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Tech Shenzhen Advocates launches to strengthen UK-China ties

Global Tech Advocates (GTA), the international network connecting tech hubs around the world, has launched Tech Shenzhen Advocates to champion the growth of the city’s tech sector and forge a bridge between China and Europe’s digital economies.

The tech ecosystem in China has proliferated in recent years with Shenzhen at the heart of activity – the country now cementing its position as a global tech powerhouse alongside the US. In October 2018, venture capital investment in China overtook America reaching a staggering $93.8bn and now the nation is home to three of the world’s top five tech unicorns.

While the US has its FAANG stocks, China’s BAT’s which includes Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, have been closing the gap on the world’s biggest businesses – data titan, Tencent, based in Shenzhen, now has a market cap of $449bn alone.

The Chinese government has backed growth in the industry and invested heavily in the infrastructure needed to underpin an economy which has increasingly placed emphasis on technology as a critical source of national prosperity. The Greater Bay Area, where Shenzhen is located, is the central point of efforts to create a truly global technology hub.

The rise of China as an international tech leader presents significant opportunities especially for UK tech companies as Britain embarks on a quest to establish greater international connections in the age of Brexit.

China’s tech entrepreneurs are now looking at overseas engagement and expansion as the next step in maturity for the sector. Britain’s leading tech firms can begin to take advantage of a vast market and capital for scaling which are available in China. Tech Shenzhen Advocates will create a bridge for entrepreneurs and investors based in both countries.

The organisations supporting the Tech Shenzhen Advocates launch are WE YOUNG led by Haojie Yang, co-founder & CEO of WE YOUNG, and CENTI (China European Network for Technology & Innovation) led by John Zai, founder & CEO of CENTI, who has experience in both China’s and European tech ecosystems, working with entrepreneurs, consultants and international trade experts to connect the two hubs.

Global Tech Advocates, the umbrella organisation behind Tech Shenzhen Advocates, now has more than 10,000 members worldwide. Tech Shenzhen Advocates will be joining the other 12 GTA organisations including Tech Nordic Advocates, Tech Spain Advocates and Tech Italy Advocates.

The group is also connected to networks in Singapore, Shanghai, the San Francisco Bay Area, Bogotá and four groups in the UK:  Tech London Advocates, Tech North Advocates, Tech Belfast Advocates and Tech Scotland Advocates.

Russ Shaw, founder of Global Tech Advocates and Tech London Advocates, said: “Whilst the politicians continue to go back and forth in their talks, Global Tech Advocates is proactively working to secure international connections for Britain’s tech startups and scale-ups – who need accessible entry points and established networks in foreign markets with China being one of the most important.

“Now is the time to look to global partners and forge ahead in building those international bridges that will help elevate tech hubs across the globe at a time when Britain needs them the most.

“China’s entrepreneurs and investors understand how to scale tech businesses and have the requisite ambition and capital to offer a great opportunity for the European tech community in the coming years.”

John Zai, CEO of CENTI, said: “We are thrilled to assist in the launch of Tech Shenzhen Advocates and welcome them into the Global Tech Advocates network.

“China continues on an exciting trajectory which will now see early stage ventures, startups, scale-ups and big businesses look to the UK and Europe as the next step in the journey. We are delighted to cement increasingly stronger ties with our international counterparts and welcome the exchange of talent, knowledge and innovation that the Global Tech Advocates community can bring to Shenzhen.”