty of space to grow in China, thus making it a really lucrative opportunity for both startups as well as more established companies.
It was a pleasure visiting the Slush Shanghai event and to be part of the inspiring and innovative international gathering with an Asian flavor and I truly look forward to attending Slush also outside of Finland also in coming years.