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Executives share views on China's Web future: Reid Hoffman

China Daily Updated: 2015-12-17

Editor's note: The Second World Internet Conference, also known as the Wuzhen Summit, is taking place in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province. China Daily reporters interviewed Reid Hoffman, Executive chairman and co-founder of LinkedIn to learn his views.


Q: What role is the Internet likely to play in China's next Five-Year Plan (2016-20) during the economy's new normal phase of slower, more sustained growth?

Under the circumstance that the China government is advocating the spirit of entrepreneurship, many more people will become entrepreneurial, if not entrepreneurs. The keeper of your career will be not your employer but your personal network-so you'd better put a lot of effort into making it as extensive and as vital as possible.

The Internet is a critical and an effective vehicle for individuals and enterprises to gather information and resources, talent and technology improvements are also vital elements to help enterprises come through a low accelerating economy situation. I'm sure this vehicle will absolutely play an important role in the next five years in China.

Q: China aims to become a world leader in Internet technology. In what spheres do you think the country is particularly well placed to achieve this goal? What skills that China excels in do you think could be exploited to this end? What is the biggest hurdle that stands in the way of China achieving its goal?

A: China has great engineering schools and many great engineers. Some of the Chinese Internet entrepreneurship has been world-leading-whether it's WeChat as a communications platform, a truly global marketplace with Alibaba, or the massive number of startups in offline to online. China's culture of working fast and trying many options will create great companies here. I believe readiness to embrace the new era is vital, including individuals and companies.

Every once in a while, a great opportunity comes along that might help you leapfrog up the career ladder. Such breakout opportunities may seem like blind luck, but a talent can always develop thinking and behaviors that help you recognize when such "luck" appears. One habit is to remain curious about events that happen in your everyday life. Stay focused, keep self-developing and be vigilant to opportunities.

Q: Which particular industry do you think is going to be "shaken" by the Internet, or which area do you find the most promising to apply the government action plan of Internet Plus?

A: I definitely see cross-border e-commerce.

Q: In China's Internet sector are there any areas (such as cross-border e-commerce, video or gaming) that you expect to do particularly well in the coming years?

A: I also see the intersection of hardware and Internet services doing very well, for example Xiaomi or other companies that combine hardware with digital services. I also think that some of the experiments on business models for software, both in games and in security, will teach great things to entrepreneurs around the world.

Q: If you were to give an Internet startup just one piece of advice, what would it be?

A:  Given the volume of competition in China, it may be very useful to start with an idea that initially seems crazy then once you get to scale is very valuable. Linkedin was one of these ideas.

Cyberspace Administration of China
People's Government of Zhejiang Province
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
International Telecommunication Union
World Intellectual Property Organization
Secretariat of World Internet Conference (Preparatory Office)
Cyberspace Administration of Zhejiang Province
Economy and Information Technology Department of Zhejiang Province
Tongxiang Municipal People's Government
National Internet Emergency Center
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