Win in China-maker gives West a wake-up call

Written by Reema Jose | Bangalore | Updated: Nov 23 2009, 05:06am hrs
Film maker-entrepreneur and venture capitalist Robert Compton is doing what he can best, to give a wake-up call, to the world. His latest documentary, Win in China features the growth of entrepreneurship in China, which to Compton was explosive and veiled to rivals in India and his own home country, the United States.

There is an explosion of entrepreneurship in China, which is unnoticed by the Western world and India, he says, adding, People have a vague sense of the progress that the Chinese are making in creating more jobs. But nobody knows of the massive investments that the country is making in incubating new ventures.

A case in point, Compton urges, is the progress that the largest Chinese research park Zhongguancun has made in creating new ventures and new jobs. The research park has 21,000 companies employing nearly one million and was ten times larger than its American counterpart: research triangle hub. A new company is created at Zhongguancun every 4.6 days, Compton says, adding, I am not aware of any research park in India, or a system here which does work of this magnitude.

Incubation environments in India, according to him, lacked the scale and the culture compared to those of its competitors.

Compton was on his fourth visit to Bangalore when FE caught up with him. His previous visit was in January, to promote Two million minutes, his documentary, which went on to create much controversy because it showed that the US education system at school levels lagged in quality, compared with China or India.

Here is what he has to say about entrepreneurship in India: Indian businesses are more service-centred as opposed to Chinese being products-centred, and the services sector will not create the range of jobs that manufacturing sector can. Also, young Indians out of college are encouraged to take jobs with the best brands in the country. They should in fact, graduate with thoughts of creating new companies and new jobs.

Comptons Win in China takes its name from a Chinese reality show which involves a business plan competition, where 120,000 entrepreneurs compete for prize money of over $5 million and the winner secures $1.5 million to invest in a new venture. Even as a Harvard graduate, it was news to me that the largest business plan competition and the largest investments in entrepreneurship were being made by the Chinese, Compton says about making the film, I wanted to give a wake-up call to the politicians, to entrepreneurs and to the general public in the West that we are going to fall dangerously behind the Chinese economically, if we do not become more entrepreneurial, he says.