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在线翻译:
szdaily -> People
Student inventor embraces entrepreneurial dream
     2014-June-13  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Anna Zhao

    anna.whizh@yahoo.com

    WU ZIQIAN, a senior student from Shenzhen Second Senior High School, is an aficionado of small inventions. He has adapted almost everything around him to serve a fancy function.

    A childhood of playing

    with objects

    Growing up in a family of engineers, Wu was influenced by his father and grandfather to develop a strong interest in objects and machines since his early childhood.

    His first encounter with technology started with his father’s desktop computer, which he disassembled at age 3. His father showed him what made up the machine: its CPU, motherboard, CD drive, etc. A handmade wooden chair he made under the guidance of his grandfather became his first creation and sparked his interest in making small objects by hand.

    His growth has been accompanied with a desire to make changes wherever possible in daily life.

    At age 5, he became the owner of a patent for his invention of a multifunctional umbrella that can illuminate and blow air. This success spurred his innovative spirit and ideas kept springing up in him. By the time he entered senior high school, he had already created various small inventions — an energy box that can detect battery power, an automatic flower-watering gadget, a light-sensitive alarm clock, a switch gear that automatically starts upon nightfall — to name just a few.

    In high school, he started several student clubs, including robot club, makers’ club and TV and photography club to share his experiences and the fun of making things by hand.

    Wu said his growth was much indebted to his father, who had been very tolerant of his adventurous spirit. “My father would let me figure it out on my own, even though he knew that I was making mistakes,” he said.

    Turning ideas into reality

    Curiosity for the unknown and dissatisfaction with what already exists are two major motivators that result in improvement of our lives, and that’s exactly how Wu finds inspiration for his ideas.

    In 2012, Wu came up with an idea to develop software that helps find the name of a song when its users hum the melody. He wrote a commercial proposal for the idea and confided his plan to a friend who works with a renowned software company. To his dismay, the idea was soon transformed into an application without giving him credit. “I might have lost a great fortune,” he joked at the experience.

    This is a constant problem for creative thinkers in China, where companies often do not hesitate to steal ideas, rather than come up with their own, and intellectual property rights are not strictly enforced.

    A notebook he always carries is filled with pages of ideas that he has recorded ever since he entered junior high school.

    In May 2013, Wu and three teammates joined the Open European Championship — a robotics competition held by First Lego League in Germany — as the only team from southern China in the competition. Wu’s team won the SPACE Drive Award in the competition for their robot, which can complete a dozen movements in 150 seconds, including ones useful to nursing the elderly, such as feeding medicine and tucking someone into bed.

    In early June, he was invited to give assistance concerning robotic design to students at Nanshan Experimental School who plan to attend the competition.

    Wu and another two students raised 1.5 million yuan (US$243,600) in April for a social media platform, TravExchange, which they jointly developed with two Chinese-American sisters, at a mobile internet startup competition held at Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center. Wu later withdrew from the program after he realized its development had derailed his original idea.

    Now a young celebrity among local students, he said he has received quite a lot of admiration from his peers and that has driven him to move forward.

    Last weekend, Wu and his friends joined the China-U.S. Young Maker Competition, a program organized by China’s Ministry of Education, and were selected to compete in the final contest in Beijing in July. His group’s young age won them extraordinary applause at the competition, where most participants were postgraduate students.

    “We excel at contestants with our ideas even though we’re deficient in technology. Participating in such activities allows me to meet people with good ideas. Many people have helped me and we have developed good friendships with each other,” Wu said.

    Having an entrepreneurial dream

    Last December, Wu and another three Shenzhen students were invited to attend the Mobile Developer Conference China in Beijing after the group put their design of a mobile cell phone charger online. Unwilling to spend their parents’ money, the four decided to raise donations online for their trip to Beijing and eventually managed to win 6,700 yuan in support from sponsors.

    The experience gave him the idea to develop a social media platform to find sponsors to make investments in students who are unable to afford their tuition or are unwilling to spend their parents’ money on tuition for higher education.

    According to Wu, students can post their need for tuition investment online and pay a certain amount of money each year after graduation as a return for investments made by sponsors.

    The idea also has a lot to do with his own experience.

    Wu had lived a well-off life up until a few years ago, when his family became burdened by his father’s illness.

    “My family may be able to afford my tuition abroad by selling our home, but I don’t want my decision of studying abroad to cause any difficulty to my parents,” he said.

    He considered accepting the chance to attend a domestic university, but changed his mind after a conversation with a Stanford University student.

    He thinks that going to the university might better help him to realize his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, despite his talent for technology.

    “My father learned machinery and engineering in his undergraduate program and turned to law in his postgraduate program. I think he has a good knowledge set in both the arts and sciences and that offers inspiration to me,” he said, adding that many successful entrepreneurs have a high level of technical knowledge as well, like Steven Jobs, Kaifu Lee and Xiaomi Technology’s Lei Jun.

    He said he aims to go to Stanford University because of its innovative and entrepreneurial climate.

    “I want to study in the United States. I’ll go there with my program and I think American universities will welcome young people with ideas,” Wu said. “If I succeed, I may serve as an example to encourage more Shenzhen students to find a way out by persisting in their hobbies.”

    He said he wanted to be an authentic maker and start up his own enterprise in China after graduating abroad.

    “I want to study in the United States. I’ll go there with my program and I think American universities will welcome young people with ideas. If I succeed, I may serve as an example to encourage more Shenzhen students that they can find a way out if they persist in their hobby.”

    — Wu Ziqian, an aficionado of small inventions

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