Polish tech company sets eyes on Chinese market

Updated: October 9, 2020 Source: Xinhua News Agency
fontLarger fontSmaller

Few European technology companies ever succeed in the U.S. market, but the ambition itself can lead to insights that open up new paths, which may lead them to success elsewhere. The story of the Polish artificial intelligence (AI) company Cosmose is a case in point.

Many of the preconceptions held by Europeans about the Chinese technology sector are simply not true, Cosmose founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Miron Mironiuk told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The company, whose platform increases customer engagement and targeted advertising using smartphone data analytics, now serves 360,000 retail stores in China and Japan.

"When I started Cosmose six years ago, I was set on chasing the American dream," Mironiuk recalled. "However, the U.S. market is very large, and smartphone penetration was not very high at the time. So I looked further, and decided to try Singapore and Hong Kong, China first, due to their very high smartphone penetration of over 90 percent. I moved to Hong Kong, thinking I would stay for maybe half a year."

Making it to Silicon Valley in the U.S. is no longer a must for Mironiuk.

"My perception of China was completely wrong," he acknowledged. "China alone has 1.4 billion people with over a billion smartphones. It is the fastest growing -- and most competitive -- market in the world."

Despite preconceptions held mainly in Western countries, China does not simply copy ideas from others, Mironiuk said. "They are very competitive. You can't simply do something well once and relax. You need to improve your product constantly. That's something the Chinese market will teach you in a very short period."

He added that while most new ideas originate elsewhere, it is the attention paid to execution that sets China apart. "Everyone can have an idea. I personally don't care who came up with mobile payment, the only country where it really took off is China."

Cosmose kept its engineering team in the Polish capital Warsaw, working together with its offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

He sees many similarities between Polish and Chinese entrepreneurs. "We share the same mindset. Like the Poles, the Chinese are very patient in the long term, but quick on their feet in the short term. There is a true talent to integrate different innovations."

However, one stark difference is in the way entrepreneurs and innovators collaborate. "In many countries, innovation starts in the garage, and that goes for China as well. They show their ideas and seek feedback and help from their peers. The Poles, by contrast, tend to start from their cellars," Mironiuk said.

"When I started out, I was a typical Pole," he laughed. "I had an idea and did my best to keep it to myself. In China, however, I learned to pitch my idea. The Chinese are extremely helpful. We still work with the same companies as four years ago. There is energy, and you feel that Shanghai is a true startup city."

As it targets brick and mortar retailers, the COVID-19 pandemic did not leave Cosmose unaffected. But Mironiuk claims that his technology is well-positioned to help stores rebound after the crisis.

"What we see is that clients are trying to rebound from the pandemic. They are looking to get their customers back and can use our platform to inform them that they have reopened," he said.

Editor: Liu Ting