Once the laughing stock of Silicon Valley for its copycat approach to technology, China has quickly risen to the top of the tech scene. Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent has become just as valuable as their American counterparts. Even Asian business leaders have become famous in American shores as well. Jack Ma, for example, is given the kind of reverence reserved for American tech leaders such as Steve Jobs. These all represent the emergence of the Silicon Dragon; a very real threat to Silicon Valley’s crown as the global technological Mecca.
Its mercurial rise in influence in the world of technology has led to a global expansion. The United States, for example, has been a breeding ground for Chinese tech firms that opened businesses in New York, LA, and in Silicon Valley itself. And they have begun slowly eating up market share in their respective fields – Baidu competes with Google, Alibaba versus Amazon, Facebook spars with WeChat, and Huawei against Apple. The biggest threat to American supremacy in the tech game, however, is in tapping into the vast network of the emerging markets in Southeast Asia.
The rate of the successes of the Silicon Dragon is based largely on the Chinese companies’ relentless work ethic and their massive funding. Their 72-hour work week makes even Silicon Valley look sleepy. Their venture capital market, on the other hand, has equaled that of the United States when it comes to funding tech start-ups. Furthermore, the Chinese government’s control over much of the functions of these companies has become some kind of a shield from various global economic and political issues.
As 2018 slowly begins to unravel, it is clear that the Silicon Dragon will be challenging the dominance of Silicon Valley every step of the way. The frightening thing is that it’s just beginning to learn how to use its wings.