2017 Global Innovator Conference held in Shenzhen (Source: Xinhua Agency)
Every day in China there are dozens of tech events, but few of them are able to capitalize on such an inspiring mix of world famous entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and scholars from more than 20 different countries as the Global Innovator Conference (GIC), which took place in Shenzhen from the 8th of September until the 10th.
Shenzhen is the heartland of innovation in China. It is a special place where technology has become a way of life and where startups can easily develop and expand. This has all started in May 1980 when Shenzhen, at the time a fishermen village of no more than 30,000 inhabitants, became China’s first special economic zone. Since then, the city has developed at great speed into one of the most dynamic tech clusters of China, hosting today more than 11 million people and attracting some of the country’s top tech talents.
A sight of the Shenzhen Bay Tech and Ecology Park
Shenzhen owes its meteoric rise to an open innovation culture and the warm reception of immigrants. The local government is betting very high on attracting top talents and tech companies from overseas. The city has developed the Shenzhen Bay Tech and Ecology Park, a building area of 1.88 million sqm in the Southern district of Shenzhen High Tech Zone, designed to serve as HQs or R&D base for high-tech companies, an incubator for innovative small and mid-sized enterprises and a national low carbon ecology demonstration park.
It is therefore not fortuitous that the GIC, a China-based top brand for scientific, technological and cultural events, chose Shenzhen as the venture for its 2017 innovation conference. The Shenzhen conference was organized in partnership with some of the major technological players from around the world and China like Google, Baidu and Ofo.
ChinaEU hosting the panel discussion on the value chain of 5G at GIC
ChinaEU was honored to be asked to organize a panel discussion at the event on the Value Chain of 5G, the coming major innovation in mobile communications. The participants to the panel, chaired by Luigi Gambardella, President of ChinaEU, were Mr. Francesco Profumo, Former Italian Minister of Education and Research and President of Italian tower company INWIT, Ms. Chih-Lin I, Chief Scientist for wireless technologies at China Mobile, and Mr. Wang Jiayi, Managing Director of 5D Ran Solutions at ZTE Corporation.
Luigi Gambardella kicking off the panel of ‘The Value Chain of 5G’
Luigi Gambardella, kicked off the panel discussion with a summary of what is expected from the future 5G standard: “5G is not just a new technology, 5G is a new era, 5G is a revolution that is coming.”
The panel members shared their visions on 5G and its practical applications. Mr. Profumo, who at the same time is also Professor at the Polytechnic University of Turin and President of the Bruno Kessler Foundation, a top scientific research institute in Italy, addressed the possibilities of machine-to-machine and machine-to-person interaction. He also stressed the opportunities of autonomous driving in combination with 5G.
Ms. Chih-Lin addressing the dramastic changes that 5G would bring about at the panel of ‘The Value Chain of 5G’
Ms. Chih-Lin I argued that the new 5G era will bring drastic changes. She argued it will be an era where all societal and economic aspects of our lives including social activities, medical health, transportation, education, entertainment, security, cultural activities and industrial manufacturing will be drastically enhanced.
Mr. Wang Jiayi speaking at the panel discussion of the value chain of 5G
Finally, Mr. Wang Jiayi added his vision of a very positive future where 5G significantly increases the quality of live, for instance by allowing for the revolution of autonomous driving.
Mr. James Li Jianhua, CFO of Didi Chuxing, speaking at GIC
The prospect of a futuristic world of driverless transportation was brought up also by Mr. James Li Jianhua, who is the Chief Development Officer of Didi Chuxing, the world’s largest ride-sharing company. He argued that China possesses huge opportunities for development. The cities are big, densely populated, and they have good infrastructure. This enhances the possibilities of the sharing economy. In the future, Didi’s model will encourage people to share cars instead of buying their own. Furthermore, he talked about Didi’s worldwide expansion with a recent investment in Taxify, an Estonian company, and partnerships in Russia and South-East Asia.
Mr. Austin Zhang, Co-Founder of Ofo, sharing Ofo’s experience in bike security at GIC
Another inspiring speaker was Mr. Austin Zhang, Co-Founder of Ofo, the world’s first “non-docking” bicycle-sharing platform. He spoke about the experience in bike security he learned from studying the bike deployment in the Netherlands and the difficulties of overseas internationalization, mentioning the different regulations and differing population densities among different cities as one of the major challenges.
Mr. Greg Moran, Founder & CEO of Zoomcar, speaking at GIC
Mr. Greg Moran, Founder & CEO of Zoomcar told the crowd about his experience in setting up Zoomcar in Bangalore, India, a market with a relatively young mobile infrastructure.
Li Xiaolong, Senior Director of AI at Ant Financial, speaking at GIC
All these companies are collecting daily a huge amount of data. According to Mr.Li Xiaolong, Senior Director of AI at Ant Financial, big data have the power to sustain brand new business models. He went on to explain how Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba group, is using artificial intelligence and image recognition to revolutionize the insurance business. The idea is that, if you are involved in a car accident, you would not need to wait for the claim adjuster to come, but could simply take a photo with your smartphone and send it to the insurer. The rest would be done by AI, which would assess the damage and cost of repair and list nearby repair shops and relative pricing.
Future-maker award ceremony at 2017 GIC (Source: China Wine News)
On September 9th, GIC 2017 was wrapped up by the “Future Maker Awards Ceremony”. Ten tech companies from the whole world made it to the final list with their incredible technologies and breakthroughs in robotics, artificial intelligence, fin-tech and food technology. Ms. Ma Li, Chairwoman of China Internet Development Fund (CIDF), inaugurated the award ceremony.
Among the remarkable finalists, Shenzhen QYsea Technology was recognized for its breakthrough technology in marine exploration. The company’s flagship underwater robot, FiFish, even won the CES 2017 innovation award in Las Vegas.
US-based Impact Vision was selected for its newly developed software for food safety, that uses image recognition and predictive learning to monitor the quality and characteristics of different foods.
Russian industrial designer Evgeny Arinin was acknowledged for a new traffic lights that can talk to each other as well as with autonomous vehicles.
Finally, Beijing-based Ben Ge Ge was awarded for its smart recycling platform, that connects over 30 waste collecting stations across the city to an Internet platform, which records the sources of waste and send the orders to the waste collectors.
These were all brilliant examples of how digital technologies will improve our daily lives. Even more far-reaching results could be achieved as more Chinese home-grown technologies, from small players like Ben Ge Ge to tech stars like Didi, export their innovations to the rest of the world, and as more foreign innovations like Impact Vision and Evgeny Arinin immigrate to China. This is the vision of ChinaEU, to encourage more European tech entrepreneurs to tap into the China market opportunity and facilitate the spillovers of Chinese companies working with their European counterparts for the building of a 5G-enabled future.