• Mai Duc Nguyen

IELTS Reading Revision - China's Startup Culture Thriving Despite Slowing Economy

A. China's economic slowdown is making no dent in the business startup boom that is changing the landscape of the country's manufacturing sector. As private-sector companies and consumers are replacing swollen and often inefficient state-owned enterprises as the main drivers of China's economic growth, Chinese entrepreneurs are racing to capitalize on the trend shift. China has become the second-largest breeding ground of new businesses after the U.S.

B. Many of the startups that are mushrooming in China are entrepreneurial babies that have been born in the hotbed of manufacturing technology the country has accumulated over years as the factory of the world and are feeding on the purchasing power of the vast domestic market. The growing ranks of Chinese technology startups are creating potentially lucrative innovations.

C. At an office of NXROBO, a Shenzhen-based maker of household robots, you can interact with the Big-i, a cylindrical robot with a large circular liquid crystal display "eye" that can be personalized for families. Give the command "follow me" to the robot, and it turns its head toward you and follows. The company is now putting the finishing touches on the machine, which will soon hit the market. Armed with advanced voice-recognition technology, a camera and moving functions, the Big-i can recognize people and have conversations with them. It can also control home electric appliances remotely in response to orders. NXROBO has started accepting orders for the robot at a cost of $799 per unit.

D. The company was founded in August last year with money raised through crowdfunding. It has managed to develop a marketable product in just a year. NXROBO CEO Lam Tinlun stresses how fast things change in Shenzhen, an industrial hub in Guangdong Province. One week in this vibrant city is worth one month in Silicon Valley, he said. Shenzhen, home to clusters of electronic parts makers and other companies in the techdom, is now transforming itself.

E. For years, the city has been the center of mass production for large manufacturers. But it is now emerging as a product development center for entrepreneurs from all over the world. They have been drawn to the city because it offers the world's largest distribution network, which allows smartphone makers to purchase all the parts they need within an area of a one-hour by car. These entrepreneurs make product prototypes in the city to turn their ideas into profitable businesses.

F. One company that is supporting the startup boom in Shenzhen is an open source design service named Seeed Studio. The company makes printed circuit boards even in small volumes using data sent by customers via its website. For instance, it manufactures simple printed circuit boards for $9.90 per 10 units in four to six days. Since there are not many providers of such services in the world, the company is being flooded with orders, including those from abroad. It can help amateur electronics buffs build businesses out of their ideas.

G. While the Chinese economy is steadily losing steam, the pace of business startups in the country is showing no signs of slowing down. There is a growing trend among young business-minded Chinese toward launching new companies of their own to fight the sense of endless stagnation permeating their society. In 2015, as many as 4.43 million new companies were registered in China, up 20% from the previous year. The robust growth in the number of startups is being powered by investment from all over the world. So far this year, 193.9 billion yuan ($29 billion) has been invested in new business ventures in China, more than the record full-year total for 2015. That amount makes China the second-largest investor in startups following the U.S.

H. A wave of IT innovation is sweeping through many huge cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Shen Haiyin, the founder and CEO of a Beijing-based startup Zhiche Auto, is pursuing the ambitious goal of developing smart electric vehicles that outperform the products offered by Tesla Motors. Shen is seeking to piggyback on the burgeoning electric car market in China to develop "connected" vehicles that can reign supreme in the world. The first thing you notice when you get into Ziche Auto's new electric car is a large touch screen used for communication between the vehicle and driver. The car's intelligent system is designed to carry out such tasks as proposing appropriate driving routes according to driver's history records and automatically choosing restaurants the driver frequents as destinations...

Source: Nikkei

Questions 1-8: Match the paragraphs (A-H) with the right headings (i-x).


1. Paragraph A

2. Paragraph B

3. Paragraph C

4. Paragraph D

5. Paragraph E

6. Paragraph F

7. Paragraph G

8. Paragraph H

List of headings:

i. A local technology company in China with global customer network

ii. A comparison between a Chinese city and its American equivalent

iii. The startup boom in China is fuelled by the change in economic driver of this economy

iv. How the Chinese government is supporting the growth of startup culture

v. The growth of Chinese startups in numbers and investment figures

vi. Small-sized, private companies in China are replacing large-scale corporations

vii. The economic advantages of a Chinese city which help it attract world-wide manufacturers

viii. Features of a product made by a Chinese startup company

ix. Ambitious plan of a Chinese executive which may make his company’s product the world’s best

x. China learns a lot from other countries in the process of developing its startup culture

Please find the keys here.

How many correct answers did you get? Please share your result by leaving a comment.

Watch this video produced by Financial Times to understand why the economic growth of China has been slowing down in the past few years.

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