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Experience Share: My China Sojourn and What it Taught Me

The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page.”– Saint Augustine

I have always believed that traveling is one of the best forms of education. Visiting a new place, meeting people there and experiencing the culture and development adds to one’s wisdom and learning. This couldn’t be truer for my recent business trip to Beijing, China. I have traveled to quite a few places – 27 countries to be precise. But, this trip to China has touched, moved and inspired me in an unprecedented manner.

Genext Students was one of the 15 startups selected as part of India-China Investment Roadshow which was held in Beijing between 7th November – 10th November 2017. This first-of-its-kind event was organized by Venture Gurukool in association with Startup India. The fact that Genext Students was the only ed-tech startup to be selected from India for this event made it even more special for us. The opening ceremony of this 4-day long event was held at the Embassy of India in Beijing. During these 4 days I got to meet and pitch to some of the top Chinese funds and VCs. I also got an opportunity to visit and interact with folks from one of China’s largest ed-tech organization. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to get a chance to attend Startup Grind – a very sought-after networking event for entrepreneurs in China.

My interactions with the people in China and the exposure to the Chinese infrastructure has taught me 3 major lessons –

1.      Think Big

2.      Be Aggressive

3.      Live by your Values and Vision

I have always attributed the shoddy infrastructure in India and the ‘unorganized’ way of life to India’s population. I thought that it was very difficult to manage such a large population and that the western world was so organized because comparatively the western countries had a very small population to deal with. However, all my myths were broken in China, and how! The quality of Chinese infrastructure and the way they have organized everything left me awe-struck. And, they have achieved all this in the past 10 years or so. India today is where China was a decade ago. The demographic and cultural similarities between both the countries is stupendous. Hence, it is no surprise that the Chinese technology companies are now aggressively looking to expand their footprint in India. This, also because India is naturally the next biggest market for them after their own country.

Traditionally, China has been a manufacturing economy. However, they realize that to achieve and maintain a leadership position in future they will have to embrace technology, and that too quickly. The Chinese government and businesses have taken a lot of initiatives in that direction. Over the past decade China has produced some of the world’s largest and most valuable technology companies. Technology is now very finely imbibed in their daily life. They have created a whole ecosystem which aggressively supports new tech start-ups. They encourage people to take risks and fail rather than not do anything because of risk of failure. They celebrate failures which is one of the best motivating factor for young entrepreneurs. Apart from this, it is worth mentioning that they are one of the most hospitable people despite the huge language barrier.

Relating back to what St. Augustine has said, I have read an important page of the book called ‘World’ and this will go a long way in shaping my as well as my venture’s growth.

by Ali Asgar Kagzi, Co-Founder, Genext students. 

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