Difference between Beijing and Silicon Valley on innovation
The fundamental difference between Beijing and Silicon Valley is not the sky color, but the fact that on one side the young people are talking about buying a new house, a new car and getting married, while on the other side young people are talking about how to change the world.
Now and then we can read from the newspaper or the Internet that a Silicon Valley company is valued over 1 billion US dollars. Also we can see many famous US IT brands on the Internet such as Google, Facebook,Twitter, Amazon... People are still wondering about why US companies are so creative. While in other places such as China, we cannot see world class IT companies. What makes the difference?
Are American people smarter than people in the rest of the world? Not exactly.
In China, people are becoming more and more anxious as they have to fight for a place to stay, a car to drive. They have high living pressures, they are now in a phase of pursuing material richness. They can not spare much time and don't want to spend time on thinking about something which are not easy to get in a short period of time. They are more concerning about short term interest.
The innovation environment is also not healthy, people are not encouraged to innovate here, companies also don't want to get the risk of investing on innovating something that may fail. Companies don't want failures. They are more willing to spend money on copying something from others since that is fast and cheap.
More worse is startups are difficult to survive, investors are not willing to invest on some people they have no relation to because they cannot trust them.
The innovation policy is not appealing as well, the government doesn't have complete policies or laws to protect innovation and they don't have the complete plan for converting innovation into products.
While in Silicon Valley, people are living in another society. People no need to worry about where to stay the next day or how much to earn to get married. They can spend time on doing what they like to do. They have the freedom to choose what to learn.
The environment there is also appealing, companies usually are willing to invest on innovation, they have that kind of genes, they are proud of innovation. they are pleased to see what they create. Also they are not so anxious about the result, they are willing to do long term investment.
If you have an idea which is attractive enough, there are many people who are willing to invest on you. So it's easy for people to start their own business. Even if you fail, it doesn't matter. They don't want to fail, but they can accept failures.
China is still undergoing a high speed economic booming. Many people are still fighting for living a good life, In the future, when people are able to buying a house and having a car with their whole life.. they may turn their attention to more spiritual. At that time, it should be the spring of China's innovation.
But one thing we cannot deny is that the innovation environment should be improved in China now. And we are seeing some good signals.