With all the recent TechCrunch drama– not to mention my own busy September giving birth– you might think our upcoming Disrupt Beijing conference had gotten pushed to the back-burner. You’d be wrong.
We’ve been busy ferreting out and booking more of the hottest names in the Chinese startup scene to augment our already announced keynotes by Tencent CEO Pony Ma, Chinese angel and entrepreneur Lei Jun, and a host of Western entrepreneurs who are traveling to China along with the TechCrunch staff.
One of our most anticipated keynotes is no stranger to Silicon Valley: Innovation Works founder and former head of Google China Kai-Fu Lee. Lee is one of those rare executives who has deep experience in the US with top companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google and deep connections in China as well. He made waves in 2009 when he quit the top job at Google China and opened an incubator for Chinese entrepreneurs in the same office complex. Innovation Works recently raised an additional $180 million.
Lee was one of the first people to lobby hard for a TechCrunch conference in Beijing during one of my reporting trips to the country a few years ago. He said he’d do whatever we needed to help make it happen, and we took him up on his offer, making Innovation Works our local partner for the event. We appreciate all their help so far.
Some of our other speakers may not be as well known in the Valley as Lee, but they are up-and-coming rockstars of the Chinese tech world.
David Li is the CEO of YY.com, a social media company in China that allows people to connect in groups around certain activities and interests over voice, video and text. It first debuted in July 2008 and already has more than 200 million registered users and fifty million monthly active users. More staggering: On average each active user spends a whopping seven hours per day on the site. YY.com is one of several widely anticipated IPO candidates leading China’s tech scene.
A few other Chinese startups being watched closely by investment bankers are the trio of group buying giants: Lashou, Meituan and 24quan. There are thousands of group buying clones in China, but these are three of the largest, and we’ll have their founders and CEOs on stage together. If you’re a Groupon hater, you’ll love this panel, because these guys are absolutely murdering Groupon in the market.
Ecommerce has lagged entertainment and gaming in the Chinese Web scene, but it’s suddenly getting a lot sexier. We’ve invited some of our favorite up-and-comers on stage, including Fangfang Wu, founder and CEO of kids’ clothing etailer Greenbox and Lu Dong, the CEO of La Miu. La Miu– an online lingerie company that has succeeded where Western brands like Victoria’s Secret have failed– is literally one of the sexier ecommerce companies in China.
We’ll also have a panel discussion about the state of investments, exits and valuations, after a challenging summer for Chinese IPOs. VCs from top firms like DCM, Qiming, GSR Ventures, Northern Light Venture Capital and others will talk about what they’re seeing in the market. Some of them will hang around to judge the Startup Battlefield. Stayed tuned to the Disrupt Beijing site for more details on the judges.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a conference by a Silicon Valley-based media company in China without addressing the elephant in the room: Why do so many Silicon Valley companies fail so badly in the country? We’ll put the question to one Westerner who has succeeded wildly in China: Fritz Demopoulos. Demopoulos cofounded Chinese sports portal Shawei back in 1999, selling it to the Tom Group before the market crashed. He followed that up by cofounding Qunar, which recently raised $306 million from Baidu.
Buy your tickets now, if you haven’t already! Early bird pricing ends October 10. If you want to understand the Chinese tech scene, you don’t want to miss this conference.
We’re also now selling entry-level exhibitor sponsor package directly on the Beijing Disrupt website on the ticket section. TechCrunch Disrupt is about integrating companies with the event experience — instead of creating standalone exhibition space, we incorporate demo areas in with the main traffic flow of the conference which is accessible to all attendees. We provide the tables, signage, power and Internet connectivity; Exhibitors only need bring a sizzling product and unbridled enthusiasm! Sponsors may also use the space as a meet and greet area. Exhibitors also receive a block of 4 full conference passes and inclusion in all the event online and printed on-site materials.
Stay tuned for more announcements! We’ve still got a few more speakers and special announcements up our sleeves…