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China: ‘A Country Full of Ubers’

It’s not every day that you hear the line that Silicon Valley is too cautious. Yet the theme arose continuously this week as I met with a range of Chinese tech entrepreneurs and investors in Beijing. And it reveals much about the culture of Chinese technology companies, which still aren’t well understood in the West.

Entrepreneur Andy Tian, the American-raised founder of the mobile social gaming company PengPeng, raised the topic at a The Information subscriber event for entrepreneurs in Beijing. When asked what Western companies needed to do if they wanted to build messaging services with the traction of WeChat, he said “U.S. companies have to have the right mentality around risk,” Tian said.

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It’s just another example of how work ethic and culture and innovation all come together in interesting ways. There’s no one metric that can tell us how fast entrepreneurs in country will innovate versus another. There are opportunities—and risks—everywhere.

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“It's like when [at] Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg says, "OK. A good idea. Let's wait and see what happens,” he added. “In China, we don't wait. We make things much, much more fast.”