SHENZHEN FRENCH TECH HUB

Who are we ?

La French Tech is a network of actors working for French startups in France or abroad. It includes entrepreneurs, as well as investors, developers, designers, engineers, associations, media, research institutes etc.  Its first objective is to bring all those people together so that the bigger groups can help the smaller companies, the older ones can guide the younger ones – and all of them work together to help France’s creative forces thrive at home and overseas.

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With an official population of nearly 12 million inhabitants (probably many more if migrants and short term labour were taken into account) and its many factories specializing in cheap electronics, Guangdong’s second largest city, Shenzhen, has long been known as the epicenter of “the world’s factory”. Yet, in recent years, it has evolved into one of the three most innovative cities in China.

Number of innovation patents registered in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai 

(2011-2015)

innovation patents

(source: French Consulate in Guangzhou, Economic Section)

In 2015, indeed, information technologies contributed to 19% of the city’s GDP and cultural innovation contributed to another 10%; the same year, 47% of the overseas applications for Chinese patents originated from Shenzhen… One of the main characteristics of the Shenzhen innovation ecosystem is to be sustained almost exclusively by private companies (in 2014, more than 90% of R&D investments came from the private sector, in stark contrast with Beijing where universities and research centers account for more than 70% of such investments the same year) - hence its nickname as “China’s Silicon Valley”. Every year, groups such as ZTE, Oppo, Huawei, Tencent, CSOT, DJI and Coolpad – all born and bred in Shenzhen - top the charts of the most innovative Chinese companies.

Main objectives of Shenzhen’s 13th Five Year Plan for Science & Technology

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Many overseas entrepreneurs are now coming to Shenzhen to manufacture prototypes, industrialize their products and enjoy the unparalleled capacities of the city to enhance their “time to market” (in recent years, “Shenzhen speed” has become a buzzword in Chinese media…). Among those, a dynamic community of about 40 French people working in startups (Omate, Cool Hobo, Cypheme…), innovation-oriented services (Ju&Ke for design, Supernova and Workshop for supply chain…) and well-known groups such as Parrot, ST Microelectronics and TCL… They have decided to build closer ties under the umbrella of the “Shenzhen French Tech Hub”, officially inaugurated in October 2016.

parrot
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tcl

 

This community is growing rapidly and various events and initiatives are being organized to help it achieve the following objectives: 

 

Unite

The first aim of the Shenzhen French Tech Hub is to unite its members by involving them in a community working for innovation. “French Tech Afterworks” are organized on a monthly basis, which enables local French entrepreneurs and like-minded newcomers to mingle together and share tips about the Shenzhen ecosystem. Every quarter, the French Consulate also organizes site visits (Club R&D) in local French innovative companies… French startups are also encouraged to participate in events organized by local networks such as Startup Grind and Startup Salad to engage further with local entrepreneurs.  

 

Accelerate

Second objective: to support French start-ups settling in Shenzhen and to provide all the useful tools for their development. Shenzhen is one of the key stops of Business France’s immersions programs (French Tech Tour, Impact China). The French Chamber of commerce and industry in South China also organizes regular events with potential investors. And the French Tech Hub’s community set up a yearly “open pitch” session where young startup managers come to pitch in front of a panel of more experiences peers (next session : May 2017).

 

Promote

Last but not least, the Shenzhen French Tech Hub aims at boosting the visibility and international appeal both of French startups and of the French ecosystem for local entrepreneurs. Our community aims to act as a bridge to help French startups set a foot in Shenzhen and also assist Chinese startups and incubators land in France and emulate local incubator Tian’An Digital City, which recently took the decision to open a platform in Yvelines (Paris region).

 

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