A few months ahead of its move from Ultimo to Sydney’s CBD and expansion into Brisbane, Sydney coworking community Fishburners has announced it is planning to open a new space in Shanghai by the end of the month to help Australian startups enter the Chinese market.
Peter Davison, cofounder of Fishburners, and Daniel Shi of Chinese incubator 23Seed will head up the space, which is also being established with the aim of helping Chinese entrepreneurs to engage with Australian startups and facilitating a two-way knowledge exchange.
Murray Hurps, CEO of Fishburners, said, “We support entrepreneurs aiming for large markets, and while Australia’s an amazing place to launch a startup, the large addressable markets are almost always overseas.”
Davison, who has been working in China for some time, added the opportunities for Australian startups in China are huge, and “with Australia’s long history of traditional entrepreneurship in China, the time is right for Australian tech entrepreneurs to contribute to the Chinese revolution.”
He said, “I have never seen or read about any economic or cultural change in the history of civilisation as fast or large as we are seeing in China right now. There are more internet users in China than in any other country in the world even with only half of the country online.”
Fishburners isn’t the only Sydney coworking community looking to China, with fintech coworking community Stone and Chalk also this week launching its Fintech Asia incubation exchange program.
As part of the program, three Chinese startups have been welcomed to spend three months at Stone and Chalk, with CEO Alex Scandurra saying the program aims to spur collaboration by “creating a fintech super-highway” across Asia.
“This isn’t a country versus country play. We are helping governments, regulators and key organisations across Asia to adopt best practice,” he said.
“We want to ensure that as a region we are able to create new wealth and employment opportunities by helping to foster the industries of tomorrow, particularly as fintech is uniquely positioned to support every sector of every economy.”
The three startups were chosen after taking part in Stone and Chalk’s Shanghai Pitch Night, held as part of the Australia Week in China trade delegation in April.
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the program will give the startups a run at a test market comprised of a culturally diverse population that will help prepare them for the wider US and European markets, while also placing them in the centre of a growing fintech landscape.
Speaking at the launch of the program yesterday, Ayres said, “My strong sense is that the global economic centre of gravity has shifted away from places like the United States and London to a line on the earth that runs somewhere between Shanghai and Sydney and picks up half of the world’s GDP.
It also picks up the fastest growing middle class, and it also picks up the fastest growing group of people in the world that is taking technology into every single format of their life. I think that places Sydney as the ideal location to grow a business.”
The incubation exchange is part of Stone and Chalk’s Fintech Asia program, announced in February by Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison; it has received $150,000 in funding from the Government.
The three startups taking part in the program are MEGI Software, which provides cloud-based accounting software for Asian companies; RoyalPay, which has created a one-stop mobile payment and payment collection platform; and S Capitol, a ‘bank for entrepreneurs’ focused on streamlining cash management for startups.
Image: the Fintech Asia teams. Source: Twitter.