Around 16 years ago, I worked in Silicon Valley of the United States and knew a word called IT ecosystem. I think it means the clustering effect of thousands of IT companies in Silicon Valley, capital of venture capital firm as well as the allocation of management and technical talents through competitions.
Afterwards I returned back to China. Only in recent years the word “IT ecosystem” has come to sight and numerous incubators sponsored by governments have emerged. I personally think they are just for shows. In the United States, although there are a lot like young men like Bill Gates and Zuckerberg who started their companies at a young age and become billionaires, more IT companies are found by seasoned IT managers or engineers. Incubators of Chinese government only provide startup capital to returnees from abroad within one year. It is a sharp contrast with Silicon Valley in America. As a result there are no fierce competitions for venture funding from incubators of Chinese government. Of course quite a few private venture capital firms are running for cut-throat competition with a considerable part of their investment in Internet companies which are quick to generate return (because these companies can enjoy the dividends of huge number of Internet users in China).
A new word called “Coding Farmers” becomes a phenomenon of rich persons and most of them also work for Internet companies in China. Among countries with great amount of internet users, almost only mainland universities and companies do not use Google+, Facebook, Twitter and etc. I personally hold that ban of Goolge, Facebook, Twitter and etc. into mainland market results in backwardness of mainland internet industry compared with the international level. The development of mainland IT industry could not count on a few schools and companies, but giving everyone the opportunity to see the world through Internet and do things freely. Program codes can be copied online everywhere and heroes of different backgrounds emerge everywhere.
Chinese IT companies at the corporate level generally focus on technology with less emphasis on management. However IT ecosystem is a concept of social management including visible hardware and invisible software, like intellectual property rights protection. I believe that intellectual property rights protection is crucial. Based on my meticulous observation, internet giants in China at present are founded by technical talents, except Jack Ma. Why? I think it is due to the poor protection of intellectual property rights in China. Therefore the key technologies must be in hands of founders. As a result it is difficult to develop a world-class enterprise.
I used to work for Intel. It is generally known about the amount of its employees and sales value. But who is aware of the accumulation of intellectual property rights, amounts of intellectual property lawsuits and exchange of intellectual property rights behind its brilliant achievements today? I do not know the exact number. But the innovation requires to be accumulated bit by bit and the small innovation can lead to a great achievement through gradual accumulation. But why their engineers and even non-engineers are willing to spend the time and effort to make innovations bit by bit, because they know they can get their due benefits and legal protection. As U.S.A. is the only country to incorporate patent law into the Constitution in the world. The awareness of intellectual property is deeply rooted in American people.
Incidentally let me tell my story in Silicon Valley. I ate leftovers of others on the dining table in order to save money a few times. After returning back to China, a friend described my situation then through lyrics of a song I am a Little Bird “Which one is more important, stress of life or dignity”. I’d like to clarify that it is not a shame in my mind at all. Quite a few emigrant workers in Beijing may share a similar experience.