October 26th marked a historic step in Cocoon Networks' mission to connect entrepreneurs from both China and the UK and foster Sino-British exchange of knowledge, investment and ideas.
Cocoon Networks' CEO John Zai officially launched Tech Shanghai Advocates at the China Information Centre in Shanghai, a grand event which was supported by leading figures of the UK and China's technology industry, the government, academia and the financial industry. Special guests included representatives of the British Consulate General Shanghai, Shanghai Hi-Tech Industrial Park, National Eastern Tech Transfer Center, China Financial Information Center, London & Partners, China-Britain Business Council, GCL Finance (Group) Holdings and other leading Chinese financial institutions.
Tech Shanghai Advocates (TSA) is the first China-based branch company of the Global Tech Advocates network, which was brought to life by Russ Shaw, one of the UK's leading tech pioneers. Tech Shanghai Advocates will operate in the Global Tech Advocate network, a private sector-led coalition of thousands of tech experts, investors and government officials from seven regions of the world, who come together to facilitate open debate, knowledge sharing and global cooperation. As China’s premier point of contact within the Global Tech Advocates network, TSA will link Chinese's brightest pioneers to the rest of the world's tech ecosystem, thus fostering a truly global and inclusive marketplace where innovation can burgeon.
John Zai, Founder & Chairman at TSA and Founder & CEO at Cocoon Networks
As a serial entrepreneur and Chinese investor who now calls the UK home, John Zai's mission is to build stronger bridges between the UK and China. John wishes to connect the great pool of talent in the UK to Chinese capital and also strengthen China's link to the global entrepreneurial ecosystem.
John is also the Founder and the Chairman of the British Chinese Young Entrepreneurs Association (BCYEA), the largest Chinese start-up community in Britain. Prior to founding Cocoon Networks, John worked as an Investor Relationship Director at Hanxin Capital. John is thrilled by the launch of Tech Shanghai Advocates as his newest venture.
Shanghai is presently one of the world’s largest financial centres and fastest growing entrepreneurial hubs. By drawing upon the best global resources, Tech Shanghai Advocates is set out to work locally and transform South and East China into a world-leading technological hub, thus accelerating the advancement of Industry 4.0 in China.
Supported by Global Tech Advocates, Tech Shanghai Advocates connects its members (startups, investors, top universities and governmental representatives) to enable mutually beneficial collaborations in the global technology ecosystem.
John Zai, Founder and Chairman of TSA and Founder and CEO at Cocoon Networks:
John Zai, Founder and Chairman of TSA
“TSA will be GTA’s first China-based networking and financial services platform. Russ and I wish to bring together the advantages of the networks’ existing global resources and create multidisciplinary work groups to stimulate local innovation and promote high-end global cooperation"
"Shanghai, one of the world’s largest financial centers, brings great geographical advantages. By drawing upon the best global resources, Tech Shanghai Advocates is set out to work locally and transform South and East China into a world-leading technological hub and accelerating the advancement of Industry 4.0”
Russ Shaw, Founder and CEO at Global Tech Advocates & Tech London Advocates:
Russ Shaw, Founder & CEO at Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates
"I want to share with you the journey that I have been through with John and Cocoon Networks. We first met during an Investors Summit in Beijing and had a great conversation. The partnership came naturally after that. In December 2016, Cocoon Networks opened their amazing new office and organised the
first China-UK Hi! Tech Festival during London Tech Week, which was met with huge enthusiasm"
"Shanghai is a city that never sleeps, it has transformed enormously since my last visit here nine years ago. It's becoming a world leading city. It is because of the great entrepreneurial spirit like John’s and the fast-paced technological development, we selected Shanghai to be the first destination for GTA in China. Our journey starts today! When you join TSA, you are surrounded by a network of thousands of tech advocates around the world, and together we can create a global platform"
Other speakers included Tony Clemson (Deputy Consul General of the British Consulate General in Shanghai; Tracy Cheng, Vice President (Southern China) at London & Partners; Zhenquan Cao, Executive Vice Chairman of the Administration Commission of the Shanghai Hi-Tech Industrial Park; Jihua Xie, Chairman at the National Eastern Tech-Transfer Center; Guobiao Ye, Chairman & Secretary of the Party Committee of the China Financial Information Center in Shanghai; Wei Sun, CEO at GCL Finance (Group) Holdings, Weifeng Ma, Director of the China Outbound Programme at the China-Britain Business Council, Yuhua Wu, delegate of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Luyang Zhang, Director of China Venture Capital Research Institute at Fudan University.
The keynote speeches were followed by lively panel discussions on “Tech & Capital Investment” in the UK and China, China's current "Tech & Entrepreneurship Ecosystem" and the global "Tech & Industrial Chain".
Moderators were Libo Guo, Dean of China Venture Research Institute, Jia Ren, General Manager of Shanghai Xinwei Technology Development Co., Ltd and John Zai, Founder & CEO at Cocoon Networks.
Panellists included Weiguo Wang, Chairman of Cocoon Networks, Feng Ye, Founder & Chairman of Apex Capital, Xueqian Feng, Founder & Chairman of Newaccess Capital; Hongwei Sun, Partner of Small Village; Ye Tian, Partner of NewMargin Capital; Li Zhao, Vice-President of Softbank China Venture Capital (SBCVC) and Yuehua Wang, Partner at DFJ DragonFund China.
Highlights from the discussion:
What is the investment landscape going to look like under this trend of technological development?
“It is important to continue to build a strong ecosystem and we are focussing on four fields: new technology, new finance, new culture and new consumption” (Hongwei Sun, Partner at Small Village)
“Technology markets between China and Britain are complementary. The UK has the advanced technology, whilst we have a huge market and population. We are moreover able to operate large scale systematic productions. The goal is now to cut down the costs, so that everyone can enjoy the value of technology” (Weiguo Wang, Chairman of Cocoon Networks)
What is the future trend of tech?
“The future trend of technology is smart. Products are getting smarter and smarter. Technology will greatly increase humans’ abilities in the future” (Hongwei Sun, Partner at Small Village)
“Our focus is healthcare. Technology in many areas will form a cross-border integration and successful entrepreneurship requires and entrepreneurial team with multiple aspects of ability” (Ye Tian, Partner of NewMargin Capital).
“Combining medical technology with AI and cloud computing technology has the potential to create many new business avenues” (Feng Ye, Founder & Chairman of Apex Capital).
What’s your advice on Sino-British technological cooperation?
“Connecting UK and Europe’s technology to the Chinese market and capital will lead to a very bright future” (Hongwei Sun, Partner at Small Village)
“In order to promote Chinese investment on foreign tech, investment policies for overseas are expected to be designed as to allow great flexibility” (Ye Tian, Partner of NewMargin Capital)
"I hope that with the help of TSA, more high-quality programs can land in China and develop from there” (Li Zhao, Vice-President of Softbank China Venture Capital)
"Chinese capital should be invested on tech and talent. Global tech is the element that will boost China’s industries beyond comparison” (Yuehua Wang, Partner at DFJ DragonFund China)
Tech Shanghai Advocates is the eighth organisation to launch under the Global Tech Advocates brand. It joins Tech London Advocates, Tech North Advocates, Tech Nordic Advocates, Tech Belfast Advocates, Tech Bay Area Advocates, Tech Singapore Advocates and Tech Spain Advocates.
The TSA launch event was covered by leading publications China Daily, TechCrunch and Caixin.