A high-profile hardware technology competition under the auspices of a local government in western China’s Chongqing Municipality and Li Zexiang, nicknamed China’s “godfather of hardware technology entrepreneurship,” is now open for online registration.
Participants can sign up from March 20 to April 20.
The biggest selling point of the contest — the first of its kind held in Chongqing — is the opportunity to receive in-person coaching by Li, who is also a professor teaching at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
But he is best known for his role as the early angel investor and mentor of Frank Wang, founder and CEO of DJI, a drone leader with more than 80% of the world market and a whopping valuation of some 160 billion yuan (US$23.3 billion) in 2020.
Li is also the founder of XbotPark in southern boomtown Dongguan, an industrial park home to scores of hardware technology startups, many of which have gained worldwide recognition.
The contest this time, themed XbotMan-2023, will be held by Mingyuehu Lake Industrial Innovation Park in Chongqing, with an aim to draw tech entrepreneurs focused on smart gadget and advanced manufacturing.
The competition will be divided into two groups, namely, seed projects and more mature but still early-stage ventures.
Aside from being coached by Li himself and other mentors behind closed doors, contestants are also eligible for a cash award totalling 490,000 yuan.
The industrial park also has set aside 500,000 to 3.5 million yuan, among other means of financial support, to reward entrepreneurs who take part in the match.
The competition is to last three months and hold its final in June.
A legendary figure, Li has presided over a number of success stories in China’s burgeoning smart gadget landscape. The XbotPark entrepreneurial ecosystem, which he heads, has to date successfully incubated 65 companies, representing 80% of the total.
Among them 15% are unicorns or quasi-unicorns, including Narwal (云鲸智能), e-Propulsion (逸动科技), SwitchBot (卧安科技) and Hairobotics (海柔创新).
According to public information, Mingyuehu Lake Industrial Innovation Park is the sole branch of XbotPark in western China. In line with Chongqing’s fixation on developing smart technology and new energy sectors, the park focuses on intelligent mobility, agriculture and construction.
By nurturing talent and incubating startup ventures, XbotPark under Li’s stewardship exposes young tech entrepreneurs to a steep learning curve and helps them create companies with the potential to change the world.