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Chinese tech hopefuls challenge Silicon Valley heavyweights at TechCrunch

By Katie Hunt and Zhang Dayu, CNN
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
TechCrunch Beijing showcases some of China's most innovative start-ups. During the two-day event, which ended on Tuesday, participants took part in a Silicon Valley-style pitch competition with products such as this smart watch designed for pregnant women to help them keep track of their baby's kicks. TechCrunch Beijing showcases some of China's most innovative start-ups. During the two-day event, which ended on Tuesday, participants took part in a Silicon Valley-style pitch competition with products such as this smart watch designed for pregnant women to help them keep track of their baby's kicks.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 100 Chinese startups attended Beijing TechCrunch this week
  • Organizers and participants say Chinese startups face tough challenges
  • Fund-raising and counterfeits are big problems for Chinese tech innovators

Virtual Think Tank is a digital series focusing on the emerging markets, covering their startups, the power of the middle classes on their economies and the macro environment.

Beijing (CNN) -- San Francisco-based TechCrunch brought a taste of Silicon Valley to Beijing this week, with more than 100 startups showcasing their innovations to tech fans and investors at a two-day event in the Chinese capital.

The conference attracted some of the most forward-thinking and dynamic Chinese technology wannabees, including ANTVR, a wearable gaming device company.

The startup attracted a long line of visitors eager to try out its very first product, ANTVR kit.

Consisting of a headset and a controller, ANTVR claims the kit can provide a "fully immersive experience" by projecting a high-definition image onto users' retinas without distortion and provide an experience similar to an IMAX movie.

During the demo, the player is thrown into a pitch-dark room and told to find the source of a sound, which leads to a pale ghost with blood trickling down her face.

Qin Zheng, founder of ANTVR said the kit is compatible with all major gaming consoles and will hit both Chinese and overseas markets by the end of the year.

The 27-year-old said ANTVR went through the same difficulties as many startups in China — it was hard to find proper platforms to release products and raise funds.

Crowdfunding

Qin founded the company half a year ago, and to get started raised initial funding of $231,095 on U.S. crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

"Fund-raising is hard (here). I think this is why everybody rushes to crowdfunding sites," Qin said.

Lu Gang, head of Technode, TechCrunch's partner in China, said that Chinese startups face a unique set of challenges.

"I think Chinese startups (face) much tougher competition, like copies," said Lu. "We've found so many copycats."

By bringing TechCrunch to China, Lu hopes to bring the originality and creativity that Silicon Valley is known for and inspire Chinese companies to invent something that "really makes a difference."

"I think the TechCrunch brand obviously stands for original work for entrepreneurs, and for creating something out of nothing, which is ideal. I think this is what everybody's striving for," says Lu.

"We want to encourage people here to be truly innovative instead of copying."

Beijing intern Shen Lu contributed to this report

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