Summary of Why Shanghai Is Not a Tech Start-Up Hub in China

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Why Shanghai Is Not a Tech Start-Up Hub in China summary
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While Shanghai has historically been a hub of business and commerce, the internet sector hasn’t taken hold in the city. Shanghai native Fei Fei Mao – blogging as Zhihufeifeimao – offers her opinions on why this is the case. Her article went viral, but many readers criticized her for exaggerating. Nevertheless, her analysis offers a better understanding of Shanghai business and culture. 

About the Author

Shanghai native Fei Fei Mao – blogging as Zhihufeifeimao for her WeChat account – is one of the most popular writers on Zhihu, China’s largest online Q&A platform.



Shanghai gave birth to some star internet companies, but in 2019 none of the most successful internet companies have headquarters in Shanghai.

People looking for jobs in the internet industry or planning to launch an internet start-up, will typically turn to Beijing and Shenzhen – the internet start-up hubs in China. Shanghai, however, isn’t a prime location. Even Shanghai’s neighbor Hangzhou has more internet-related opportunities, which is prompting investors to leave Shanghai for Hangzhou. At the beginning of the internet boom, Shanghai was home to many start-up front runners. But better-performing competitors and large corporations bought out almost all of these Shanghai-based internet companies. Without a heavyweight player like Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent in Shanghai, there’s no breeding ground or cluster effect for talent. Shanghai seems to have missed the boat.

Shanghai doesn’t provide financial support to internet start-ups.

Start-ups in China usually employ a strategy of burning through the cash quickly to seize market share and grow rapidly. To...