A new center of tech leadership is developing in Southern California linked to digital entertainment and mobility innovation, and often with China connections.
US and China deal making has slowed in Hollywood given tech and trade tensions and it’s questionable when capital flows will start again. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has become a US base for inventors and investors in mobile entertainment, alternative energy and new means of transportation. ByteDance, the maker of the red-hot video app Toutiao and the most highly valued unicorn globally, has its base in LA. So does Chinese drone maker DJI.
Numerous Chinese electric vehicle makers have planted flags in the SoCal market. This is really just the tip of the innovation happening here. There’s a reason that Plug and Play has a center here to boost entrepreneurs.
Capturing the spirit of the creative economy, Silicon Dragon is holding an innovation forum in Los Angeles, July 24-25, to explore two main themes: the Detroit of tomorrow: a blend of LA creative energy and China tech smarts, and secondly, the impact of US-China trade and tech issues on global innovation.
Stella Li, president of BYD Motors, who is on the frontlines of US-China business, is leading the Chinese company to make inroads in California. Others who are inventing and investing in tomorrow’s new ideas from Southern California include:
Next Future Transportation, a robotics and AI developer of an autonomous, electric vehicle fleet
Xos Trucks, a developer of heavy duty electric trucks
TipTags, a geo-location logistics system
A stealth tech startup from a former executive at China’s Tesla ‘killer’, NIO
Hubject, a plug and charge system for smart and wireless charging
Tekton Ventures, a tech investor in Alibaba, Uber and Hyperloop One
Canoo, a new subscription business model for shared electric cars
A digital influence marketing agency that has worked with Baidu
An inventor of alternative energy for ships
A China-rooted digital entertainment company
East West Bank, a leading Hollywood-China deal maker
A digital entertainment creator of comic books, TV shows, collective books and original art
A connector of American actors with the China social media market
A startup at LACI, Moevinc, focused on AI for Smart EV Charging
Los Angeles could very well become a dynamic new hub that balances the high-tech focus of its northern neighbor. And it’s already becoming a Detroit of tomorrow.
Judy Kruger, who heads advanced transportation initiatives at the Los Angeles Economic Development Council, recently moved from Detroit to take up this position. Justine Johnson is a mobility strategist at Ford Motor, and she’s based in LA — not Detroit.