Internationalise: Here and Now

August 18, 2020
Innovation Insight

XNode Blog

Internationalise: Here and Now

In the post COVID-19 world, how can startups seize growth opportunities in China market and achieve international goals?

To find the answers, listen to the speech from the first-ever SG Innovation Community Day by Enterprise Singapore.

Singapore Innovation Community Day 2020

In this session, our Founder & CEO Wei Zhou was invited to speak on Internationalisation in China, and provided an overview of the current state-of-play in the startup landscape, as well as investor and business sentiments in the time of COVID-19.

China is leading the way in COVID-19 recovery according to the year-over-year change rate of retail sales and industrial production in 2020.

Year-over-year change rate of retail sales and industrial production in 2020

Source: China's National Bureau of Statistics, via CEIC Data

While the rest of the world were experiencing negative economic growth, China maintained positive growth in 2020.

% Global economic growth (contribution by region)

Source: RaboResearch, Macrobond, IMF

To capture the tremendous business opportunities in the post COVID-19 world, it is critical for startups to fully understand the large and complex China market, and navigate the trends and challenges while entering.


1. 5 Unique Features of Innovation Ecosystem in China
Innovation in China

Scale of Resources

China has the highest number of STEM graduates and patents filed in the world.

Government Role

The government has been the key driver of innovation through macro policies, priority technology domains and areas of application.

Development Models

30 years ago, China has one development model — “Copy and Paste". Today, multiple models coexist in the market, including "Copy and Redesign", "Integrate and Design" and "Application Research”.

Adoption Rate

Consumer adoption rate of new technologies has a speed unseen in any other markets.

Data Privacy

Tolerance to data privacy allows access to massive amount of data for various applications.

2. 1 Unique Tech Innovation Ecosystem
China's Tech Innovation Ecosystem

  • Government: Priority technologies and applications strongly sponsored/funded by the government
  • BATi: Leading AI development
  • Dynamic and Entrepreneur Market: 16,500 companies a day are created in China (2017 data)
  • Academia: Future capability
  • MNCs: Foreign tech and new local tech
  • Consumer: Seeking upgrade & newness

By illustrating China's unique tech innovation ecosystem with the graph, Wei emphasised how a Local China Approach is Key to Success.

3. 5 Accelerating Trends in China Since COVID-19


Digital tools become increasingly sophisticated and popular, from B2C to B2B.

Declining global exposure

Rising importance of domestic markets, technology and capital.

Rising competitive intensity

Technology and agility drive winners to capture the lion's share of industry value.

Consumers come of age

Consumers (especially the young) are becoming prudent and health-conscious.

Private and social sectors step up

The private sector plays a stronger socioeconomic role, while the social sector rises.

Connecting through Digitisation

4. 5 Challenges for foreign startups and SMEs

Wei spoke on the common challenges that foreign startups and SMEs face in China and how they should capitalise on available programmes.

  1. Language & culture barriers
  2. China is a big place — regions vary dramatically in preferences development and sophistication
  3. Lack of transparency about the enforcement of laws
  4. Different consumers often require new business models
  5. Highly competitive market

Source: McKinsey Analysis

Demo-Day: Batch 2 GIA Acceleration Programme

XNode is proud to be the exclusive partner of the Global Innovation Alliance in Shanghai to accelerate Singapore B2B tech startups and provide access to potential Chinese investors, partners, customers, and talent resources.

China-Singapore Innovation Launchpad

This year XNode worked with 8 Singapore startups to explore internationalisation opportunities in the "post-epidemic" China market.

Curious to see how they plan to internationalise?

Don't miss the coming onlineDemo-Day of 2020 China-Singapore Innovation Launchpad. 8 Singapore startups, ranging from AdTech to MedTech and more are ready for their virtual Demo-Day to Chinese investors and industry partners.

Virtual Demo Day (Bilingual)

August 20, 14:00 - 16:00 (GMT+8)

Sign up NOW!

Let's talk about your innovation goals

Thank you for getting in touch!

We appreciate you contacting XNode. One of our colleagues will get back in touch with you soon! Have a great day!
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