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It is widely-believed that China's entrepreneur class has grown and their businesses are succeeding primarily due to their knowledge of the domestic market, quick adaptation to market changes, and their resourcefulness. But innovation? Forget about it.

Well, not quite.

Drawing on a wealth of on-the-ground stories and thorough research, Chinnovation: How Chinese Innovators Are Changing the World shows how Chinese companies of every stripe have dispelled this myth and overcome the barriers to successful, profitable innovation.
  • How did Neil Shen, co-founder of CTRIP Capital China, see the opportunity for a Chinese travel site? 
  • How did Ray Zhang, CEO of Ehi, scale up one of the most innovative hybrid car-rental companies in China? 
  • How did Zhang Tao, CEO of Dianping, start a ZAGAT-inspired user-review site for restaurants and establish a continuous process of innovation?

Yinglan Tan has spent more than five years learning the secrets of Chinese innovators, a fast-growing subculture playing key roles in China's transformative transition from "Made in China" to "Innovated in China." Learn:

  • What is the path that an innovative Chinese private-owned enterprise take?  
  • How blue-chip innovators remix business models successfully in China?
  • What are the capabilities that these innovative companies acquire? 
  • How they harness the necessary resources and navigate around legal restrictions?
  • How do they attract, train and retain talent? 
  • How do these companies experiment with innovative approaches and also manage the risk of innovation? 
  • What are the lessons learnt and how would these entrepreneurial innovators advise others who are embarking on the same journey?

China's rapid economic growth has made it a crucial market but multinational corporations are now competing with China's own homegrown businesses. Chinnovation: How Chinese Innovators Are Changing The World uncovers the common threads amongst Chinese entrepreneurs as they reach into a wider world.


Yinglan Tan is a Kauffman Fellow and serves on the boards of several innovative growth ventures and venture capital funds in Asia. He was the first director of 3i Venturelab China, a joint-venture between private equity firm 3i (LSE:III) and INSEAD, one of the world's leading business schools.
Educated at Harvard, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon, Yinglan is now an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Nanyang Business School where he teaches in the Masters program in Technopreneurship and Innovation (Chinese).  He also works with the Singapore Government to enhance the innovation and enterprise landscape in Singapore.
Yinglan was named one of 100 Leaders of Tomorrow by the St Gallen Symposium in 2010. He is also the praised author of The Way of the VC: Having Top Venture Capitalists on Your Board (Wiley, 2010).




Chapter 1 Welcome to the World of Chinnovation.

Chapter 2 The Star Innovators’ Call to Adventure: Starting Up: How Star Entrepreneurial Innovators Smell Blood and Meet Market.

Chapter 3 Star Innovators Recognize Scope Innovation.

Chapter 4 Star Innovators Choose the Right People for the Right Jobs.

Chapter 5 Star Innovators Learn from Mistakes and Make Calculated Bets on Cross-Disciplinary Innovation.

Chapter 6 Star Innovators Spread Their Wings: Innovations in Scaling.

Chapter 7 Star Innovators Become Industrial Evolutionists: Maximizing the Returns of Innovation.

Chapter 8 Conclusion.

Bios of Interviewees.



Innovation in China has gone through a transformation and now rivals the Silicon Valley in its creativity, entrepreneurship, and human drive. This book hits a nerve. Chinese start-ups are rocking the world! Yinglan Tan captures a snapshot in Chinnovation that most journalists have been blind to. China is not just making cheap imitations, China is thought-leading.
--Timothy C. Draper, Founder and Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Chinnovation is a must read for anyone interested in what will surely become one of the major stories of the next few decades, as China's innovators drive up the value curve on the fast line. No one is better placed than Yinglan Tan to provide key insights, directly useful to business people seeking to learn about the China-way of entrepreneurship.
--Jonathan Story, Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy, INSEAD and Author of China Uncovered

China has transformed tremendously over the last few decades and now, through innovation, its burgeoning Chinese entrepreneurial class are driving China to a whole new level. With Chinnovation, Yinglan Tan delivers to readers well-researched and timely insights on what China has to offer to the world.
--Loh Hoon Sun, Managing Director, Phillip Securities Pte Ltd and Chairman, Board of Advisors, OTC Capital

The global innovation landscape is undergoing profound changes and Chinese companies are challenging the traditional innovation concept. Innovation has become a new feature of entrepreneurship in China. Whether you are planning on establishing a partnership with Chinese companies to build global innovation capability, or  already a participant of the competition in China market, I highly recommend that you read this book.
--Liu Jiren, Chairman and CEO, Neusoft Corporation

The eight Rs of Chinnovation, combined with the Innovation Stack framework is an amazing solution to make innovation in China better understood for corporate executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and educators. Yinglan Tan bridges the key concepts and winning techniques used by Chinese innovators and translates it into a structured process, hence, a joy to read for all stakeholders.
--Martin Haemmig, Senior Advisor on Venture Capital, SPRIE, Stanford University

This is a timely and relevant book to review China's innovation path.  Over the years there has been more localization and more adoption of existing technology for implementing in China. With China assuming a greater role in the world's economy and developing a more powerful domestic market, Chinnovation will surely emerge as a key innovation source for the world. 
--York Chen, President and Managing Partner, iD TechVentures Ltd.

Innovation in China is a hot topic with global implications.  Companies and investors hoping to capitalize on China's growth may have underestimated the groundswell of innovation happening today. Through his new book, Chinnovation, Yinglan Tan demystifies this topic and provides entrepreneurs, managers, and investors with important knowledge on China's business market. A compelling read for anyone interested in China's future and its impact on the global economy.
--Jens H. Molbak, Founder and CEO, Coinstar (NASDAQ: CSTR)

Yinglan Tan's book could not be more timely. China's success as a factory for the world and the fundamental transformation it has had on global industries and markets, while impressive, is yesterday's story. Yinglan introduces us to the individuals and firms who are driving tomorrow's story of China's emergence as a locus of innovation that will have major implications for consumers, firms, and economies around the world.
--Steven White, Associate Professor, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University

Informative and entertaining! Brimming with brilliant analysis and actionable insights. How do Chinese entrepreneurs survive in China? They innovate like crazy, in ways that will amaze most Westerners. Hear their authentic voices as they describe the real struggles underlying monster successes like Alibaba and Tencent. This book is a wake-up call, a must-read for anyone fascinated with China!
--Po Chi Wu, Adjunct Professor, School of Business and Management
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Since Schumpeter, much has been written on Innovation Economics. Given the growing role of China in the global economy, professionals worldwide, as well as entrepreneurs in China, should read Chinnovation. Based on many real-life cases, this first systematic study of innovation in China offers a broad view, often in lively detail.
--You Xing, Chief China Representative, Paris Region Economic Development Agency

Convergent incomes and divergent growth between East and West is the economic story of our times. China leads this charge and is re-establishing itself as a center for global technology and innovation. I love the way Chinnovation draws on the war stories of Chinese entrepreneurs and investors to dispel the myths and proffer practical advice to the next generation of high growth multinationals.
--Daniel Heaf, Director of Digital, BBC Worldwide

A great book to shed light on what kind of innovation thrives in China and what makes it work. I highly recommend this book to entrepreneurs who wish to capture Chinese markets. Yinglan Tan has done a remarkable job in analyzing the reasons behind the successes and failures of these new Chinese companies. All are invaluable lessons for the newcomers.
--Jennifer Pan, Managing Director, ChinaSense, Inc.

Chinnovation is definitely an exciting read. It shows readers how China's economic growth has been fuelled by hard working and innovative entrepreneurs, and not just because of government-led policies. Chinnovation proves that the transition from "Made in China" to "Innovated in China" is indeed a reality.
--Ikkei Matsuda, President and CEO, Hokkaido Venture Capital, Inc.

Yinglan Tan offers a fresh and unconventional look at innovation and entrepreneurship in the world's second largest economy. Chinnovation is an insightful project that removes the myths and secrecy to present the true picture of Chinese entrepreneurs and how innovation is driving the country in the 21st century. A must read for all interested in innovation, entrepreneurship, and China.
--Irina Anghel, Secretary General, South Eastern Europe Private Equity and Venture Capital Association

As the crucial innovation battleground for high growth businesses of the future, China is both alluring and intimidating, with rapidly changing market conditions and regulatory landscape, intense competition, and unique rules of engagement. Against this backdrop, Chinnovation provides a refreshing, modern Art of War treatise on the Tao of creating successful innovation in China.
--Ku Kay Mok, Partner, Gobi Partners

The book brings to life the most intelligent and promising young entrepreneurs in China, demonstrate how local entrepreneurs can succeed with local insights and local executions to address local needs. Yinglan Tan presents a whole new angle to look at innovation in China and how China and the world might benefit from these "chinnovations" and "chinnovators". 
--Zhao Hanxi, Director, CITIC Capital

As China progresses through another rapid evolution and transformation of its industries, we see a rapidly growing field of Chinese entrepreneurs that can propel China to possibly top the global tables in creativity and innovation. Chinnovation reveals to readers the truth behind these Chinese start-ups and their journey through innovation. This is a must-read for would-be entrepreneurs and seasoned business leaders alike.
--Patrick Lee, Executive Chairman, Sing Lun Holdings Limited

Yinglan Tan takes us on a journey through extraordinary stories of entrepreneurship in China. An easy read, it is sure to make you feel like you have lived and breathed the air of opportunity that China represents today, far beyond the statistics seen in popular press and analyst briefings. You get the unique privilege of getting into the minds of the entrepreneurs, seeing their rapid ingenuous actions and you find yourself celebrating their stupendous results. A must read!
--Rajen Makhijani, Management Consultant, Heidrick and Struggles
and Award Nominated Bollywood Screenwriter
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