Case Study

Yang Mama’s Thousland Enterprises Ltd and new venture management in China

9 pages
December 2013
Reference: IMD-3-2412

Yang Qiu Ping (Yang Mama) was a government official who founded and ran Shanghai’s Xuhui Software Base (SXSB) for 12 years. SXSB incubated 154 enterprises including big names that went public like Home Inns or Giant Interactive. Her experience supporting Chinese entrepreneurs and understanding gaps and obstacles in the system lead her to conceive Thousland in 2011. Thousland offered aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to access resources, e.g. funding, and to build networks (guanxi). The case gives a glimpse into a particular way in which new ventures were being nurtured in China and the government’s direct and indirect roles. Thousland illustrates aspects of State Capitalism, e.g. public-private partnerships applied to high-tech areas and innovation. The PRC’s National Innovation System (NIS) contrasts with models elsewhere, e.g. Silicon Valley. In addition to covering the perspectives of entrepreneurs and the Chinese variety of capitalism, the case considers a third level: Yang Mama’s personal bet once she had left government and crossed to the other side to become an entrepreneur herself. Or, as she noted an “entrepreneur of entrepreneurs.” Regardless of the support it received from Shanghai institutions, Thousland had to generate revenue and monetize its new venture management services. The business model was sophisticated, had both online and offline facets and consisted of various components, including free guidance to funders; investments in promising ventures and deal flow intermediation with VCs; or the development of a network of a dozen high technology parks around China. The case might lead to a variety of discussions, e.g., is the described model an effective way of launching new ventures in China, a growing economy ever more in need of innovation yet still lacking the sophisticated capital markets and other institutions to support high-tech entrepreneurship? Will Yang Mama’s business model succeed, spread and become a reference across China or beyond?

Learning Objective

China’s venture management and innovation model: How the state and private initiatives such as Thousland work on the transition from “Made in China” to “Created in China.” Entrepreneurs and business models: Frameworks for the analysis of opportunities, risk and strategic options. Doing Business in China: Country-specific insights embedded in cultural and institutional understanding, as relevant to both Chinese and foreign business persons operating in the PRC.

Doing Business, High Technology, Public-Private Partnership, Business Model, Software
Asia, China
Thousland, Manufacturing, Technology
Field Research
© 2013
Available Languages
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