Secrets to China’s IT growthLast week, I visited the emerging Chinese industrial city of Shenzhen to cover an IT company. As I was waiting for the flight bound for Korea, I looked around the duty free shops at the airport to get a souvenir for my child.
There was a toy shop in the duty free area, offering an array of interesting toys. Shelves were filled with high-tech toys such as remote-controlled small drones and cars and a parrot that can be controlled by a smartphone application. I asked how the parrot operated. A salesperson took out the smartphone and used the application that shows songs, lines and movements that the parrot can follow. He chose an icon and pointed the phone at the parrot, and the parrot started singing.
I decided to buy the parrot and asked how I could download the application. The salesperson who had been demonstrating the toy pointed the phone at my mouth. He wanted me to say it to the phone in English. I spoke to the translator on the phone, and my question was delivered to the salesperson in Chinese. He nodded and turned on the We Chat messenger. When he scanned the QR code on the instruction, the account for the toy company popped up. With a single click in the account, the application was downloaded instantly.
I had high hopes when I visited Shenzhen. A financial specialist in Hong Kong had told me that Shenzhen is a start-up city more vibrant than Silicon Valley. I was excited to visit the home of world’s largest electric carmaker BYD, online giant Tencent and patent-driven Huawei.
As a journalist covering the IT industry, I’ve always warned that Korean companies should be wary of Chinese companies’ chase. But upon returning from Shenzhen, I realized that there is something else that we should worry about. The young generation of Chinese people are more familiar with IT technology, and they are asking the industry to pursue more intense innovation.