Echoes of Austin: How Geek Culture Makes Social Impact in China

Echoes of Austin: How Geek Culture Makes Social Impact in China

The past decade has seen China evolve into a totally different country and culture than its previous 10 years.  

A big driver is technology and the entrepreneurs behind it. Often these innovators are what we in the west would call geeks, a name with a label that most westerners would struggle to wear.

But in China, the emperor’s clothes are made by geeks and it’s they who are revered because geeks have redefined China’s place in the world and paved the way for a new generation.

According to Peng Zhang, CEO of Geek Park, one of China’s largest internet and technology innovation community, geeks are rebuilding China socially, economically and politically. He says: “In China to be called a geek is a compliment… they create wealth and jobs.” He adds: “Geeks believe they can make lasting change and have influenced the evolution of China’s social system.”

Why is this happening? Zhang says it’s born of a free and efficient information flow from Chinese social media and a new generation of communications tools such as WeChat, QQ and Weibo. Some influences from the west, but China-built platforms underpin a new frontier for business innovation.

Geek culture and tech innovation will continue to drive china forward in Tier One cities as young peoples’ behaviour are more like those in Silicon Valley. They want to do things that are really cool and worthwhile.

Geeks have the tools, are motivated and are more dynamic in China than ever before. As China’s tech community globalises, Silicon Valley should watch it’s back.

China’s geeks have fostered a culture of entrepreneurship, and its entrepreneurs believe they can make a lasting change not always in pursuit of profit.

In the next decade, China’s geeks will unlock more breakthroughs and after they’ve localised their innovation will go global.

China, may the Geek be with you.


Mark Terry-Lush
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