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2024 Conference Recap

Conference Summary

On Saturday, March 2nd 2024, we hosted the 18th Greater China Business Conference at the Kellogg Global Hub. The theme for this year is Navigate Beyond Borders: Changes, Opportunities, and Collaborations - a timely exploration of the dynamic challenges and prospects in today’s global context. Bringing together over 160 students, professionals, and industry experts, this year’s GCBC served as a platform for deep discussions around Greater China’s evolving business landscape and complexity.

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Keynote by Larry Liu

After the Opening Remark, our conference co-chair invited the Founder and CEO of Weee!, Larry Liu for an engaging conversation about his entrepreneurial journey. Larry candidly shared all the challenges and frustrations the company faced when it was first founded to enable “group-buys” in 2015, and how it later successfully transformed into the fastest growing ethnic online grocer.

 

“We don’t try to [sell] the “common denominator” products, instead, we have dedicated teams to serve each ethnic group.” Larry highlighted the importance of sourcing, serving and marketing in an extremely tailored way. He later shared the qualities and visions he seeks from his executive teams and other promising founders. At the end of the session, Larry kindly connected with attendees in a private setting to answer more questions from the attendees.
 

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Keynote by Professor John Rogers

The afternoon session was kicked off by Professor John Luther Rogers, who had worked in Asia for almost 30 years. He unfolded whether China has reached its peak and its significance to the global community by outlining China's historical context, current economic hurdles such as demographic shifts, the real estate market crisis, deflation, and US-China tensions, and strategies to address these challenges.

 

Particularly on the real estate sector, he noted that the critical impact of a 5% drop in home prices could erase significant housing wealth, and how Beijing struggles with deflation, marking the fastest decline in prices in 15 years. To counter these challenges, Rogers suggests several measures such as increasing the retirement age, incentivizing urbanization, boosting female workforce participation, and enhancing productivity. He later indicated optimism for China's ability to navigate its economic and diplomatic challenges while emphasizing the crucial role of education, research and development, and next-generation technology.

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Future of EV Adoption 

The panel "Future of EV Adoption in China vs. US" focused on the differences, collaborations, and challenges in the electric vehicle industry between China and the US. During the panel, Yvette Zhang, Director of AlixPartners, used the Chinese idiom "right timing, right place, and right people" to describe China's EV industry. Christian Murrieta, Head of Mobility Concepts at Audi, with diverse working experiences from China, the US, Europe, and other regions, highlighted the differences in consumer groups for EV in different areas and the impact of these differences on the development of the EV industry in each region. Darren Liu, Executive Director of Accelera by Cummins, provided insights on the EV supply chain from a Tier 1 perspective. He mentioned that currently, more than half of the world's top ten battery suppliers are from China. Additionally, the three panelists, along with Professor Nancy Qian, also deeply discussed the future of China's EV expansion into international markets and its impact on Europe and the US.

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Clsoing

As the 18th GCBC draws to a close, we reflect on a day filled with insightful discussions and valuable connections. Dean Langewisch’s call to “engage deeply, question boldly, and network openly” resonated throughout the event. We extend our gratitude to all attendees for contributing to the success of the conference, and we look forward to continued conversation and collaboration. Until next time!

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Opening Remark

With over 1,500 Kellogg alums in Greater China, Dean Langewisch’s opening remarks highlighted Kellogg’s robust network in China, including the 25-year partnership with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the prestigious Executive MBA (EMBA) program. Emphasizing the importance of active discourse, Dean Fran encouraged attendees to “engage deeply, question boldly, and network openly”, setting the tone of an enriching and collaborative event.

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Cross-Border Ecommerce in APAC

As borders are becoming less of an obstacle and more of a terrain to navigate, In the panel "Cross-Border Ecommerce in APAC”, our panelists shared how they tackle the nuances of regulatory environments, consumer behaviors, and technological advancements across different markets in the region. Industry leaders Steven To, Lawrence Li, Luke Zhang, and Khanh To have highlighted that affordable pricing and easy access to technology are pivotal in driving both local competition and the global expansion of domestic sellers. As global e-commerce platforms enable sellers worldwide to broaden their reach, understanding the nuanced yet sometimes striking similarities influenced by economic and cultural factors is essential. They also pointed out that for young professionals aspiring to enter the e-commerce field in China, there's a strong demand for skills in product design, branding, and advertising.

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Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship

The panel focused on how we can drive growth and boldly shape the future through entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in China and the US. After a warm introduction by Prof. Tim Calkins, Yanchun Liu, Senior Global Marketing Manager at Mars, walked the audience through her experience and life as a Senior Global Marketing Manager—presenting innovative ideas, testing them, and deciding whether to proceed or start over. Yanchun observed that the speed of the innovation cycle in the Chinese market is much faster than in the US, with trends evolving rapidly.

 

Coming from a different industry, John Hui, a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare sector, provided a unique perspective on growth and innovation. John shared insights into the complexity of the US healthcare system, highlighting the diverse needs and preferences of the patient group.

 

During engaging conversations between the moderator and the two panelists regarding the differences and similarities in entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in China and the US, Yanchun offered valuable advice to students: not to be too harsh on themselves and to consider how they can share their cultures. John also emphasized the importance of networking: 'While what you know is important, in the end, it is not about what you know but who you know.'

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The Shifting Sands of Global AI Landscape

The AI panel "The Shifting Sands of Global AI Landscape" delved into one of today's hottest topics: the intricate and ever-evolving realm of Artificial Intelligence. Jenny Xiao, Partner at Leonis Capital, shared her transformation from OpenAI to an astute entrepreneur, illuminating the shifts in mindset needed when moving from research to startup culture. Chen Zhu, a Research Scientist at Meta, added depth to the discussion with his experiences in leading-edge research, offering an insider’s perspective on the workings of major tech firms. Tianhao Wu, the Managing Director at Northwestern University Investment Office, contributed his expertise on the strategic investment landscape of AI ventures.

The panelists jointly tackled the pressing issues of global AI trends and challenges, engaging in a dynamic conversation about the synergy and friction between established AI giants and nimble startups. The insights shared by these thought leaders provided a roadmap for navigating the complexities of the global AI ecosystem, highlighting the collaborative efforts needed to steer the future of AI towards innovative horizons.

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