2. The probability of Unicornism is directly related to the size of the market you can access. US is the biggest single market on the planet.
3. Accessibility of markets: While EU is the second largest single market  US companies have entered european markets just fine. On the other hand, to operate in china, it's best to be a chinese company. Hence, to fund growth on a global scale going native in china is an obvious move.
By which measure? China has nearly five times as many inhabitants, the biggest economic growth over the past three decades of any country, and out-produces the US by over nine thousand. If it's not yet the biggest market on the planet yet, it soon will be.
A big problem for the US is that it is a litle off, while most other social/cultural areas are closely connected. For instance, China and Russia might be almost as close allies as the pre-Trump US and Europe. But because Russia and Europe are so close, in fact the business dependencies between both are quite high as well. So a lot of business happens in that exchange, with high values due to the political risks. Since the US lacks such interdependencies with close neighbors it can survive better in a time like WW2 but it is harder in a long peace time like we currently have.
I woud assume it's not a term like "revenue" but more a general word. It's also not smart for your own analysis to assume a single value for it. If you write a business case for instance, it's quite smart to summarize how you size the market for your product/service as well.
That completely underestimates the cultural ties US and 'Europe' has and overestimates the co-operation between parties who co-operate pragmatically from time to time but really can't trust or understand each other.
" US lacks such interdependencies with close neighbors it can survive better in a time like WW2 but it is harder in a long peace time like we currently have."
That's some extremely peculiar economic calculus.
From this point of view dollars do equal the estimated size, not how much commodities or services you can buy with it.
Someone with more experience can comment hopefully on this.
The EU doesn't really have unified regulations. I mean, regulations passed at the EU level are unified, but countries have a great degree of country-specific regulations themselves.
Now, technically states within the US have the ability to regulate things at the state level, but due to various aspects of Constitutional law (the Commerce Clause, and case law such as the Sherman Antitrust Act, etc.), there are far fewer state-specific regulations that companies have to worry about for interstate commerce within the US than international commerce within the EU. Unless you're dealing with very specific regulated industries (money transmission, health insurance, etc.), you generally don't have to worry about a lot for basic interstate commerce in the US.
The only thing that really drove us out was the pollution (a huge problem in Beijing that is supposedly finally getting better).
Given the US visa policy, as bad as it is, still attracts far more many foreigners than China, at least. More than most countries actually even by per capita measures.
Basic question: what do you do in China for browsing, emails and maps? I suppose Google doesn't work there and all the local services would be in Mandarin, no? When I travel I use Google search, emails, maps extensively but I have no clue what would I do in China. Also FB and Twitter also likely won't be accessible. So how do I even keep touch with folks outside China, especially if I don't know Mandarin?
Email: I use outlook.com, but I shut my gmail account long before gmail was blocked. I'm weird.
maps: Apple Maps on an iphone works well enough. Not sure if gmaps on Android works or not. Many Google services still work even if a few are blocked.
Browsing: many websites work in China, but I also had full internet access at work for when I needed it, so Facebooking family was easy enough, I just didn't use it at night when I was at home...I didn't miss it.
Its definitely isolating, but not incredibly so. If you are addicted to social media, this can even help you become unaddicted, weird therapy for sure :)
It includes transit, at least for Beijing, see https://www.apple.com/ios/feature-availability/. I always took a taxi though so that wasn’t very important to me, so I used mostly the didi dache app.
Install Didi so you can hail a ride. Install WeChat and some of the mini apps so that you can order Starbucks without waiting in line. Since you probably don't have a Chinese bank account, find a local (possibly even a hotel concierge) who is willing to take cash from you and send you some RMB into your WeChat account so you can pay vendors, including restaurant bills, train tickets, farmer's markets, and the guy on the street corner selling oranges.
Pretty straight forward.
Follow this tutorial: https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/how-to-make-you...
In past trips to China, VPN services--specially Express VPN--allowed me to easily bypass the Great Firewall. That unlocks Twitter, FB, Google services, etc.
That being said, many services don't have a great experience in China. For example, Google Maps doesn't offer public transit or driving instructions. In these cases, using the chinese-based app (Du Maps) is just far better.
>> ExpressVPN worked well on windows, although flakey for me on Android.
>> Set up ShadowSocks on a server outside China.
>> Buy a SIM card in Hong Kong, they apparently maintain their unrestricted internet access even in the mainland.
You definitely don't need 大山-level mandarin to do business in china these days.
Plenty of foreigners work in China having much less than 6 months of Chinese. Most of them weren't even at my level. They still got by. Business meetings held with foreigners are usually in English anyways, it is only the old guard (Xi's generation) that can't English very well. And those people aren't so common in tech.
I don't think your numbers are right. Tibet has 4 million population. Xinjiang has 20 million, among which 50% are Han. Those are only 2 provinces where I can think of that doesn't require Mandarin to get by in certain area.
The rest of China, at least, could understand Mandarin without problems.
Guangdong province alone is 100 million people. Some of whom are Mandarin speakers (1st or 2nd or 2nd+ language). But many are not, not even as 2nd or 2nd+ language speakers. And their predominant language is Cantonese. Many people grew up before mandatory Mandarin education was instituted. There's a similar situation in other huge provinces all around China, especially southern China.
China is an especially interesting market to us given the quality of companies and entrepreneurs we see there.
Language barrier is not an issue for YC - they can just hire mandarin speakers like Lu Qi. I’m sure YC China would get mostly Chinese employees.
It's not going to be easy, but it would better address the political and humanitarian issues raised.
However, I think it's easy to fall into a trap of assuming that everything about China (or any other culture) is worse just because it's different. My experience in China, and talking to Chinese people about their experiences in China, has been very different than what I assumed it would be.
(1) The talent pools in Taiwan and China are different
(2) The markets in Taiwan and China are very different
Right now the Chinese market is more important than the Chinese talent pool, but both are important. Basing an accelerator in Taiwan would be good for Taiwan, but it would not meaningfully engage with the Chinese market or talent pool. It's too late in the game for that.
Even if YC's ultimately goal were political and humanitarian it would still be more effective to base the accelerator in China and use the additional leverage gained from being in China to better pursue those goals.
Disclosure: I am an American currently living in Taiwan.
It's clear that you're speaking from a political perspective, but even that gets a bit grey.
Since you don't live in China, you should know that there are hundreds of different versions of China within China itself. You could live in Shanghai and never know the reality of the China that the people of Xinjiang experience. So I would say to your points that:
1) The markets all over China are very different.
2) The talent pools all over China are very different.
If YC wants to call it YC Shangjing, (because they're primarily targeting those two markets), that would be fair. But considering China just to be Shanghai and Beijing is a bit myopic, which is why I suggested Taiwan in the first place.
Disclosure: I am a Chinese-American currently living in Northwest China, which is VERY different than Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Linxia, Shenyang, etc. all of which I've visited.
Taiwan is literally the Republic of China. The leadership is descended from the same people who overcame the Japanese. Pretending the Communist Party has a monopoly on the word 'China' is uninformed and unreasonable.
Off topic, a better compromise would have been Hong Kong, inside the PRC with some degree of democracy, though less than originally promised in 1997.
However, "Taiwan is literally the Republic of China." is disingenuous considering that their government is not the one that sits in the United Nations.
I am from China mainland, having friends and colleagues from Taiwan. Don't want to see wars happen between PRC and ROC.
"China" is the name of a country. For historical reasons the "Republic of China" is one of the names of a different country, but having "China" in its name doesn't make it (a part of) China.
Most people call China "China" simply because China's current territory is closest to the China that existed before the Nationalist/Communist split. It's not a political statement. Two different countries needs two different names. Taiwan is for all intents and purposes a country but it can't declare itself one now because of military threat from China.
Yes, there are Taiwanese who want Taiwan to subjugate itself and become part of China. But all the young people I have talked to, excluding blindly patriotic Chinese, see Taiwan as Taiwan and China as China-- as two separate countries with their own economies, histories, cultures, and languages.
Native Chinese here. I don't think this is the case. It's not even close to ideal to base in Taiwan given the political environment between the straits nowadays. The policies are very unfriendly. Recruitment and market delivery is even more complicated than between foreign countries actually.
The apps used in Taiwan and China are significantly different. In China, its anything owned by tencent, baidu, or alibaba.
The app market in Taiwan uses mostly English offerings (google, facebook, instagram) with a combination of Asianic/Non-china based apps including Line, which is similar to Whatsapp or Wechat.
Not you don't. For most of the Chinese entrepreneurs create startups inside China - their local market is big enough to not to have to worry about internationalization. The big three you named there, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, didn't worry about that at all for many years sine their establishments.
> In China, its anything owned by tencent, baidu, or alibaba.
There are certain truth to it, but there are exceptions too. I.E. Douyin/Tik Tok(social vlogging) and Pinduoduo (e-commerce) have been immensely popular and successful in recent years and weren't owned (or significantly owned) by the big three.
In my OP I said it would be work. It would be more of a challenge for Mainland Chinese applicants to launch their businesses while not being in the Mainland, but if that was their biggest problem then they're prepped for success!
This is not true. Taiwanese investment in China is considered 'external'. And Taiwan's talent reserve is no way to be considered as on par against mainland China. But that is not the point either, I think YC just wants an entity in China, not for the talents, but for the market. Under the risk of being downvoted, I have to say China has created some world class startups in the past decade, only second to US.
Also speaking of world class, have you heard of DJI?
Not trying to move the goalpost, but DJI is more of a hardware company, it isn't really an internet one. Any company that can operate outside of a services model will do just fine in China, since they are just shipping product for export.
Also aren't we talking about tech company? Not internet company alone?
Or do you consider a market closed off if no foreign internet service company is doing well? In that standard US is also closed off because I can't think of a single successful non US internet company here.
But take the typical YC startup business models, most of those aren't going to be in those safe categories.
Also AWS China is a huge deal.
Isn't it the case already? In our company, the preference to host an overseas talent always goes to China's office for simplicity of immigration process. Secondary to that, I have to admit, is the significantly reduced chance of hostile talent poaching.
What was the reason you left China?
BTW. Ever crosses paths with Shanghai Bill of Slashdot fame?
2. Most of us left because of the really really bad pollution. You can’t have kids breathing that.
3. I was based in Beijing, not Shanghai.
YC is not a NFP, it is a VC firm. It does indeed just care about money. Thinking otherwise is naive.
Sure, YC wouldn't feed babies to lions to make money, but short of direct-- and that is the key word-- contribution to inhuman acts, everything else is fair game for Venture Capitalism.
Moreover, here, it would have been OK if the political climate in China was improving, but it's not. In fact with Xi getting supreme power, it's worsening. So, with that in mind this does not send the proper message.
Having said that, YC is a private business, and from where I stand this is not PG/SL's YC, and I have no business projecting my ethics and morality on YC.
But, anyone supporting YC in here, should also not be critical of Google or any other company when they do business in China, nor should they be surprised when they hear of atrocities in Tibet, Uighur, Chinese police state etc.
Because the startups are simply not there. Why doesn’t US YC base in Puerto Rico
China gets a score of 14/100 as opposed to Taiwan
which gets 93/100.
In my mind we should "Look for the Freedom label" and use this as a somewhat objective measure if we want to have free trade with free people.
I think a better move would be to move YC China to Vancouver, given the high density of rich Chinese expats in Vancouver, and its status of being in a liberal, western democracy. 
Railing against it just because it's recent is just kind of arguing to a particular status quo. What makes the Chinese takeover of Taiwan any more or less legitimate than the PRC takeover of the mainland?
You're not adding any information when you post like this. It's just a big opinion with a strong feeling attached. When someone else with the opposite opinion comes along and blasts their opposite strong feeling, is any information going to be exchanged? No it is not. Therefore it's off topic for thoughtful conversation, which is what we're trying for here.
HN threads thrive on curiosity and specifics, wither on the gruel of grandiosity, and burn under scorching rhetoric.
A million Uyghur and Muslims in camps. That's a sixth of a Holocaust.
If you guys want to fling furious links around, you need to find another site to do it. It isn't part of thoughtful discussion—it's pure reflex.
If we aren't allowed to talk about and compare what the nazis did, how will we learn from it?
If this comparison is not permitted in this situation, when will it ever be?
Really quite disappointed in your stance on this one.
And please, spare us the condescending attitude that we don't actually care about this stuff. If we are going to veer off into "unstated positions and assumptions" territory there is a white hot glaringly obvious apparent conflict of interest with HN moderation shutting down discussion of human rights abuses right as YC china launches, dont you think?
We actually moderate HN threads less, not more, when YC is the topic—this is a longstanding principle on HN. But that doesn't mean we don't moderate them at all. You only need to read a small sample of the moderation comments we post to this site to see how consistent we are on these questions.
So tell us, Dan, how would one criticize the Chinese government for imprisoning dissidents and genocide, while staying within your guidelines? How must one couch it to pass the Great Firewall of Hacker News? Serious question.
To the extent that people are fulminating rather than saying anything substantive, and reacting ideologically or tribally rather than thoughtfully, they're crossing outside the scope of what this site is for. Heated rhetoric, grandiose generalization, and angry name-calling are the kind of thing that mark this distinction. Your comment at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17764244 is an example of the kind of thing that clearly moves the needle into the red.
So, real talk, why do you think concerns over YC working with a government with super shaky human-rights record are unimportant or unfounded?
A valid answer is totally "Because we're gonna make money and nobody complaining is in a position to actually do anything."
What do you think about it?
The problem with bringing such links into arguments like this is that no one does so for reasons of intellectual interest. For example, in this case, people aren't actually interested in the plight of the Uighurs. Rather, it's convenient ammunition for justifying pre-existing political and national feelings. Such a move is not part of thoughtful conversation at all; it's just ideology and tribal loyalty, which explains why the discussions are so utterly repetitive—and therefore off topic for HN.
Of course, this is what Marxism does: fight for the oppressed--when it's convenient. The rest of the time, they are fodder.
I'm not sure what to say if HN's position is that it's too controversial (or is it that "all denunciations are the same"? They are not) to call out such actions. These discussions are clearly related to the topic at hand.
Maybe those of us criticizing the Chinese government aren't saying anything new, but that doesn't lessen the need to speak out. It's neither "rhetoric" nor "grandiosity" to point out that it's morally wrong for a government to act the way China's does.
I would expect the PRC to put a lid on this sort of criticism, not Hacker News. It's bordering on complicity.
> For example, in this case, people aren't actually interested in the plight of the Uighurs.
What an awful sentiment. Please don't profess to know my own moral compass. I am deeply concerned and sickened; we all should be. These people are being forcibly relocated and tortured by their own government.
If you refuse to serve Chinese people, that's another level of the story.
If you think serving people in China is somehow helping the government, you are somehow admitting the legitimacy of the government.
Is it ethical that doing business in Five Eye countries?
Is providing tools/services to the people considered unethical comparing to providing none?
What about free services that everyone including the Chinese can access via Internet? Are they unethical because they didn't block the Chinese?
Without going to far into the political weeds, the US has never delivered freedom effectively at the end of a gun, but rather through McDonalds and Coca Cola.
There is literally no way to do this without the cooperation of the Chinese government.
More generally, please don't practice the online shaming culture of denunciation on Hacker News. It makes for lousy, predictable discussion, regardless of how right you are or feel. From an intellectual curiosity point of view—which is the main value of this site—all denunciations are the same.
On one hand I'm curious to see the responses to the idea that corporations that were founded and bloomed in liberal countries can suddenly just become "global" companies and not be held to those same liberal standards.
On the other, I look at countries like China and Russia and wonder how much mileage this "liberal world order" has left in the gas tank.
If we look at history we can see that when liberalism first encountered china it wasn't John Locke and human rights that opened up trade, but a naval blockade that forced china to capitulate (and create hong kong too, which is the most liberal country in asia).
Do we as the west have the ability or the willpower to pull a move like that again? Because if we don't then i don't see how we can overcome china other than writing more bloomberg articles on how their ghost cities are going to crash their economy any day now.
I do not have any faith that any amount of trade with China will cause the government to reform in any meaningful way and I'm confident that China will remain a dictatorship a thousand years from now.
So I guess I'm not join the team of doubt this time for now.
(Before you click, grab yourself a translator first)
Especially since the PRC government is getting much more aggressive in forcing Western companies to kowtow to their political stances even in their operations outside of China. Mercedes-Benz was forced to apologize for posting a Dalai Lama quote on Instagram , and a Marriott employee was fired after he "liked" a post about Tibetan independence . This happened despite both websites being blocked in China.
The implications for companies with new Chinese operations that also operate an open web forum is left as an exercise for the reader.
Given our worship of capital I'm amazed global emancipation of slavery ever happened. But I suppose that was only because new financial markets and industrialization created lots of better opportunities for capital investment than slave labour force - hence the market for slaves dwindled.
That is indeed the problem.
One would have hoped they'd have learned something from that.
How about respecting human rights? That would be a start.
Technology can help for some things, but past a certain point, "making the world a better place" also imply policy changes.
It's about money. Private businesses don't care about Chinese citizens. They care about cold hard cash.
Now, am I saying private US businesses shouldn't work with anyone in China? Not really. All I'm sayng is: at the end of the day, technology can only do so much. Eventually, policy must change also and this is valid for any country, including the US.
Is that not allowed to be uttered around here anymore?
> to ensure that the benefits of that are fairly spread throughout humanity.
Yes, but technologies at the hands of a dictatorship is dangerous. This morning, there was just a thread about Chinese surveillance/censorship technologies being sold to other countries. Lord help us if the Chinese government somehow gets its hands on a superior weapons tech, or smarter AI.
He also says
> Qi will also take over as the Head of YC Research, YC’s non-profit research lab.
We've heard several prominent lawsuits in recent months on how Chinese nationals stolen and transfered US techs into Chinese companies (possibly government involvement). Qi Lu literally said "The Chinese government understands what AI can do, and they show a lot of commitment for sustained and long-term investment...AI is part of China’s national five-year plan, and just a few months ago, the Chinese government published a comprehensive white paper to call out a systematic investment in AI." https://venturebeat.com/2018/01/09/baidu-coo-says-chinas-gov.... We're literally handing the Chinese government some of the Western world's greatest knowledge and inventions.
This is scary scary thing. I am not sure what YC is thinking, allowing Sam Altman to do this.
Edit: it looks like you've been creating tons of accounts just to argue about China. That's clearly abusive, so we've banned this one. Please don't create accounts to break the site guidelines with.
Why wouldn't they get their hands on that? With companies like HPE existing as now defacto chinese companies I just don't see how anyone can see this as a if rather than a when.
> We're literally handing the Chinese government some of the Western world's greatest knowledge and inventions.
Isn't this great though? More innovation spread amongst the world. This is what liberalism tells us, that there is no distinction between people living under different nations.
If we can make the lives of chinese citizens better like we use AI to make ours better, why should minor issues like government "stealing knowledge" (whatever that is) be some big issue?
Because that's not at all the only issue; the ruling party actively suppresses dissent, stifles speech, and allows little to no disagreement. Minorities and dissenters are locked away with no trial. Censorship is rampant. There's a lot more to worry about than just IP theft or corporate espionage.
If something is so bad then that's for the governments to sort out, we are just here to do our best to make profitable companies.
Are you seriously willing to work for anyone, their politics and actions be damned? Have you heard about the concept of the "Good German"?
They wouldn't because most of the western democratic countries are now actively preventing China from stealing their technologies. US with the empowered CFIUS, with the latest defense bill. Germany just prevented 2 key companies from being taken over by China. France drafted anti-takeover measures (aimed at China) amid foreign investment boom. EU is actively seeking to put up united front against Chinese investment by end of year. And yet Sam Altman is just going to give China free knowhow/technologies.
> make the lives of chinese citizens better
Are you not aware of the sesame credit enacted by the Chinese government? Facial recognition in cameras installed everywhere? Millions of muslims in reeducation camps in Xinjiang? Are you proposing we give this government even more power and innovation??
If anything, the Chinese government can take over a private startup quickly, and use the tech against Silicon Valley companies.
Thats all kind of small considering the kind of information that has already been dropshiped out with no real punishments to the chinese government itself.
All these efforts are is trying to plug the holes, not realizing the holes aren't just company buyouts but mostly espionage via chinese citizens. Even if you lock them up, they still sent the data, nothing was really prevented.
> And yet Sam Altman is just going to give China free knowhow/technologies.
Yea? Because that's all government and politics. This is markets and profits.
> Are you not aware of the sesame credit enacted by the Chinese government? Facial recognition in cameras installed everywhere?
Yea alot of people actually like it, being able to get benefits for being an upstanding system. I've heard it described as a system of karma.
Besides, we have the same things anyway, credit scores and CCTV, we just have a different cultural view of it.
> Millions of muslims in reeducation camps in Xinjiang?
And we don't put muslims in jail at higher rates than the native populations? See this just all seems like reflecting the fact that all countries have these issues.
> If anything, the Chinese government can take over a private startup quickly, and use the tech against Silicon Valley companies.
Maybe, but that's the business risk you take. If they think that's the best way to run their country, what right do we have to tell them they are wrong? Especially when we aren't exactly innocent.
Ill just leave it here by saying that to even label something in another culture as "wrong" you first have to understand that the word "wrong" is deeply entrenched in western culture and can't simply just be thrown around at other cultures who have constructed entirely different systems of morality and language to express them.
The western world IS punishing the Chinese government right now. $50B in tariffs and investment restrictions. And it is having an effect on China. Chinese leadership is panicking. Its stock market keeps dropping, its currency weakening, its factories leaving. Wait until the tariffs go up higher and higher.
And you make it sound like China has already got all the techs - no it doesn't. Its military at least 2-3 generations behind. It is still far behind in semiconductor technologies, aircraft, engine, hardware, software, operating system, AI, robotics, etc.
> we have the same things anyway, credit scores and CCTV
The world isn't black and white; it's shades of grey. credit score is not as sesame credit. One can travel/leave the country and one cannot. CCTV is not the same as surveilance/arrest without court of law.
> See this just all seems like reflecting the fact that all countries have these issues.
Do you seriously not understand the difference between concentration camps for people that have not violated laws, vs prisons?
> Especially when we aren't exactly innocent.
You don't need to be angelic to stop evil.
The YCR connection makes sense, since he has a lot of experience in AI where much of YCR is now at, but it will be interesting to see how he will interact with Bret Victor's group. Are they going to start a YC-like incubator in China? It will be interesting to see how this compares to Kai Fu's Innovation Works.
Qi Lu is not responsible for the creation of Bing. MSN Search project was well underway in 2005, then it was re-branded as Live Search, then as Bing. Qi Lu is joined in 2008.
He was given an almost impossible task in competing with Google basically from scratch. Ya, he didn't completely succeed, but that isn't very surprising.
What happened at the end, I'm not really sure. I was pretty surprised when I heard he was gone with Harry Shum taking over most of what he was in charge of.
It was a strange departure. He apparently got in some kind of cycling accident and took medical leave from Microsoft for recovery, but then just a few months later he was a senior executive at Baidu. Not sure what was up with that.
But contra the GP, the general opinion both during and after Lu's tenure was that he did a good job. It took a while, but Bing is profitable now, and he did a lot to get that in motion. I imagine it can't be psychologically easy to run an unprofitable department for years with the eye on long-term strategy, especially in the Ballmer era, but he pulled it off. Bing is not the disaster money pit that a lot of HN assumes it to be.
Well, if China lets them.
the same law,
the same government,
0 tariff between provinces,
and the same language,
all of these properties lead to one thing. extremely low cost of products which is Competitiveness.
The statement they are making is “we don’t care about oppressive governments and ethics. As long as we’re churning out billion dollar unicorns, we’ll invest in anything”.
I have a lot of respect for China, I also know China may be the most likely to use AI against their citizens to suppress them. Do YC funded companies really want to enable that?
What does YC really stand for?
Expecting capitalists (the economic class, not the ideological faction) to put human rights over returns on capital is, if not silly, at least naively optimistic.
Maybe that's naive. It's still the right thing to do. No amount of money can shift what's right and wrong.
I don't think our civilization has suffered enough to really understand that. The current state of the environment is a good example.
> it’s quite rude
> we developed without china’s input
It is hard to argue that detaining 1 million people for their beliefs and then torturing them is justifiable by cultural relativism. Or massacring people for that matter. At that point you could argue for any atrocity.
It’s not rude it’s basic humanity. It’s not just completely reasonable to ask a government in charge of more than a billion people to please exercise basic humane standards, it’s morally atrocious to suggest otherwise. The Chinese government deserves all they criticism they get for what they have done and continue to do, and it’s arguable that we in the west deserve criticism for enabling them.
I don't think the Chinese people approve of many of the things their government does. Though censorship makes dissent harder to "prove"
Plenty of western countries are involved in censorship on a smaller scale but that's not considered evil and suppressing the true views of the public.
One easy example being mega projects, here in the west we seem to wax poetic constantly about returning to the good old days where a nation could undertake mega-projects and yet china just keeps doing them faster than we can keep track.
I'm sure many westerners and chinese both want to see these things happen and yet they are doing it and we aren't? Is that some proof that we are suppressed citizens? Or maybe its a bit more nuanced.
Because the government doesn't block you from saying those things. It's concerning to me that you don't appear to know what the definition of 'oppression' or 'dictatorship' is.
>One easy example being mega projects, here in the west we seem to wax poetic constantly about returning to the good old days where a nation could undertake mega-projects and yet china just keeps doing them faster than we can keep track.
When you throw enough suffering and death at a project, you can build quickly. Nobody with a brain is suggesting we do projects the same way we did the hoover dam that resulted in silicosis.
That's because there's an actual definition of dictatorship. China is a dictatorship, the US is not.
> Plenty of western countries are involved in censorship on a smaller scale but that's not considered evil and suppressing the true views of the public.
Yes it is.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by China and Dr. Peng-chun Chang (who was Chinese) took part in its drafting.
Which part of it do you think China doesn't officially agree with?
On the other hand China just recently confirmed a "president for life", that's always a bad idea, remember the last "president for life" China had? Yeah... So despite U.S. being more likely to start wars its open to change from the inside; China is a solid big time bomb with little to no space for change and once they decide to enter a war it will likely be the last one.
The USA is still a great place to do business if you want to make money. My only arguments against China is that the system is more rigged against foreigners from making money there.
The moral arguments are a distraction, though they are mostly true. Yes, China has third world problems, yes the USA has first world problems. Whatever, the world is an imperfect place.
Most individuals just don't have a lot of pull and we can compensate, at least somewhat, through other means. People visiting, buying products from or to some extent working in these countries isn't the problem. Most people aren't qualified to make an assessment, can't really be expected to go out of their way and won't, hopefully, engage in propaganda.
What YC is doing is just incredibly high on that scale. If you start a company in the US chances are you don't know better, since the US has a much better reputation, or you have to be there, since you were born or just very aware of it. You can treat your employees well, protest the US government and you can sue companies, people or the government itself.
YC should not only know better but will be able to do very little of those things in China. And it will be a huge win for China in general. This makes their actual step into China much worse. You can't really come back in five years and criticize them for working with the government and their investments doing objectionable things. Well you can, but it isn't very practical.
Why do we even insist on justice? Most of us can just mind our own business and do fine. It is of course on behalf the people who get mistreated. Their condition is the actual cost of our actions. Most of us can, sort of, live with that we largely unintentional enable mistreatment of many people in the developing world. But for a small entity with a lot of impact those actions becomes a lot costlier. So such decision are and should therefor be much harder to justify.
Virtually every non-technologist businessperson who becomes a manager in the IT industry will present themselves as a technologist. They will usually have some real technical people at their beck and call to help with the stuff they can't fake.
That's amazing to anyone who has struggled to connect an Android device to Windows via USB just to access a file or two.
The interview  by 36kr does a much better job of introduction and vision he has for YC China. Unfortunately it is in Chinese only.
Some interesting snippets (G Translated):
Lu Qi: YC China's new business will include
1) business incubation,
2) talent training,
3) research and
4) public welfare.
These are all in a way that Lu Qi's plan will operate in an unprecedented way. He wants more than just new technology. Technology is only an ability to change society. He wants to establish a new ecological support for new technology to change the society. That is the correct way to open the new world in his mind.
Q: How will YC China start?
Lu Qi: Among the four businesses, the first to start is the incubator. Incubation camps are the first attempt at YC localization, but at the same time it draws on the core of YC:
1. The methodology of the incubator process and training content established by Paul Graham;
2. A network of YC alumni with more than 4,000 people. Alumni will help later entrepreneurs, and for Chinese entrepreneurs, alumni networks around the world can set up channels for offshore companies;
3. The YC brand, which is incubated by YC, is equivalent to being recognized and endorsed, and is more likely to be favored by investment institutions.
In other respects, YC China may develop its own entrepreneurship curriculum and expect to reverse the influence of American entrepreneurs because I believe that globalization is the best way to innovate. YC China's research institute will be established under the YC Global Research Institute and will establish cooperation with Chinese research institutions. Finally, the charity business is hoping to focus on solving the impact of new technologies on people's employment.
However, it is now the first day of the launch of YC China, and everything is still very early. I only have one person now. The most important thing at the moment is recruiting people.
Lu Qi: Because we need to build a new innovation ecosystem, so many players with different roles can participate.
The first is Chinese investors. Because YC China will be closer to the early projects, it hopes to establish good interaction with Chinese middle and late investors. Also, YC China will also raise funds independently, and I hope to get support from China LP.
Second, we and the big companies will also have a lot of cooperation. YC China's investment projects may be acquired, acquired, or serviced by large companies in the later stages.
YC China Research Institute will also establish contacts with government or research institutions within the enterprise, and hopes to become China's support for the country to become a big country in innovation.
Sam has said on many occasions that 10 companies will reach Google in the next decade, three to four of them will be born in China, and more than 20 years of professional experience tells me that these three or four companies must be Believe in long-term companies.
Will YC be taking a stand on China’s rampant theft of intellectual property or tacitly encouraging it as part of “being a start up”?
“Our mission at YC is to enable more innovation than any other company in the world, and to ensure that the benefits of that are fairly spread throughout humanity.”
Do you really think it’s possible to ensure that the benefits of innovation are spread fairly while simultaneously partnering with an oppressive, cruel government in order to create vast pools of wealth controlled by a tiny subset of individuals allied with that government?
I can understand why someone would try to get as rich as possible and would turn a blind eye toward obvious moral compromise. I can also understand the utilitarian impulse to “ensure that the benefits of [innovation] are fairly spread throughout humanity.” But I can’t understand ignorance of the wild contradictions between those two “missions.”
If you want to spread innovation equally, you should be working to support dissident voices in China and you should be putting 95% of you and your associates’ vast personal wealth behind the political project of reversing Republican-engineered inequality here at home.
Helping people in China who you deem most likely to succeed (working in harmony with the government, of course) to become even more successful is not, in fact, helping to make the distribution of benefits among humanity more fair.
TL:DR — Choose only one: fairness among humans or the accumulation of vast personal wealth by collaborating with governments that brutally oppress their own citizens.
Why cannot YC improve invocation by focusing on those areas?!
If your dad said harsh words to you, are you going to claim that you are made inferior to normal citizen or you are working with a repressive parent?
Through this deal, YC is taking an active position in support of the Chinese dictatorship and is helping them increase their grip on power.
But as I said, there is reasonable motivation to try to help the people genuinely. At least let them have better internet services; not the shitty ones from BAT...
You may believe that but the communists do not.
That doesn't work so well for China because of capital controls and because the Chinese business environment is so hostile to foreign companies.
Though Qi was born in China, he almost spent his all career time in the US. Probably the time he worked in China is less than one year. You can't expect this person knows China market, Chinese young people, Chinese companies well, and has connections with people in China gov.
And he worked for big companies only (Yahoo, Microsoft, Baidu). He never worked in startups. Can he find and invest good startups? I don't know.
Anyway, YC entering China is a good thing. Hope Google search will come back to China soon.
Now, China solely relies on blocking entire websites or relying on compliance of services. So Google is blocked, while Bing will actually harmonize their search results in China (the search will still turn things up, but some results might be hidden).