Chinese student entrepreneurs launch startups in US

Chinese Culture

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With the graduation seasoning coming, most international students in U.S. are facing the employment question. For those who decide to boldly pursue their business dreams, finding a local job is no longer the only option. There are increasing numbers of Chinese graduates turning themselves into young entrepreneurs and starting their own business in U.S.

Ranging from high-tech mobile application startups to selling cars, these young entrepreneurs are finding a way to accomplish their career goals, while at the same time provide a service to the Chinese community.

UniPub is a newly launched mobile app that aims to improve Chinese students’ overseas college experience. The app is an innovative campus social media platform that allows students to share news on campus. Students can connect with other users at the same campus or post anonymously on their school page. Users can also peek into any other college’s page to see what’s going on.

Now the app reaches 500 colleges worldwide and growing. From enquiring about academic questions to organizing activities on campus, Chinese students are integrating the app into their everyday campus life.

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“While there are so many social media floating everywhere in China, I was thinking that why don’t we have a social media that is especially designed for Chinese students overseas? That’s how we started the idea,” Jason Chen, Johns Hopkins University graduate, the founder of UniPub App said. (Full Disclosure: The author is friends with Chen).

The app was designed a year ago and launched in the winter of 2015. It was built by Chen’s team at Hopkins for very little cost.

Chen said his six years of studying in U.S. has bought him the inspiration and ambition to launch this social media platform. The app aims to provide convenience and fun for current and perspective college students.

The social media industry is not just the only field for young entrepreneurs. As Chinese students experience the transition from full-time education to employment, more real world demands start to emerge. There are many avenues for business.

NY Auto Depot is a NYC-based automobile retailer which focuses on serving the Chinese community living in the East Coast. Nicholas Lam, a graduate from Stony Brook University, started the company in 2012 while he was still in college. The company has been serving the Chinese community for four years and sold almost 800 cars. (Full Disclosure: The author is friends with Lam).

The business idea started with Nicholas’s first car buying experience in U.S. He was frustrated due to his lack of automobile knowledge. Since then he started to learn more about car mechanics and maintenance, and later started his own business. The company aims to help all Chinese students to get a car in a fair price with reliable quality. To further help students who are not familiar with the area, the company also offers free trips to DMV and discount driving school courses.

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Four years might not seem a long time, but it was certainly long enough for Nicholas. He says the four years were, “tougher than anyone would think of.” There was much competition, setback and stress along the way, but the entrepreneur claimed that his humble attitude helped him get through the tough journey.

The advice Nicholas has for future entrepreneurs is, “As an international entrepreneur, l will encourage people to start their business. But rather than setting their primary goal as profit making, they should choose business which they are truly passionate. To start a business in U.S., we have to study about law and local culture,” to avoid mistakes.