Young Leaders to China

A new opportunity for young entrepreneurs to develop their start-up and engage with China’s fast-moving innovation culture.

 Applications have closed for 2019

First organised by the Confucius Institute and now run by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the “Young Leaders to China: Innovation and Entrepeneurship” Program gives UNSW-affiliated young entrepreneurs the chance to engage with China’s fast-moving innovation culture and ensure that their start-ups are poised for success.

Program participants will:

  • visit successful star enterprises to observe innovative ideas and culture shaping
  • engage in in-depth exchange with entrepreneurs from Chinese hackerspaces, incubators and chuangke cafes
  • attend lectures at universities delivered by masters of Chinese commerce
  • meet face-to-face with investors and experts who will impart their real-world experience


Program Dates

6 - 20 July 2019


Selection Criteria

Applicants must be:

  • Non-Chinese citizens, under 35 years of age
  • Entrepreneurs/founders of a startup running less than 5 years or have a business plan
  • Are current students or alumni within 5 years of graduation from UNSW 

Note: There is no Chinese proficiency requirement for participants. The tour will be conducted in English.



All expenses in China will be covered by the organisers, i.e. this is a FREE program with accommodation in China and domestic travel included.

You are only responsible for paying for the international flights to and from China, visa application fee and insurance costs. However, this cost will be partially subsidised by the organisers at the conclusion of the program.

How to Apply

Please email your application to: 

In your email, please include:

  • Your contact details (name, phone number, email)
  • Your CV OR a link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Information about your business (a link to your business website OR attachment of a pitch deck OR a business plan)
  • Tell us why we should select you for the program


Trip Locations

1. Shanghai  Science and Technology Innovation Centre

As an international centre of economy, finance, trade and shipping, Shanghai is also at the forefront of promoting scientific and technological innovation. Implementing innovation-driven development strategy and striving to build a science and technology innovation centre with global influence, the city has more than 300 national, municipal and county-level development zones, industrial parks and high-tech parks.

2. Hangzhou  “Internet+” Innovation City

Famous for its West Lake, Hangzhou hosted the 2016 G20 summit and is also the home of e-commerce giant Alibaba. In recent years, the city has rapidly mushroomed in such areas as the Internet of Things (IoT), life sciences and other high-tech companies. In spite of it’s already thriving economy and broader global economic downturn, Hangzhou not only counts itself among the “trillion-dollar GDP club”, but was also ranked first among China’s second-tier cities in GDP growth rate in the first half of 2016.

3. Beijing  Zhongguancun, “China’s Silicon Valley”

Situated in Beijing’s Haidian District, Zhongguancun is the vibrant technology hub dubbed China’s own Silicon Valley. Attracting some of the nation’s biggest Internet players with its prestigious universities and research facilities, Zhongguancun is China’s leading place for innovation and entrepreneurship. It is home to numerous science and technology companies, big business executives, angel investors and professional service personnel.


Trip Details (specific arrangements TBC):

The program involves pre-trip training and guidance for participants to help them achieve success with their entrepreneurial pursuits and set clear learning objectives for the study tour. It requires them to review and consolidate what they have learnt daily, effectively share their insight with others from visiting companies, as well as evaluate their learning experience and give feedback. An advisory group responsible for teaching and guiding participants will consist of well-known entrepreneurs, successful start-up creators, venture capital experts, university scholars and industry experts.


Beijing - Entrepreneurship in China

 Innovative Entrepreneurship Course

1. China’s opportunities and challenges in innovation and entrepreneurship (Zhu Hongwei, Investment Director of Qingyun Venture Capital )

2. Zhongguancun – China’s Silicon Valley (Li Yan, Vice President of Zhongguancun Group)

3. Innovation Strategy and Leadership (Song Guoliang, National Championship Instructor at the 2015 “Internet +” Entrepreneurship Competition)

4. China’s Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Status (Lian Si, author of “Yizu”, Professor at the University of Foreign Trade)

5. Innovation and Development Opportunities in China’s Cultural Industry (Kim Wenzhong, Director of Korean and Chinese Cultural Centre)

 Chinese Business Culture

Chinese Traditional Business Culture and Modern Management

China’s Localised Business Model

 Star Enterprise Visit

Zhongguancun National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone- science & technology, business, sharing economy, star enterprise

718 Media Culture Creative Park Cultural Industry Star Enterprise

 Real-World Exchanges

The participants of each business project or plan will receive one-on- one mentoring with professional entrepreneurs, as well as in-depth exchange with entrepreneurs behind Chinese business projects of a similar nature.

Shanghai - Foreign Capital Headquarters, Science and Technology Innovation Centre

 Innovative Entrepreneurship Course

1. Innovative Transformation from Made in China to “Intelligently” Made in China (Liao Jun, Commercial Director of Celanese Greater China)

2. Shanghai Innovation and Entrepreneurship Environment

3. Policy Innovation in International Trade (FTA, Customs)

 Chinese Business Culture

Cultural Conflict Management in Multinational Enterprises

 Star Enterprise Visit

Celanese (high-end plastics suppliers) / Huawei and Other Representatives of China’s Manufacturing Industry Shanghai Zizhu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone

 Real-World Exchanges

A forum will be held with Enlightenment Star Venture Camp and other innovative business park management to provide participants who intend to enter the Chinese market or engage in trade and entrepreneurship with diagnostic questions.

Hangzhou – “Internet +” Innovation City

 Innovative Entrepreneurship Course

1. Chinese Characteristics of the “Internet +” Industry

2. “Internet +” Background of the Internet of Things and Logistics Industry

3. The Internet and Sharing Economy

 Star Enterprise Visit

Visit to Alibaba headquarters, Hangzhou’s Dream Town and featured companies of the cross-trade town.

 Real-World Exchanges

1. Face-to- face exchanges with Alibaba officials

2. Internet +, International Business and Sharing Economy participants to experience and study the cross-trade town