News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Chinese city Shenzhen is conducting a global search for innovators and entrepreneurs for a potential US$100 million investment

The government of the Chinese city of Shenzhen is currently seeking contestants within Sydney, Australia to take part in a new regional contest which launched this month. The search for industry innovators and entrepreneurs is part of the US$100 million Innovation Competition of International Talents.

The competition also includes regional contents in Munich (Germany), Tel Aviv (Israel), Tokyo (Japan) and Silicon Valley (USA) with the final to be held in Shenzhen in April of this year.

The Shenzhen Economic and Trade Office (SETO) Director and Chief Representative, Victor Wang said that the competition was an opportunity to turn ideas into real products in a city that embraces innovation.

“The main purpose of this competition is a learning experience, not just for contestants but for Shenzhen local companies,” said Wang. “Even very big companies still have room to grow.”

Finalists in the competition will receive prize money of between US$2,000 and US$80,000 each and in addition to that venture capital firms within the region will invest in the winning projects with funds of up to US$100 million.

An Australian company that has already benefited a great deal from the support of SETO is Sydney based and muru-D class two alumni tech company Wattblock. The startup provides energy saving solutions for residential apartment buildings.

Before Wattblock hit the scene, a strata building needed to engage an energy auditor to produce a report when they required one. The auditor would have to go out to the building and count every lightbulb, as well as look at all the energy consuming assets in the building, like ventilation fans and boilers, to then create an energy saving report for the building.

What Wattblock allows people to do is complete this process themselves with the simple press of a button. The startup uses data analytics and big data to estimate the energy consumption and the energy savings within a building. It does this without anybody needing to physically go out to the premises. The information is provided to the user online in a matter of minutes. Anybody within a building can be an energy assessor.

Via schemes SETO has ran with the University of NSW and trade missions to Shenzhen, Wattblock has been able to realise massive opportunities within the Chinese market.

Cofounder and CEO at Wattblock, Brent Clark said that SETO’s support gave his company opportunity for huge growth potential, as in China about 51% of residents live in apartment buildings. “The experience is unforgettable and the learning and trade exchange is unforgettable,” says Clark.

Sydney Councillor, Angela Vithoulkas, who is also the deputy-chair of the Business Development and Economic Sub-Committee for the City of Sydney and a massive supporter of Australian startups said that it was exciting to have a competition targeting global communities launch in Sydney.

Australian competition registration closes on February 29. For more information about the contest or to register go to or

Image: Councillor Angela Vithoulkas and Victor Wang | Source: Supplied

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