Our Team

InnovativeChina’s team members are a multicultural group of people who all have a passion for the way China is rapidly increasing its level of innovativeness. It’s the goal of this team to create a leading website about Chinese innovation and Chinese innovative companies and to show the world the amazing products and services that are currently being created inside the Middle Kingdom.

 Thijs van der Toom


Thijs van der Toom

Co-founder & Editor-in-Chief



As founder of InnovativeChina.com Thijs is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the website. In this position he manages IC’s team of editors and safeguards IC’s unique style in facilitating high-quality content concerning Chinese innovation. Besides this task he is responsible for InnovativeChina’s (online) marketing activities as well as strategy development.
Thijs is particularly intrigued by China’s rampant online sector as well as the countries’ renewable energy sector. He therefore loves to cover the latest developments in these fields. In addition he likes to write about Chinese start-ups, gadgets, and new emerging technologies and innovations.


He holds two Masters degrees; in Marketing from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and in Business Administration from the Rotterdam School of Management. Over the last two years he has worked and lived in Shanghai and Chengdu and most recently completed three semesters of intensive Chinese language courses at Sichuan University. Thijs is the 2011/2012 winner of the prestigious China Programme Scholarship funded by the Chinese and Dutch governments. He currently lives in Amsterdam where he takes care of his trading company that is specialized in importing innovative Chinese products.


Thijs is passionate about China’s natural beauty and enjoys exploring the country by bicycle. This passion was the catalyst in his decision to collaborate with a Chinese business partner and establish his own bike travel company ‘The Chinese Cyclist’.


 Mark Greeven


Dr. Mark Greeven

Co-founder & Advisor



Mark Greeven (PhD, Erasmus University) is Associate Professor at the Management Science and Engineering Department of Zhejiang University, School of management. He is a research fellow at the National Institute for Innovation Management (China) and International Institute for Asian Studies (Centre for Regulation and Governance) and co-founder ERIM China Business Research Centre. Furthermore, he is a member of the editorial board of the China in transition book series of Parthenon and member of the scientific committee of the World Entrepreneurship Forum. Before joining ZJU-SOM, he was 3,5 years Assistant Professor at the Rotterdam School of Management and Co-founder of RSM’s master program ‘Chinese Economy and Business’ (in cooperation with Leiden University and over 30 enterprises).


Mark’s research interests are innovation, entrepreneurship and foreign R&D in emerging economies. Furthermore, he explores the strategies of Chinese firms going abroad and cooperation with foreign firms in a joint project with RSM (Holland) and CEIBS (China). Findings of his research are published in international academic journals, books, and newspapers such as The Financial Times.


He has wide consulting, training and teaching experience, supervising over 80 students and giving executive and in-company workshops in among others DSM, Philips and Bosch. Moreover, Mark has provided research-based advice to over 30 Chinese and European firms in their internationalization and innovation management strategies. Mark is a mentor at Chinaccelerator, a startup incubator in Dalian, where he guides starting entrepreneurs in newly emerging industries.



Fabian Nijlant


Fabian Nijlant

Co-founder & Business Development



Within the team of InnovativeChina Fabian is reponsible for the commercial proposition of InnovativeChina. Fabian is a so-called ‘internet entrepreneur’ who gained his knowledge and experience at international companies like Hewlett Packard, TomTom, Shell and Sonos. When reading about the new and different online landscape in China, Fabian got intrigued by the online innovation driven by companies like Alibaba and Tencent. He is convinced that although most people still look to the West for the latest and greatest in online, the real innovation takes place in the East.


To support Chinese companies in spreading out their wings Fabian will head the new social business directory at InnovativeChina. InnovativeChina will stimulate trade between innovative companies in China and their western counterparts. Offering a verified and up-to-date overview of innovative companies – from start-up to enterprise – will guide companies to fruitful partnerships.


Fabian lives in Amsterdam and in addition to building InnovativeChina he helps companies in maximizing their global online sales.



Michael Wakefield


Michael Wakefield




Michael is responsible for ensuring content quality, producing commentary and providing in-depth analysis of the latest developments in Innovative China.


He holds degrees in Economics and Law, from Liverpool University and The College of Law, London. He is an active member of the 48 Group Club, and received the 2011 ‘Young Icebreakers’ Scholarship Award for his work promoting Sino-British relations.


Michael has experience working in China with medium to large companies, and with many Fortune 500 companies. Over the last five years he has witnessed first-hand China’s rapid socio-economic development. It is understanding the role that innovative thinking has made such advancement possible that makes him tick.


Noah Watkins


Noah Watkins




Noah is an editor at InnovativeChina, responsible for generating content and ensuring a high, uniform standard of content quality.
He holds a degree in Business Administration – Management from the University of Baltimore (UB) in Baltimore, MD, and is finishing up an MSc in Chinese Economy and Business from the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). He graduated summa cum laude from UB, and received the Dean’s Scholarship at RSM.
Noah is working on his master thesis, focusing on foreign MNCs engaging in open innovation in China. An internship position with China Materialia – an open innovation firm based in Shanghai – has given him access to open innovation “champions” within MNCs like General Mills, Unilever, Clorox, and BP for interview purposes. Ultimately, the thesis will be structured as a series of mini-case studies focusing on these firms, with insights as to how and why they use open innovation in China. Aside from open innovation, Noah’s China-specific interests include e-commerce, automobiles, telecommunications, and social media.



Samantha Frade


Samantha Frade




Samantha is an editor at InnovativeChina, and is responsible for generating articles relevant to Chinese Innovation in Africa. Being from Mozambique, Sino-African policies and developments are close to her heart.


She attended the International Business Administration bachelor and is now finishing her master in Chinese Economy and Business, both degrees obtained at Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). Her thesis explores the Sino-Mozambican relations with respect to resource depletion and infrastructure development.


She is interning in Shanghai at Expatree – an online platform for expats exploring start-up opportunities within China. Her responsibilities include marketing development and assistant negotiator to potential clients.




Eric Ni




Eric is an editor at InnovativeChina. Besides his work for InnovativeChina Eric works as a Marketing Executive & Managing Partner Assistant for the Shanghai-based company China Materialia. Before that, he held a position at the Bank of China Shanghai Branch where he worked as an integrated customer manager. Here he particularly served Chinese SMEs that were active in high-tech sectors, giving them financial consult and support.


Eric obtained his Master degree from the University of Sydney, majoring in Finance and International Business. For his thesis he focused on entrepreneurship and business management in China. He received his Bachelor degree in Intellectual Property Rights from Shanghai University.


New team member



Editor / Contributor / Guest Writer



If you are amazed by China’s rapidly increased level of innovativeness and all the cool, fun, and useful ideas that are turned into action every single day, the InnovativeChina team would like to welcome you to contact us for vacant editor, contributor or guest writing positions. Please include the following information with your application:


- Your name

- A short self-introduction

- The subjects related to Chinese innovation that you’re most passionate about

- Your specialties and skills

- Where you’re based

- Preferely two links to previous blog posts you wrote (optional)


Please send this information to us


Chen Qi

Chen Qi

Intern (Biz Dev. & Research)



Qi Chen works as an intern at InnovativeChina. With the help from other team members her task is to conduct research on innovative Chinese companies and startups. Her findings will generate a better understanding and clear insights on how these companies like to present themselves online to the outside business world. This will help IC to build a business directory that meets both western and Chinese needs. In addition to this research Qi Chen’s other task is to build a strong team of Chinese editors, manage these editors and generate an ongoing stream of interesting content found on the Chinese web.


She holds a bachelor diploma in Economics and Business from the University of Amsterdam and has been the recipient of the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship for two consecutive years. Currently she is finishing up her master program Chinese Economy and Business at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.


Qi Chen is amazed by the fast development of innovative technology in China. This inspires her to write about a newly developed yet widely popular offline payment service as part of her master thesis. In addition, she takes up this internship opportunity to observe and learn how small businesses are developed. Meanwhile, Qi finds her work very meaningful – she is happy to help innovative Chinese companies and startups reach out further to customers abroad!





Tang Jian

Web Development



Tang handles the web development of InnovativeChina. He is a seasoned online specialist, with years of experience in IT, who is able to quickly generate action from ideas.


He spends his weekdays as a full-time Flash Game Developer. He also enjoys his free time, kicking ass playing World of Warcraft.


Tang is based in Chengdu, a major player in innovative China, a city ever frequently being labeled as the ‘Silicon Valley of Western China’.