Taking on China: 4UNI 2016 winner’s trip
Even several weeks after the end of our Chinese adventure, the trip is still on our minds every day. 4UNI 2016 Winner Kurnia headed out to Asia first and foremost to find inspiration for game development, to get to know the local culture and to see what China has to offer. We also wanted to get a good idea of the different questions we would have to answer before taking on “Challenge China”.
During our first few days, we focused on getting to know the startup scene in Shanghai. From the Finnish-inspired 021 Incubator to the enthusiastic folks at Xnode, we truly got a great look at the possibilities the city holds. We also got the opportunity to gain important information on the local culture, helping us get a good idea of the many steps a China-bound company needs to take. To help us prepare, we even got to run our own mini-pilot as we tested some of Kurnia’s concepts at the Nordic Centre of Fudan University!
Among our favorite parts of the trip was also our visit to Chinaccelerator, which is perhaps the most prominent startup accelerator in Shanghai. In addition to working spaces, Chinaccelerator offers teams seed-funding, intensive mentoring from over 250 top mentors, and spot on knowledge of what teams need as they scale into the Chinese Market.
While visiting different startup actors was great, we also loved getting to know the people behind them. From an amazing, informative dinner with IT guru and successful entrepreneur Thomas Yao to Lauri Virkkunen and Chen Wang of Slush Shanghai, it was the people that really made this trip a success. Not only was it useful to hear their own experiences of navigating the startup scene in China, we also got to have a genuinely good time.
One of these people, Lauri Tammi, was an integral part of the last leg of our trip — our Hangzhou visit. Lauri took us on a tour of the old Song Dynasty capital, which is now home to many of the largest tech companies in China. We were especially excited to visit one of the most successful companies in the world: Alibaba! We also got a look at the Finnish presence as we popped in for a quick visit to Nokia’s Hangzhou office.
As day turned to night, we rushed to the Nexus co-working space, where the amazingly successful, young Chinese entrepreneur Jade Jiang introduced us to Hangzhou’s hottest startup concentration. We got to listen to the pitches of the companies situated at Nexus, and even got to pitch ourselves: first to the other startups, then to a prominent Hong Kong investor. Even easy-goin g pitcher Kaisa admitted she was a little nervous!
Driven forward by Lauri’s neverending energy, the evening escalated into a fun night of karaoke. Undying covers of Barbie Girl, Lemon Tree and Africa were born and (unfortunately) even recorded. Let’s hope that material never gets out!
All in all, China offered us endless amounts of inspiration and knowledge about both the challenges and the opportunities of the Chinese market. During our time in Shanghai and Hangzhou, we were enchanted by the sheer beauty of the cities and the intriguing balance between old and new. If we were hesitant before, we sure aren’t now: Team Kurnia is ready to rocket globally!