A Wealth of Opportunities along the Silk Road

A Wealth of Opportunities along the Silk Road

More than half a millennium ago a young Venetian by the name of Marco Polo traveled along the Silk Road. Witnessing the extent of trade between the worlds of Europe and Asia he quickly understood the potential which good economic relations would have. His records gave Europeans the first insight into the mysterious East, including the great size and enormous wealth of Asia’s biggest economic power: China.

A lot of time has passed since Polo’s travels, but China hasn’t shrunk by any means. In more recent years, the country’s development has reached unparalleled acceleration. Since opening up to foreign trade and investment, as well as undergoing free-market reforms, in 1979, China has been among the world’s fastest-growing economies, with real annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 9.5% through 2018. In comparison, Germany, one of the strongest economies in Europe, has an average GDP growth of 2.5% in the same year. While one should keep in mind that numbers of strong economic growth are easier to show when starting at a lower level – and China had just ended an era of communism – these are still impressive figures. 

In modern times, the mutual exchange and the fostering of networks between China and Europe take new forms, for instance as delegation trips. Unlike Marco Polo, the delegates no longer have to take an arduous journey upon them but have their journey organized and mapped out by organizations that specialize in the international exchange, such as Berlin Partner, StartUp AsiaBerlin, TechCode, InnoEU and many others.

Entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders of the Berlin startup ecosystem are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a trip.  


Deep Dive by TechCode

When: 23.9. – 27.9.2019 
Cities: Shanghai and Yangtse Delta 
Price: All covered except flight ticket and visa
Highlights: SLUSH China 

For coders and AI aficionados, Techcode is the place to be. This year’s Deep Dive invites 20 entrepreneurs to Shanghai and the Yangtse Delta region for four days, from 23rd September to 27th September 2019. Guided by local experts, the delegates will be pitching against various Chinese VC funds, corporates and public stakeholders, attend the annual Sino-German SME Exchange Summit as well as experience SLUSH China.


DeCode China

When: 13.10. – 19.10.2019
Cities: Beijing and Shenzhen
Price: 6,8000 $
Highlights: Seven-day full immersion 

For those tech entrepreneurs who couldn’t make Techcode, don’t despair, there is more for you. DeCode China will give you a deep understanding of the Chinese tech ecosystem, by providing you with a one-week experience in Beijing and Shenzhen to explore and understand China’s tech scene. Organized by Pandaily, this trip is tailored to globally-minded, tech-obsessed professionals, and will select 15 of them to join the trip from 13th October to 19th October. The trip includes visits to companies and startups, courses and workshops, networking events, and cultural excursions to help you decode China’s tech scene – Pandaily’s specialty is the full immersion of participants in the local community.


China 2019: New digital world

When: 14.10.- 17.10.2019
Cities: Shanghai and Hangzhou
Price: 2,500€ plus visa, travel and accommodation  
Highlights: Focus on digitalization

For the last-minute fans amongst you, there’s a special treat from the German Chamber of Commerce (IHK). This trip focuses on the dynamic digital development of China’s tech scene, and on learning by doing, for instance during the crash course in trade negotiations with Chinese partners. These four days come at a price of 2,500 euro and will be especially valuable to directors of companies and administration offices, as well as members of accelerators. 


Start Alliance and StartUp AsiaBerlin go China

When: 25.11. – 29.11.2019 
Cities: Shanghai and Shenzhen
Price: free
Highlights: networking

For entrepreneurs who are all about network-building, SUAB and StartAlliance have the right option. Apart from travel and accommodation, everything on this trip is covered. From 25th to 29th November, participants will have the opportunity to explore the startup ecosystem of Shanghai and Shenzhen to get a better insight into the Chinese market. To give the participating entrepreneurs real business opportunities, they will also get to meet high-ranking representatives from the Chinese tech- and startup-scene to build a great network even before entering the Chinese market.

This delegation trip is particularly suitable for founders of startups which have established themselves in their domestic market and are now exploring the possibility of expanding. They will engage with the local startup ecosystem in China and form connections with accelerators, VCs, startup CEOs and other high-ranking industry experts. Applications for this programme are open until 1st October.  


InnoEu & Global Innovation Summit

When: 1.12.- 5.12.2019
Cities: Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai
Price: All expenses paid 
Highlights: 3 cities in 1 week

True to its mission of sharing, coordinating, optimizing and developing innovation resources globally, InnoEu will offer delegates the opportunity of a roundtrip around China to learn and gain insights into the workings of Chinese companies. 20 startups and 10 platforms will be selected for an all expenses paid trip, starting on 1st December in Beijing. The group will then move on to Chengdu for a highlight event, before finishing off with a few days in Shanghai. The delegates will get to meet with companies and investors, creating opportunities for them to build an international network.  

There is no need to join a caravan along the Silk Road or to wait for several weeks for an audience at the royal court anymore. Building a global business network is much easier compared to Marco Polo’s time. Programmes such as the ones outlined help you to gain a first understanding of the country and to craft long-lasting business connections. This is especially important in more challenging markets such as China. As Business Insider has stated: “The only way to succeed is to immerse yourself in the [Chinese] culture.”

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