Our interviewee Dan Xu, who is studying for her MBA, is a participant of Asia-Pacific Innovation Academy International Accelerator Program. Dan Xu said that she appreciated the ideas of APIA and was greatly attracted by excellent mentors from home and overseas, innovators with entrepreneurial dreams and youngsters who are interested in starting their own businesses here. During the program, she can cooperate as a team with other participants from world-class universities to complete an incubation project which is organized around Artificial Intelligence. Being sparkled by the collision of ideas is of great interests.
In 2007, with help of University of Macau Innovation Center, Dan Xu as a CEO, hatched “Nanjia Intelligent Manufacturing - Unmanned Surface Vessel Combined With Education For Patriotism and Entertainment Project” from conceptuality. She combined unmanned surface vessel technology with elements of patriotic education and entertainment to create the first creative and cultural park in our country that is based on innovative naval battle performance and related applications of unmanned surface vessel. She said this project was derived from the tradition of loving the motherland and loving macau and the Macaeneses’ emotion of “family-country”. This program has now become one of the first major incubation projects of University of Macau Innovation Center.
What does the young CEO Dan Xu who was born in 1988 look like? Is she independent and dare to struggle? Is she delicate and elegant with positive attitude for life? How is she feeling now as an APIAer?
We decided to have an exclusive interview with Dan Xu in order to discover the differences of innovation and entrepreneurship between Macau and Mainland by her narrative of inspiration to entrepreneurship and influences to students.
At first, the mentor at University of Macau recommended APIA International Accelerator Program to Dan Xu. She says, “My mentor suggested me to participate in APIA and I found this program is interesting because I could meet over two hundred students who think globally and excellent mentors here. After 21 days when the project has been completed, the ideas of Artificial Intelligence and related areas could help us develop experience in innovation and entrepreneurship.”
2018 APIA Interntional Accelerator Program aims to hatch over 40 programs. Dan Xu and her teammates are running an extension project of pre-school education that targets children aged three to eight. She says, “Our project is an educational platform for children to spark attraction. There is a huge potential market to help these kids know their interests and our project is to fill market gaps.”
A chief mentor from Silicon Valley assigned by the sponsor APIA is promoting enterprise operations effectively and following the venture group throughout the whole program. She says, “We are greatly inspired by our mentor in creative thinking. At the first meeting, she let us give a brief introduction of ourselves in life. She is concerned not only with our venture project, but also with lifestyles. She cares what we are interested in and it could be a foreign language, a sports game or anything else. She encourages us to work hard and have a wonderful experience here.”
In terms different ways of life, Dan Xu attributes the Macaenses’ slow life tempo to the the issue left over by history that Macao was ruled by the Portuguese for a long time. Another difference is science and technology development. The Macaenses put much emphasis on gambling industry that accounts for a large share of GDP and its technological development lacks support.
Dan Xu says, “China Mainland is developing rapidly and it props up many high-tech enterprises, but is rarely seen in Macau with limited entrepreneurship.” She encouraged more students and young entrepreneurs from Macau to participate in APIA program in the future, thereby promoting regional cooperation and exchanges of mutual benefits. She tells us, “People from China Mainland embrace an extremely competitive outlook and we all live in the dynamic era that values creativity. Particularly in Shenzhen, people are not always free and pace of life is of crucial difference between Macau and China Mainland.”
Research on “Macau Entrepreneuship Index” published in December 2017 pointed out that 58% of investigated entrepreneurs have plan to start a business or expand their businesses in Mainland within the following two years and 66.7% of them recognize the promising future of Mainland. Entrepreneurs from Macau have strong desire for starting a business or expanding their businesses. As for those who have no plan to do businesses in Mainland within the following two years, 53.6% of them are not familiar with the Mainland market, followed by the lack of funding for 17.9% of respondents. Obviously, it is of great importance to strengthen exchanges and communications in innovation and entrepreneurship, thereby promoting mutual commercial exchanges on which we must now continue to build.