Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on TechNode, an editorial partner of TechCrunch based in China.
This week saw TechCrunch land in Shanghai for yet another great event. While Shenzhen — the site of our previous China show — might be the hardware capital, Shanghai has a potent mix of hungry entrepreneurs from all over the world.
We were delighted to welcome back for the seventh time more than 8,000 attendees including 600 for the hackathons, 300 investors, 200 startups and companies from over 25 countries.
If you didn’t get a chance to make it over, here’s a quick recap of what you missed.
NIO’s VP of User Development Izzy Zhu discussed the role user experience plays at the company. The Chinese firm is aiming to be Tesla’s biggest rival globally and it is focused on securing its home market first through high-quality products and user experience.
The firm has raised $2.1 billion over four rounds of funding, that’s been used to develop a car that will hit the market soon and aim to carve out a slice of the world’s largest electric vehicle market.
Founder and CEO of Rong360, Ye Daqing, and one of the companies investors, James Mi, came on stage to talk about the current state of China’s fintech.
China has seen many fintech companies go public with an IPO, but the industry has run into controversy as regulators have been accused of improper lending practices by regulators. TechNode founder and CEO Gang Lu spoke with the two companies to find out what makes a good fintech company in China and what the future holds for this emerging industry.
Wang Yu, founder and CEO of China’s answer to Tinder, came on stage to talk about how his company is aiming to solve a problem unique to China: getting youngsters out of their shell. Started in 2014, the app claims six million daily active users and over three billion matches.
Kevin Leung, director at HTC VIVE X (HTC VIVE’s accelerator), and Atli Mar Sveinsson, co-founder and CEO of Directive Games, put China’s rapid development of VR/AR hardware into context. Both agreed that we are still waiting for the “killer app” that will drive mass adoption of this high-potential technology.
Amazon may have been first to unveil an unmanned store with the launch of ‘Go’ last year, but Chinese companies have quickly followed suit to push the idea forward.
However, questions of security and theft are following this infant industry as consumers are still trying to understand it. Chen Zilin, founder and CEO of BingoBox, told the TechCrunch audience that rates of stolen or damaged goods are actually lower in unmanned stores than in traditional ones. While the West may be moving slowly, China has largely raced ahead in technology-driven consumption.
Preferring the term “idle goods,” Idle Fish (xianyu in Chinese) is taking advantage of the piles of unwanted stuff Chinese people have at home. In a culture built on gifting, it’s not uncommon to receive things that are ultimately unwanted or unused and therefore ripe for someone else.
Idle Fish offers users a way to “share” their “idle goods” and make some extra pocket money at the same time. Vern Chen took to the stage to give some insight into how his company is progressing.
Founded by Zhang Suyang, a successful investor previously at IDG Ventures, Volcanics Ventures focuses on medical technology, in particular, the areas of medicine where traditional diagnoses fail. Zhang explained how his investment thesis is focused on technology-driven medical solutions. He also shared the core challenges facing medtech companies in China.
This year, we had so much content that we couldn’t keep it on one stage! Across two afternoons and two stages, we held talks on China’s consumption upgrade, cross-border trends, biomedical industries, and the future of blockchain.
At the blockchain side stage, we heard from speakers about the future of Bitcoin, what ICOs are going to look like over the next year, and how decentralized apps are changing the world. There was also time for a lively debate on whether Bitcoin can stave off replacement, plus a look at the future of digital identity.
Of course we can’t forget the winners of TechCrunch Shanghai’s startup competition. The judges’ choice was Blue Sky Labs, which took home a bond from GSR Ventures for RMB 1 million, or $150,000. The startup presented us with a fashionable and smart face mask that uses machine intelligence to learn about your breathing patterns to create the necessary air supply.
Second place went to Norma, a Korean company that develops security solutions for IoT devices. In third place was BIOSENSORIX, the developer of a rapid medical diagnostics device. Tied in fourth was FlintOS, a version of Chrome OS that can be used on almost any computer, and Elsewhere, an Uber for spaces.
This year TechCrunch hosted two hackathons with challenges (and prizes) set by BMW and CITIC. For the first time we also included a dedicated hackathon for teens to allow future developers to show their credentials. A big congratulations goes to the Reboot Rebels which came in first, and Huibulalala which won the teen hackathon.
￼If you want to relive the excitement (and get a peek at what actually happens at a hackathon), check out our live blog from the event.