New workstation in Silicon Valley

Updated: 2014-01-15 11:03

By Yu Wei in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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The bond between Tsinghua University and Silicon Valley has grown closer than ever as a new partnership has established between the two.

Tsinghua x-lab, an innovative interdisciplinary educational platform aimed at cultivating talents for entrepreneurship and innovation at Tsinghua University, launched a workstation in Silicon Valley on Monday at InnoSpring, Silicon Valley's first US-China technology incubator.

The workstation serves as a bridge for Tsinghua students, faculty and alumni conducting innovation and entrepreneurship programs between China and Silicon Valley.

On the one hand, Silicon Valley has long been the premier hot spot for innovation and entrepreneurship, said Qian Yingyi, dean of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua. "On the other hand, Silicon Valley has more than 10,000 Tsinghua alumni. So it is natural to set Tsinghua x-lab's first overseas workstation here," Qian said.

Founded in 2013, Qian said Tsinghua x-lab is an education platform that enables students to imagine, innovate and implement.

New workstation in Silicon Valley

"Tsinghua x-lab itself is an innovation in higher education," Qian said. "We need a platform like x-lab to cultivate students' curiosity, imagination, creativity and entrepreneurial leadership."

However, Qian stressed that Tsinghua x-lab was not an incubator, all of which are downstream from x-lab, meaning they provide talent to the incubators.

According to Qian, in just a few months since its inception, Tsinghua x-lab has already attracted more than 200 project applications. Among them, there are 152 accepted and ongoing projects with 11 already funded.

"The exchange between China and Silicon Valley has been very frequent," said InnoSpring President Eugene Zhang. "The goal is to establish a direct expressway for Tsinghua x-lab in Beijing and InnoSpring in Sillicon Valley."

Zhang, who is an alumnus of Tsinghua having earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees there 30 years ago, said he hopes InnoSpring's eco-system would contribute to x-lab innovation and entrepreneurship programs in Sillion Valley.

In addition to InnoSpring's strong China connection, it is also heavily involved with US companies, including funds and partners with US-based startups, helping more established companies expand into China.

"We have built some solid connections with US companies and investors. We would love to introduce those resources and connections we've made here to x-lab," Zhang said.

"I wish I'd had an platform like x-lab when I was a student that I could turn to," he said. "I feel excited about our future collaboration."

 New workstation in Silicon Valley

Qian Yingyi (left), dean of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, and Eugene Zhang, president of InnoSpring, attend the opening ceremony of Tsinghua x-lab Silicon Valley workstation at Santa Clara, California on Monday. Yu Wei / China Daily

(China Daily USA 01/15/2014 page2)