In what could be a new chapter in the story of China's spreading its economic influence globally, start-ups set their eyes internationally in the early stages of operations — even as their home market offers plenty growth opportunities. Young companies interviewed by CNBC explained this trend, saying that technology and innovation should not be bound by borders.
"We are very much a Chinese company and China is a big market, but the adoption of new technology and new products like ours may be faster in other markets so we shouldn't confine ourselves," said Wang Mengqiu, founder and chief executive of Zero Zero Robotics.
Wang and his team have been operating from both China and the United States since setting up the firm in 2014. Their first product, an autonomous flying camera, is sold globally online since launching in 2016 and recently debuted in Apple stores in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Hong Kong and China.
Wang declined to disclose exact sales figures but said "way more than 50 percent" of the company's revenue is generated outside China.
Beyond the prospects of better financial returns, start-ups also see surviving the global marketplace as a test of their businesses' viability and resilience.
Ofo and Mobike, for instance, have taken their bicycle sharing concepts overseas. And co-working space operator Distrii was barely a year old when it announced in January that it will lease more than 60,000 square feet of space in an office building in Singapore's central business district. The company is expected to start operations in the city state in the first half of 2018.
"The vision is to IPO, though only when we have reached a mature state… To grow and bring more value to our network, we will need to expand to new markets. Bringing our product to international markets will be the ultimate test of our value proposition," Distrii chief executive Hu Jing said in an email.