As an intern at Internchina, we frequently go out for meetings in the city: introducing InternChina to companies who are looking for an intern from the West, finalising contracts with companies, visiting interns we have successfully placed and so on. It is (almost) always nice to get out of the office for an hour or so, because it is a nice change to the many hours a day we spend in there.
One of the places we quite frequently go for business meetings is the “Tianfu Software Park” in the Southern part of Chengdu. It is not far away from the so-called “Biggest building in the world”: the “New Century Building“. However, the “Tianfu Software Park” has a total of 2.2 million sq.m and hosts hundreds of IT companies: IT consultancies, game and app developers, IT designers and many more.
Chengdu’s software park is often referred to as the “Chinese silicon valley”. During my visits to China since my first time in 2006, I’ve encountered such denotations like the “Chinese Venice” (the city of Suzhou) or “the Chinese Las Vegas” (Macao) quite often. In Europe, we also have similar monikers for some places – think of the Polish capital Warsaw as the “Hong Kong of the East” due to its skyscrapers symbolizing the city’s importance as an economic hub for trade and investment from the East.
However, I think that Suzhou has little association with Venice and if the Chengdu’s software park will ever have roughly the same importance in the future as Silicon Valley has for the world now – we don’t know (A few Indians and I, I guess, have their doubts). Basically, it depends on how Chengdu and China as a whole cope with it’s main economic and social challenges ahead.
In Europe, I have the feeling that we talk too much about democracy in China (the “Chinese Democracy – there is it again) and way too less about the countries problems and (potential) instabilities. The main challenges that also pose barriers for “Chengdu’s Software Park” on its way to its goals to be the “the Chinese silicon valley”, are enormous; an aging workforce, a widening gap between rich and poor, social media challenging the ruling party, environmental degradation on a vast scale – just to mention a few.
Alas, if you want to experience living in a city that thinks it can boost it’s importance and reputation of software development sky-high; a city that is said to be THE place for software and IT that everyone in the world will know in ten years’ time; a city that smells and stinks at the same time of economic growth and aspiration – come to visit Chengdu! Now! This unique atmosphere won’t last forever.
Apply now for a real China experience, in Chengdu, Zhuhai or Qingdao.