Sequoia Capital China Founding and Managing Partner Mr Neil Shen Shares Insights on Entrepreneurship in China at HKUST 25th Anniversary Young Entrepreneurs Series

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) hosted the first talk of its 25th Anniversary Young Entrepreneurs Series on 12 October, featuring Mr Neil Shen, Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China. The event was well received by students, faculty members and guests from HKUST.

Speaking on “Entrepreneurship in China”, Mr Shen outlined the key factors for driving entrepreneurship in China. He shared his insights on how technology breakthroughs and innovations are the two main drivers for entrepreneurship and venture capital in China, and that the key for success lies in converting science breakthroughs into commercial applications and products.

“To be an entrepreneur, you have to bring breakthroughs,” Mr Shen said. “If it is not a technological breakthrough, bring a breakthrough to the current business model. If you only learn and copy, you are not going anywhere.” Mr Shen stressed the importance to keep an innovative edge as an entrepreneur. “There will always be competitors looking to copy from you and surpass you. You’d better innovate all the time.”

Mr Shen pointed out that while Hong Kong might be a small market for aspiring entrepreneurs to test out their products, the city has its strengths for them to leverage on—it has top researchers, professors, students, and apart from basic research, many of the researches conducted are close to market. Citing the drone company DJI as an example, he said, “DJI was founded in Hong Kong. The combination of high-entry barrier technology in hardware and robotics, and Hong Kong’s status as a logistics hub means new startups can target the global market easily.” Sequoia Capital China, under Mr Shen’s lead, is one of the first and biggest investors of DJI.

Mr Shen, a co-founder of and Home Inns, is also a Rotating President and Director of China Entrepreneur Forum, and the Chairman of the Board of Yale Leadership Center in China. Mr Shen received his Master’s degree from Yale University and his Bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Founded in September 2005, Sequoia Capital China is a fast growing capital investor in China, and has had a vast portfolio comprising of about 300 fast-growing companies that deliver high return on investment with differentiated technologies and innovative business models.

With an aim to advance learning and knowledge and nurture entrepreneurship, HKUST has launched the Young Entrepreneurs Series to mark its anniversary and has invited young and accomplished entrepreneurs from around the globe to share insights with our faculty, students, staff and local audience. More talks by other young entrepreneurs are also being lined up.

A discussion between Mr Neil Shen (right) and Executive Vice-President and Provost Prof Wei Shyy.

A discussion between Mr Neil Shen (right) and Executive Vice-President and Provost Prof Wei Shyy.

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