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Hutong (Ad)Ventures

[PODCAST] Hutong (Ad)Ventures – Episode 05: Mike Zhang

Mike Zhang is the founder and CEO of Walnut co-working space in Chengdu, in southwestern China.

Born in China, grew up in Canada, Mike returned to China to found Walnut in 2015, the first co-working brand in Chengdu. Unlike most returnees or expats, Mike’s research took him to start in Chengdu, not the usual Tier 1 cities. A big thanks to Brodie Burns – Williamson from the Australian Consulate Chengdu for suggesting Mike as a good interviewee candidate.

Key points covered:

  1. Background to Walnut
  2. Why choosing Chengdu?
  3. Differences between Chengdu and a Tier 1 city.
  4. Walnut vs other co-working spaces: differences
  5. Thoughts on coworking space vs accelerators/incubators
  6. What are some of the interesting startups that have been in Walnut? Are they a reflection of the Chengdu startup scene?
  7. As a returnee Chinese, what are the difficulties faced and how to overcome them?

Items mentioned:

Favourite book: The House of Morgans by Ron Chernow

Favourite Chinese investor: Zhang Lei, Hillhouse Capital

You can also find all past episodes of Hutong (Ad)Ventures on iTunes and Stitcher.