Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China” and founder of Silicon Dragon Ventures joined us for a conversation to discuss her new book and offered her perspectives on how China will reshape the world with their breed of tech giants: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and many more. Rebecca began with the story of her career and how she came to cover Chinese technology companies from its earliest days. She discussed the major themes of her new book, and how the current trade tensions will shape China’s path in the technology space and why we need to start thinking of China as originators of technology rather than the misconceptions that they are copycats.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Rebecca Fannin (@rfannin, LinkedIn), Author of “Tech Titans of China” and Founder of Silicon Dragon Ventures [0:16]
    • As a young person who also works for a media company, I must ask, how did you start your career? [0:32]
    • What advice would you give to young people looking to be a tech reporter or a media entrepreneur? [3:55]
    • You have started covering China tech much earlier than most people with your first book “Silicon Dragon”, what are the major key misconceptions you have observed in how other parts of the world cover China? [5:30]
    • As you have interacted with many key entrepreneurs such as Robin Li and Jack Ma, who is the most interesting entrepreneur in China who you have interviewed so far? [7:13]
  • Tech Titans of China: “How China’s Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, & Going Global” [10:30]
    • What are the main themes of the book and who are the intended audience? [10:40]
    • We have known the Baidu-Alibaba-Tencent or BAT in short that are core key companies in China similar to Amazon, Google and Facebook in the US. How are they different? [13:20]
    • From copiers to now originators, what are the key turning points for China to become a technology power in the world? [15:45]
    • Is the government and their regulations the key reason why the tech giants in the US do not manage to penetrate into China? What are the other key reasons as to why the US tech companies have so many problems entering China? [17:50]
    • If China has not banned Google, Facebook or Twitter, would these companies have succeeded? [20:10]
    • We are increasingly seeing the decoupling of China and the US technology sector given the current US-China trade war. Do you think that the global supply chain which powers tech companies from both countries will break apart with what happened to ZTE and Huawei? [22:17]
    •  How does China have evolved in these three key areas [22:19]:
      • Ecommerce [22:22]
      • AI [25:18]
      • Drones and robots given that they have the most established and well developed manufacturing ecosystem in Shenzhen while US manufacturing has declined over the past three decades [27:58]
    • Where do you see the future of Chinese tech for China and will it start spilling to the rest of the world given its nascent influence in India, Southeast Asia, and Africa? [29:17]
    • Which tech giants in China are currently interesting from your perspective? [31:20]
  • Closing [33:42]
    • How can my audience find you? [33:52]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted and produced by Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin) and originally created by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong).  Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.