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In the fall of 2014, a little-known Chinese entrepreneur named Zhang Yiming toured Silicon Valley, visiting the offices of Facebook, Tesla and Airbnb. One thing that struck Mr. Zhang, whose startup in Beijing was beginning to gain traction, was China’s growing influence. He met some Facebook and Twitter employees who loved Xiaomi phones, for example. He noticed how Alibaba’s U.S. ...
Last year, after nearly a decade working long hours at a variety of factory and office jobs in Shenzhen, one of China’s tech-saturated mega cities, 28-year-old Yu Lixia came home to Jitian, the remote village where she grew up. She started a modest online shop selling local specialties such as tea and wild mushrooms to customers near and far.
Ms. Yu’s decision to return to her ...
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