The asian giant, where Manuel Valls is continuing his visit, has long seemed too distant, complex and risky for young companies still in development. But the country begins to open to the "petits poucets" of the "French Tech", to more complete markets.
At the time of try their luck outside of France, the creators of start-ups have long been thought "United States", "Israel", or "Singapore". "On China, we remain cautious," admits Thomas Vial, head of the New technologies, innovation and services in the office of Ubifrance in Beijing. Its huge market alléchait already, but its complex cultural, legal or linguistic frightened her. Today, the situation is changing. "For the past few years, China is starting to become a place where it is necessary to position itself," continues Thomas Vial. It is interesting to go and look for two or three references to partners, to customers, to then show to raise funds."
Because the asian giant, which opened its borders to large French industrial, transport in the head, was put in search "of disruptive technologies with strong potential," continues the expert. The e-commerce site Alibaba to social networks such as QQ, China "has global players in the digital that we can no longer ignore it," recalls Gilbert's Eve, adviser of France's foreign trade and international director of Cityzen Sciences, a start-up expert in the field of tissue connected.
Telecom, video games, e-commerce, smart cities...
Each region chinese fine-tunes its specialties. In Beijing, the major telecom operators and the video games. To the basin of Chengdu, the most central, photonics. In Shanghai, the Internet, finance and distribution. As for Shenzhen, it is the heart of the chinese Silicon Valley, with its major oem electronic, Internet and e-commerce. The country puts his pawns in all the leading sectors. A few months ago, Gilbert Eve was attending a conference on smart cities: "It was the twelfth edition this year!, enthusiasm there. In France, we are interested in everything just about."Your support is essential. Subscribe for $ 1 support Us
of Course, some areas of high strategic importance for the power of Beijing, such as the Web, it is still difficult to access. But the French start-ups are interested in more chinese investors in search of innovation... or a helping hand to conquer the western markets. In the autumn, the CEO of Huawei has promised to invest 1.5 billion euros in France to be closer to SMES in particular. The manufacturer has offered a trip to China to a dozen start-ups winners of its competition house. It is also part of the partners of the "French Tech tour" of Ubifrance, which allows the young shoots of the "pitcher" in front of the chinese investors.
And France follows the movement. The pôle EuraTechnologies Lille, for example, was created in September, "Euratech in China", an accelerator on the franco-chinese. The start-up company Cityzen Sciences, it will grow around a scientific partnership between the Institut Mines-Télécom, and a laboratory of the university of Beijing. "I don't have the impression that this ecosystem existed there are still a few years", welcomes Thomas Vial. In 2012, Lawrence Priest, patron of Egidium Technologies, specialized in software security of sensitive sites, had hesitated to enter the chinese market after less than three years of existence. With the support of Bpifrance for a first trip, a second trip in a presidential delegation, and then a hand of Ubifrance for select partners, start-ups, however, has won its first contract in the forbidden City, in just one year.
This environment, opening markets for start-ups and enables them to get help. In China, a myriad of actors in the council appear to offer their services, whether it is to find business partners, to facilitate proceedings or to protect the intellectual property, always a touchy issue, even if China converts to the enforcement of patents. "Anything that is administrative, it discusses, confirms Cyril Drouin, founder of Bysoft, a specialist in e-commerce in China since 2003. To a stranger, it is too complex to do it yourself."
the difference of a very international Hong Kong and Singapore, doing business in China must master the language as chinese culture, but also maintain good contacts with the authorities. "They can help navigate the legislation sometimes difficult to interpret, to know, for example tax credits which are available in some areas according to the provinces, or even to get financing from banks," says Chunyan Li, author of Succeed on the chinese market and founder of the firm FEIDA Consulting. The ideal, full-t-it, "is therefore to be accompanied by the Chinese, who have the contacts and knowledge of the two worlds".
time and network
If China becomes more easy to access, it always asks for "a significant investment of time and relational, confirms Thomas Vial, Ubifrance. This is not always simple for the small businesses who have teams very tightened and prefer to devote their efforts to innovation." Start-ups therefore need to make strategic choices, he says. You can't treat China as a market device." The advantage of this is that the efforts are likely to pay "When it works there, it works very quickly, often much more than the United States as the market is immense. It is a few leaves or dubbede."
To put all the chances on their side, some start-ups to open an on-site office. This is the case of Arkamys, a specialist in the HD attracted in Asia, through its agreements with Renault and PSA. The company, which employs some forty employees, has set up a branch in Shanghai. "After a while, you need to reassure the customers to the day to day management, contractual relationships...," says Alexis Charbonnel, its commercial director. The presence and the speed are crucial to the business."
The challenge of recruiting
Recruit employees in china is both a strength and a difficulty in some sectors, that lack of candidates. "In the fields of digital, marketing design in via social networks, the chinese university does not follow yet," observes Cyril Drouin from Bysoft. Then we hire employees at master's level, and it is the form in an academy house for three to six months."
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This is even partly caused by the lack of recruits that Winddle, a start-up company that creates professional solutions for optimizing procurement operations, will leave the China. "Our attempt to recruit locally has been a failure, and recognizes his boss, Alexandre Godvin. Arrived in Shanghai in 2004, attracted by the "11% growth, the olympics and the world Expo", the first box in the quality control had worked well. "But this time, the technology was too specialized. The candidates were so few that I had to pay 4000 euros gross per month. We had to come from the developers of France..." The future of Winddle in 2015: a return to the Hexagon, or the United States.