Skip to main content

[An article about Entrepreneurship in China which wittily* reverses ‘Dragon’s Den’ to imply an ideal, and not a bit emotionally-crushing, place for budding businesspeople.]

Entrepreneurs think outside of the box in order to turn a business idea into big bucks. Where better to do so than in a place where the box is small and almost everyone habitually remains within it? Where better, then, than China?

I’ve met two full-blown entrepreneurs in China, as well as a number of other creative moneymakers. Both entrepreneurs see modern China as a dream market. Culture, national character and government policy have kept business creativity low and prevented the inflow of good ideas from abroad. Now, foreign entrepreneurs have a prime opportunity to bring successful business ideas from elsewhere to this enormous and under-utilised consumer market. Meanwhile, local businesspeople lack the courage or foresight to develop new business concepts.

Mark Clulow

Working in the popular international business hub of Zhuhai, Mark’s used China’s internet filtering to his advantage, creating ‘’ – a multi-lingual local Facebook equivalent. Building up a member base of a few thousand earns him moderate advertising revenue, but his next step will bring in the big bucks.
Essentially, now acting as ‘social manager’ for Zhuhai’s international and English-speaking local community, Mark throws parties, events and gatherings, all of which he charges a fee for. Any businessperson wishing to launch a new social venture in Zhuhai virtually has to go through Mark. Mark has therefore positioned himself as consultant and promotor, whilst being ideally positioned to launch any additional business venture.
As, and its community, grows, so too will Mark’s potential for moneymaking. Yet, Mark’s venture hasn’t required any major new ideas; he has imported successful models from abroad to great advantage.

 Screenshot 2014-02-02 16.55.24 advertises a pool party.

Mark Clulow at one of his parties.

Joseph Finkenbinder

Joe saw a big problem with travel in China and is about to solve it. While locals say “this is China!”, Joe says “then let’s fix it”.
Aiming to bring about a travel booking revolution in China, Joe’s developed ‘’, an online ticketing broker, matching anyone who sells transportation tickets with anyone who wants to buy them. Currently in China no overland travel tickets are available online. Instead they must be bought in person, often at the exact departure place. won’t sell tickets directly, but instead provide a link between existing local agents and customers (wherever they may be.) Joe’s seen the business model work elsewhere, and is simply importing an idea that no local company has yet thought about doing.
If Pombai doesn’t work out, Joe reckons burritos are another business opportunity crying out for Chinese import, so he’d be happy to try that. There are countless ideas prime for entry into the Chinese market.

Queuing chaos at Guilin train station – exactly the problem Joe hopes to solve.

China – An Entrepreneur’s Dream Market

Start-up businesses need either a new idea brought to an old market, or to bring an existing idea to a new market. China provides an potential for the latter in abundance. It’s an enormous market that’s poorly catered for by local entrepreneurs. Any new idea that takes off will do so within the world’s fastest accelerating economy, and one of the fastest growing consumer markets. Success would be equivalent to striking oil directly on top of a gold mine.

Entrepreneurs like Mark and Joe are the one’s who’ll capitalise on this opportunity. They see the potential for success, way outstripping the difficulties involved. They’re the ones who are dedicating themselves to studying language and culture, making connections with local businesspeople and rolling with the punches when things get tough.

Everyone’s always asking who will be the next Bill Gates. You certainly won’t find the person in the USA, nor even in a Western country importing from China. You’ll find them right now, rooting down in the Chinese mainland; truly a dreamland for today’s entrepreneurs.

* Though I say so myself.

Leave a Reply