Covestro taps into China’s growing start-up scene


The vast Chinese start-up ecosystem is a new field of engagement for the materials manufacturer Covestro.

For this reason, the company, together with the market research consultants of ‘KAIROS Future’, facilitated a new, comprehensive study of the broad landscape that has developed over recent years.

A short version of the joint study is available for download.

Nurtured through government policies and investments and triggered through entrepreneurial success stories like Alibaba and Tencent, a new ideal of becoming entrepreneurs has emerged among young Chinese.

In 2017, over 100 Chinese start-ups were listed in stock markets around the world, and more than 270 companies were in the list of Chinese ‘unicorns’, meaning companies younger than 10 years and valued with around €1bn or more.

With venture capital assets of around €650bn, China is now second only to the USA when it comes to global venture capital.

Covestro wants to take part in this development and looks into ways to cooperate, invest, teach and learn from the start-up environment in China.

"Lead innovation times for products and new business models shorten rapidly. So we need to source additional ideas outside of our own innovation processes to leverage speed, new technologies and new concepts. Tapping into the highly dynamic start-up environment in China is promising," said Hermann Bach, Head of Innovation Management and Commercial Services at Covestro.

"Thus, we already offer materials and solutions for growing Chinese start-ups with innovative product ideas and become an integral part of the ecosystem."

The company is already a supplier for different start-ups of consumer industries to improve their products and material choice within the first mile of their development.

For that reason, Covestro is present in accelerators or incubating spaces in innovation hubs like Shenzhen.

In "China’s Silicon Valley" it meets and approaches entrepreneurs to offer help, advice and sharing of know-how on materials and solutions that help them to bring their products to market readiness.

Covestro fosters its start-up engagement globally by partnering with the US-based founders platform Plug & Play on digital and new material solutions.

In Germany, the company actively supports the development of sustainable chemistry start-ups together with the "Federal Association of German Start-ups".


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