香港经济日报 | 创业前仆后继,中国进新年代

撰文: 谢祖墀 高风管理咨询公司创始人兼首席执行官
栏名: 中国经纬

中国是否具有创新的能力?这是一个相当具争议性的议题。不少人特别是西方人士对中国创新能力相当怀疑,不少中国人亦抱负面的态度,他们甚至经常对中国的创新能力进行嘲讽。

当然,中国是著名的“山寨大国”。长时间而来,中国企业是以抄袭闻名于世。几乎到了什么都可以抄的地步,知识产权意识非常薄弱。

配合时势快速变化获国际肯定

2014年5月,美国副总统乔‧拜登(Joe Biden)向一批空军学员演讲时这样说道:“我要提一个问题来挑战一下你们,请告诉我,真正源自中国的一项新计划、一次创造性的变革,或者是一件创新性的产品。”早在这次演讲的两个月之前,《哈佛商业评论》还先发表过一篇文章,标题为“为什么中国无缘创新”(Why China Can’t Innovate)。

文章的作者是沃顿商学院教授雷影娜(Regina M. Abrami),以及哈佛商学院教授柯伟林(William C. Kirby)和麦克法兰(F. Warren McFarlan),3位作者在文中大胆断言:“如今……很多人更加坚信西方国家才是商业创新思想,创新者的沃土,而中国在很大程度上仍是墨守成规,生搬硬套的邯郸学步者,虽然中国人在研发方面一直不懈努力,却鲜有突破性发展。”

前美国惠普公司CEO卡莉‧菲奥莉娜(Carly Fiorina)在她去年的新书里提到:“虽然中国人有些天才,但创新和创业并不是他们的长处。他们的社会和教育系统是太过单一化和具有太大的控制而并不鼓励想象能力和冒险精神。”

于2014年春季时,我在欧洲一份刊物《欧洲的世界》(Europe’s World)发表了一篇名为《不要看低中国创新的潜力》(Don’t Belittle the Potential of China’s Innovation)的文章,阐述了我对中国创新潜力的看法。

于2015年10月的《经济学人》熊彼得专栏里,该专栏作者承认了中国在“某些方面”的确有创新的能力,而这”某些方面”是指在快速变化环境中作出敏捷反应的业务模式创新。于专栏中,作者亦引了敝作《China’s Disruptors》(中译本《创业家精神》)的论据。这次的肯定是破天荒的,可以说是西方主流媒体里首次正面肯定中国的创新能力。

Uber CEO料华未来创新超硅谷

到最近,接二连番的西方报道把中国创新的能力更推上更高的台阶。去年12月份美国的《连线》杂志(Wired)发表了一篇名为《一个抄袭技术的国家如何成为创新的枢纽》(Howa Nation of Tech Copycats Transfer into a Hub for Innovation)。

在文章里,《连线》的记者提出了中国在科技,特别是互联网技术方面应用的创新和年轻的创业者的涌现。今年1月份,Uber(优步)的CEO卡兰尼克(Travis Kalanick)在北京的一场演讲里预测,未来5年,在中国出现的创新、发明和创业将较美国硅谷更多,这将令中国企业开始走向国际,认为硅谷同业要留神,方可保持最高水平。

追赶意识弥漫民企崛起助发展

《连线》、优步CEO等都不是等闲之辈,他们对于美国以及全球科技的发展有着敏锐的触觉。他们对于中国创新的看法,值得大家注意。为什么在此时此刻,中国在创新方面好像向前踏出了一大步,受到起码一部分有识之士的认可?我认为有以下几个原因:

1. 追赶心理。中国人在70年代末开始改革开放时发现他们在经济方面比全球较发达国家都要落后,而且差距非常庞大。这对于一个长时间自认为自己是一个理想国度中而且背靠数千年历史文化的国民来说,形成了无比的自卑和莫名感。但这种感觉却造成了巨大的追赶意识,“我要超越你”,“假如李嘉诚、比尔盖茨可以致富,为什么不可以是我?”虽然改革开放已经近40年,这种心理仍然不断在神州大地上弥漫着。

2. 国有经济给予的空间。长时间以来,中国的经济是以国有经济为主的,国有企业有它们的作用,但亦有它们的短板。在面对快速市场变化、充分竞争,以创新为手段的情况里,国企是没有特别优势可言的。这恰恰给予了一批民营企业的一个巨大的发展空间。不少创新型的民企掌握了这个机会,而迅速崛起。

3. 转型的高度竞争。中国从计划经济逐渐走向市场经济是一循序渐进的过程。转型中产生了不少市场区隔的开放,同时亦带来新的市场参与者。因中国市场规模的巨大吸引力,往往带来大数目的竞争者和高度的竞争程度。竞争促使企业进步和增强竞争力,而创新往往就是建立优势的最佳手段。

4. 社会中存在许多痛点。中国在进行经济转型过程里,社会上许多”痛点”被暴露出来了。这些痛点固然为国民带来不少痛苦和无助,但同时它们却为创新者、创业家提供了无尽的创新的机会。不少创新其实就是为解决或改善社会中的痛苦而所驱动的。

网络盛行资本充足创业机会大

5. 移动互联网的掘起。当然这是一个重大的驱动因素。当移动互联网、智能终端和社交媒介已经成为大部分国民生活核心的一部分的时候,互联网的应用提供了无限的创新和颠覆的机会。

6. 中国市场的庞大规模。中国市场的规模和快速演变容许许多创业公司快速的扩张。同时亦给予不少空间让创业者可以试错,调整学习,再调整。同时创新公司的估值主要是看未来的,中国市场的潜力让不少初创公司得到较大的估值,因之而来的融资额度让它们可以较有弹药维持高速的增长。

7. 资本的能力。经过近20年的发展,不少风投公司和天使投资者已经尝到在中国投资的盛宴。无论是国外来到中国投资或在内地自我发展的投资者为创业者提供了大量的资金。

中国已经进入一个新的时代。创新者的年轻化、普及化和指数级的发展为中国社会注入了无比的新力量。在创新和创业过程中,不少人会失败或不会第一次尝试就会成功。也许在某些情况里,政府亦会干预,但只要不是违法,装空作假的,当下中国社会是容许试错的。创新者和创业者的前仆后继,这种现象在中国的几千年的历史中是划时代的。

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。

Forbes | The Rise of Entrepreneurship in China

By Edward Tse

APR 5, 2016 @ 05:32 AM

Over the past two decades, entrepreneurship in China has grown at an exponential rate. It is bringing forth disruptive changes not only to China but increasingly also to the rest of the world.

In 2000, total revenues earned by Chinese state-owned industrial enterprises and those in the non-state-owned sector Chinese private enterprises were roughly the same at about 4 trillion yuan each. By 2013, while total revenues at state-owned companies had risen just over six fold, revenues in the non-state sector had risen by more than 18 times. Profits in the same period showed an even more remarkable difference, with state-owned companies showing a sevenfold increase but profits at non-state-owned ones increasing nearly 23 times.

China’s entrepreneurial spirit runs deeper than just in business. It manifests itself in the government and in the desires of ordinary people. Premier Li Keqiang called for “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” and made it the leading agenda of China’s national economic strategy. In his work report speech at this year’s National People’s Congress, Premier Li mentioned the word “innovation” 59 times and “entrepreneurship” 22 times. Other popular phrases such as “Internet Plus”, “sharing economy”, “big data” and “Internet of Things” also appeared in the report multiple times.

In July 2015, my book China’s Disruptors was published and in last December, a Chinese version was also released. The conception of this book started over a couple of decades ago, when China’s private-owned enterprises and the culture of entrepreneurship were still in its infancy; though many people were already operating their own businesses. At that time, many business people in China were opportunistic, trying their luck to bank on the opportunities that China’s rapid economic development brought about. Many of them did not have much knowledge or experience in running companies, certainly not on a sustainable basis. Over the years, I have come across many different entrepreneurs. Despite coming from a diverse range of backgrounds, industries and demographics, they seemed to share some underlying common characteristics: tremendous ambitions and forward-looking optimism coupled with an almost insatiable curiosity. Many sought my expertise to gain a deeper understanding of business strategy and management, and to broaden their knowledge of “international best management practices.” This was also around the time of the rapid growth of China’s Internet industry, and many entrepreneurial minds saw the opportunity to incorporate internet technology into their businesses.

Yet during this same period, the rest of the world (especially the mainstream western media), perceived China in a different light. China was portrayed as a predominantly state-owned economy driven by large-scale enterprises, some of which held (near-) monopoly advantages in industries that were (largely) closed to non-state companies. In their view, at the core of China’s economy was the controlling one-party leadership fueling unfair (or sometimes even non-existent) competition. Some called this phenomenon “State Capitalism” which carried somewhat negative connotations. For sure, the state economy played, and continues to play, a critical role in the Chinese economy. But the western media had for a long time almost completely ignored the other side of the Chinese economy, the growing private sector and rising group of entrepreneurs.

The first wave of reforms and opening up of China’s economy under Deng Xiaoping spurred the vanguard generation of entrepreneurs in the 1980s. These entrepreneurs typically had little to no access to knowledge of modern business management. Some even lacked post-secondary education. At the time, they were pioneers who were remarkably bold to start their own businesses. In the early 90s, a number of government officials inspired by Deng’s “Southern SO +0.10% Visit” left their government roles and ventured into businesses. This was a rather speculative move that required great courage. If they failed, the “iron rice bowl” they had abandoned would not welcome them back with open arms. At this time, these people were considered foolish by many for leaving these highly desired positions of stability and prosperity. The majority of this “Gang of 1992” were quite successful in their entrepreneurial pursuits and some of them eventually became industry leaders.

Internet entrepreneurs started to emerge in the mid to late 1990. Contemporary giants Alibaba , Tencent and Baidu were formed shortly thereafter. The bursting of the first internet bubble took out a fair number of Chinese internet companies, but soon thereafter, the growth of internet industry resumed and gained momentum. The number of entrepreneurs grew again throughout the 2000s. Leaders from Xiaomi, JD.com and Qihoo 360 are all prime examples of China’s internet entrepreneurs that arose during this period. Apart from the internet and mobile technology sectors, many entrepreneurs started appearing in other industries: energy, healthcare, financial services, consumer, retail among others, where businesses were increasingly intertwined with the rapid growth of science and technology.

Today in China, we see numerous young people who were born in the 1980’s and 1990’s with entrepreneurial aspirations. They come from not only the metropolis like Beijing, Shenzhen or Shanghai, but also from second-tier or even smaller cities.

Undoubtedly, a fair number, or perhaps the majority of them will not succeed or at least not on their first attempt, but a few may. China is large and even a small percentage of a large base is still a significant number. Unlike their predecessors, these youngsters are not afraid of failure. For them, “trial and error” is an inevitable part of the process. The outcome, whether positive or not, adds to their experience and opens up even more opportunities in the future.

To be sure, many business people in China are still trying to take short cuts and may not abide by rules and ethics. However, we do see an increasingly growing number of entrepreneurs who are genuinely trying to grow their business and be successful in legitimate ways. We are living in an era where entrepreneurship is spreading fast, entrepreneurs are getting younger, and growth is often exponential. This new generation of China’s entrepreneurs illustrates the vitality, creativity and increased productivity that are the core driving forces propelling China’s next stage of development.

China is now the world’s second largest producer of “unicorns,” i.e., non-listed companies valued at over US$1Bn. The most representative ones are Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, China Internet Plus (recent merger of Meituan and Dianping) and DJI. In addition, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi are on the world’s 50 smartest companies list presented by MIT Technology Review in 2015. Furthermore, by the count of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, there are 115 university science parks and over 1,600 technology business incubators in the country providing mentorship, legal advice and office space to dreamers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

A majority of these Chinese innovators excel in business model innovation. As they move on to acquire new capabilities by building ecosystems through strategic partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, we expect to see more China-rooted technology innovators on the global stage. At the heart of China’s disruptors are the entrepreneurs with a shared dream for success, a pursuit of objectives brimming with creativity and a relentless drive to realize their goals. These goals will ultimately rewrite the rules of business for China and increasingly for the rest of the world.

A unique phenomenon is taking place in China today. While its political system is inherited from a top-down planned economy hierarchy, its leading entrepreneurial companies, especially the younger, more dynamic ones found in the Internet industry, adopt much of their mindset, culture and organizational principles from Silicon Valley. In fact, many are closer to Silicon Valley than they are to Beijing. For these companies, China’s political and economic structure is mixed with Silicon Valley culture, each influencing the other and creating something new. This osmosis is changing China in a way that we have not seen before and would lead China into a new era.

Edward Tse is founder & CEO, Gao Feng Advisory Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm with roots in China. A pioneer in China’s management consulting profession, he led the Greater China operations for two major international management consulting firms for 20 years and is widely known as China’s leading global business strategist. He is author of The China Strategy (2010) and China’s Disruptors (2015).

 

亚布力观点 | 在不理想的状况中寻找理想

 

今年2月22日的亚布力论坛中我很荣幸地主持了主题为《当“84派”遇到“92派”》的一场对话,参加对话的王石、李东生、陈东升和冯仑,都是中国改革进程这两个重要时段中的代表人物。“两代”企业家的谈话,浓缩了中国企业家的奋斗历程,凸显了几十年中国商业改革的进展。

1984年和1992年是中国经济腾飞过程中关键的两年,而邓小平的两次南方讲话无疑催化了中国市场经济的发展。1984年邓小平南下视察了深圳和珠海等经济特区,这在当时不只是展示了“改革开放”的第一批特区迅速发展的成果,更是一次思想大解放。当时一批有敏锐眼光的企业家和创业者在时代的召唤下应运而生。

近期有一本新书名为《一九八四:企业家归来》。在此书里,作者将这批企业家称之为“84派”。“84派”是改革开放后的首批企业家,所以84年也可称为是中国企业家回归元年。与后继的创业者相比,这一批企业家无论是个人背景还是商业经验上,都谈不上有优势。既缺乏良好的教育环境,也没有任何现代企业管理经验。同样,外部环境在今天来看也是非常不完善的。

陈东升提到,中国的现代企业家正是从不断的模仿、学习中走出来的。与“84派”不同,“92派”更像是规则的试水者。1992年前后一部分人带着忧国忧民,实业救国的理想选择离开体制内的工作,下海创业。但体制和法制未被完善,创业缺乏指引和保障,很多创业者们甚至都不懂市盈率、PE、估值等等这些西方国家已经很成熟的概念,用冯仑的话来说就是“先有公司,后才有公司法”。所以1992年《有限责任公司暂行条例》和《股份公司暂行条例》两个重要文件的发布,给当时许多在体制内摇摆不定的有志之士一颗定心丸。

改革之初,企业家们都是从主流中走出来,摸索着做企业,不免需要在乱象中求生存。除了如冯仑所述海南创业初期出现的一些诸如公司管理不善、突然解散、不公平竞争等江湖气十足的故事之外,还有不少官员也下海经商。陈东升曾经对于自己的成功讲过一句话,说的就是这种情况:“92派的成功,是用计划经济的余威,抢占市场经济的滩头”。当时企业家这样的做法一方面推动了市场经济发展,但也从另一方面引来争议。

虽然今天来看,92派的做法更多意义上是打开了体制的僵局,勇于成为创业的先行者。但由于文化源头、制度和法律不健全造成了社会对企业家群体普遍的误解和轻视,他们不得不面对来自社会的不同的看法。郭为感叹到,用如今的企业与80年代的企业比较有失公允。在今年的亚布力论坛上,王石有感而发 “当时我们做什么都错…但我们当时做的其实是造就了今天的企业家。” 而冯仑也持有同样的观点,他提到了“制度的原罪”。这也给我们了一个重要的提示,只有更加注重制度建设、法律建设,才能消除“制度的原罪”,减轻社会与企业家的误解,建立良性的沟通互动,创造更利于企业发展的环境。同时,展开关于该问题的讨论或许可以成为企业家的自省的契机,也给新老企业家们打一剂预防针,让他们在复杂多变的现状中思考应当如何应对,面对商界内部的负面案例应当如何自律,如何继续推动制度改革和法制健全,如何用赚来的钱回馈社会,做社会性企业。

中国经商的人不少,但能严格称得上是“企业家”的却未占大多数。不少的营商者都是营营役役、得过且过,一部分更缺乏诚信、铤而走险。在不确定的环境中,一些营商者更透过某些利益关系来谋生。另一方面,一些经营者却受到某些掌权者的不合理压迫,令他们的事业、财产甚至个人自由受了损害。但这种不理想的状态,却孕育了一批又一批的企业家。他们愿意接受挑战,能冒险,可能亦无其他方法,只能硬着头皮前进。但这种不屈不饶的精神却无意中造就了不少企业的最终脱颖而出。

面对经济下行和层出不穷的新技术和新的商业模式,许多当年的创业企业又被迅速来临的互联网时代逼迫不得不做出反应,且人们对中国经济的恐慌比经济本身的问题还要严重。然而就像当初一样,对大部分的企业家来说,环境的不明朗没有停下他们推动中国市场发展的脚步。这一次马云在亚布力的发言中也提到,现在就算是BAT也有各自的困难、如履薄冰。作为世界第二大经济体,中国需要更多的像BAT这类能够从无到有、从很小规模发展到较大规模的创业企业,这才是中国经济繁荣的真谛。马云的一席话也被许多企业家呼应。一些企业家正在重新思考自身的定位,敢于“革自己的命”,尝试抓住新机遇;抑或是给年轻人以机会,就像马云说到的,他对未来的信心来自对年轻人有信心,看到大量年轻人加入高科技企业,就会对中国经济长远有信心。

我个人来看,中国的确有许多问题和挑战,但中国亦拥有巨大的机会。在一个有庞大的中层阶级不断的崛起,人民不断加强相互的互联,与世界上的事物和信息有着越来越多的密切联系的国度,再加上科技不断发展和应用,机会是许多的。但机会只会给予有准备的人和企业。需要清晰的脑袋。能看到未来亦能掌握当下。要了解中国的特定状况亦拥有全球的视野,能在雾里看到将来的轮廓亦能在眼前精雕细琢,能冒险亦会谨慎,能创新亦能脚踏实地。难吗?是有点难,企业家精神的精髓其实就是要在不理想的情况中寻找和创造理想。

摘自亚布力观点(2016年2月22日)并保留所有权利

关于作者:
谢祖墀博士(Dr. Edward Tse)是高风管理咨询公司(Gao Feng Advisory Company)的创始人兼首席执行官。中国管理咨询业的先行者。过去的20年里,他创立并领导了两大国际管理咨询公司在大中华区的业务。外界评价他为“中国的全球领先商业战略家”和 “谢博士之于中国企业界就如大前研一之于日本企业界”。他曾为数以百计的公司(总部设在中国及其它地区)咨询过所有关键战略和管理方面的业务,涉及中国的各个方面和中国在全球的地位。他还为中国政府在战略、国有企业改革和中国企业走出国门等方面做过咨询。他已发表200多篇文章并出版了4本书,其中包括于国际获奖的《中国战略》和《创业家精神》。谢博士获得了加州大学伯克利分校工程学博士、MBA以及麻省理工学院的工程学学士、硕士。