Indian youth telling his story of starting his own business in Beijing
I’m Yasser. I’m Saudi born Indian. I’m happy to be in China and do a startup called Akkadu. It’s a roller coaster. We have been working on this for over three years in China. I’ve been there for over two years. It’s an interesting journey where we sometimes go up, then sometimes we go down. That is part of startup life. I strongly believe, in the end we will figure out the way to become successful. I live in Haidian. I work in Haidian. I really enjoy this place.
The reason I chose Beijing was I used to watch documentaries about China on BBC, on Al Jazeera International Channels. I got inspired that this is the right place to start up business. I want the biggest, the highest population, the fastest growing economy. So I decided to come to China. Why Beijing? It was because I watched this whole street, Inno Way and Cheku Café that is upstairs. All these big companies start here, so I just decided to find an internship in a startup, fly to Beijing, start finding startups, talking (to) people, making friends. I found this is a great city. All the startups are here. So I think Beijing is one of the best place to be (here).
When I first came to Beijing. I felt like I’m (at) home. I (have) 6.7% Chinese gene. My mom’s dad’s dad’s dad’s dad. He must be a Chinese, who came from China to India and got married. So I have that Chinese blood in me, so I felt like I was (at) home. I came with the phone with no 4G. I just went out of the airport. I went in the place near Tiananmen. I start(ed) talking to people. I knew only nihao. But the great thing was, I just knew nihao, but I was able to talk, I was able to feel like home, so I love Beijing.
The favorite local policy of Beijing, specifically of Haidian government was, they gave us startup visa. I was still a student, but they gave me the opportunity to have a startup visa, which was much easier to get than a working visa or any other kind of visa. All the visas were very easy for a foreigner. So I was able to come to China, work for a startup, even though while I am in classes. They just give us free office space, which is also part of the policy here. (They) give us free incubation, different levels (of) introducing us to investors. There’s been a lot of help from the policy in the government.
What impress (ed) me most was the start up visa. I (was) even being a student (who) haven’t graduated. I can have the opportunity to work on my business and make money. So that’s very out of the box, allowing students to open their own companies and run their own business even while they are still students. That was really my favorite one.
I thought myself as a foreigner in Beijing, and I kept thinking about that. And one day I just said, no, I’m a Beijinger. And then I decided to speak Chinese. I decided to make my Bao’an（security guard）my friend, and my neighbors my friend. I kind of got away a bit from the foreigner bubble. And then I felt like a local. I felt welcomed. I felt part of this community, so I’m living in Beijing a community life, where people very near my house are my friends. Initially, they seem to be, hey, you are a foreigner. We can’t talk much. We can’t get together. But when I open my heart. They open their hearts. I really enjoy my time in Beijing right now.
My future plan is to keep working on the products that I am working on. We still have a couple of years to work on this. After that I want to work on a new product. That is to help people communicate their problems.[ Editor: SRQ ]