Inaugural Arab-China Tech Summit held
Event brings together startups, angel investors from and venture capitalists
Rita Huangzhen is on a mission. Her goal is to bring the Chinese and Middle East’s tech-focused startups together.
Through a startup she founded, ePanda, Huangzhen organised the inaugural “Arab China Tech Summit”, in Dubai in May.
The three day event brought together regional startups and Chinese technology investors and entrepreneurs, to foster networking and dialogue.
“The conference was set up to foster communication between the two cultures and bridge the gap between the ecosystems of the two regions,” says Huangzhen. “It will help to strengthen the bond between the two ecosystems through collaboration and investment with an intent to drive cross-border innovation and technology.”
Huangzhen says an increasing number of startups, entrepreneurs and venture investors from China are investing in the region. “These organisations and individuals need a partner and the right exposure so that can link up with the right partner in the region,” says Huangzhen. “ePanda’s objective is to facilitate this connection between China and the Middle East.”
Huangzhen can leverage her knowledge of both the Middle East where she has been based for over 10 years working with technology companies, as well as her native China. “I want to share the knowledge I have gained in the Middle East market with others who are just starting out in the region.”
Huangzhen founded ePanda to help introduce the Chinese tech community to the start-up ecosystem stakeholders in the Middle East and Africa as well as support Chinese entrepreneurs and investors to scale up in the region. “We believe in entrepreneurship we want to act as a bridge between China and the Middle East,” Huangzhen says.
“I see great potential in this region especially since the relationship between China and the Middle East has historically been very strong,” she adds. ePanda hopes to organise two such events every year.
Among the speakers was Dr Hongjiang Zhang, a prominent tech expert who spoke on the technology transformation journey in China. Dr. Zhang is well known in the research community for his role in research in media computing and his pioneering work in video and image content analysis and search.
The event attracted key players in the local startup scene, including Philip Bahoshy, founder of MAGNiTT. MAGNiTT is a startup engagement platform in the Middle East with over 3000 start-ups registered on the platform.
Bahoshy says MAGNiTT’s role is to connect start-ups to stakeholders, including mentors, VCs, co-founders to the ecosystem. “We help promote a call to action or events that are beneficial to start-ups,” says Bahoshy. “We try to aggregate and bring opportunities for start-ups and the ecosystem and so we are keen to promote this forum for the startup community.”