14 January 2019
The School of Business and Management at Queen Mary, University of London is pleased to have successfully hosted an event on innovation and entrepreneurship: A Journey from China to London with Pitch@Palace China, the China-Britain Doctoral Association and Queen Mary Enterprise & Careers on the 10th of December 2018.
China is now the second largest economy in the world. Technology and innovation have often been seen as the backbone of China’s unprecedented economic rise. To understand China’s growth, it is important to understand how Chinese firms are innovating.
Five Chinese entrepreneurs who won HRH Prince Andrew KG’s Pitch@Palace China competition were invited to Queen Mary to speak about their entrepreneurial journey from China to London prior to the Pitch@Palace Global 3.0 at St. James’s Palace. They shared their highs and lows of being entrepreneurs in China with students, alumni, academics and entrepreneurs.
Our guests also included key Pitch@ Palace China Committee members such as Chris Yang, Pitch@Palace, Chairman of Hampton Group, Madam Xia Hua, Chairman of Eve Group，Sammi Tang, China Secretary-General, Pitch@Palace China， Jean Jameson, UK Secretary-General, Pitch@Palace China, Mr Alistair Michie, British East Asia Council and Boshu Liang, and Chief Representative of China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) in the UK
Professor Lutao Ning, Professor of International Business and also the Chair at the China-Britain Doctoral Association, hosted this event. He first provided opening remarks and pointed out to the audience the importance of understanding China’s rapid economic rise through the innovation activities of Chinese firms and entrepreneurs.
Professor David Lee, Pro-Vice Principal for Research and Enterprise, welcomed all guests and congratulated the contestants on their entrepreneurial journey so far. He introduced the efforts Queen Mary has made in working with Chinese universities and firms. He hoped Queen Mary would be able to widen its collaborations with more institutions and enterprises from China in technology and innovation, and especially through the night’s event.
Mr Boshu Liang, Chief Representative of China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) in the UK also thanked the organisers and congratulated the contestants. He saw the main challenges for business and academics in working together are cultural nuances and information asymmetry. Events like tonight’s are a great way for both UK and China to improve understanding and pave the way for future collaborations.
Sam Firman, Queen Mary Enterprise, explained how Queen Mary engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship and also informed students of the opportunities and help they can obtain through the university.
Each of the contestants then detailed how they created their businesses:
Jun PENG, CEO and Co-Founder, PONY.AI has created an autonomous vehicle control system and has so far received 100 million USD venture capital backing. It is currently conducting open road testing in the US and China
Yili WU, CEO,YI TUNNEL applies AI technology to the retail sector across the entire retail process. It has completed two rounds of financing from firms such as Baidu Venture and Fengshion Captial
Xue DING, Project Manager ,China Craftmanship is combines traditional Chinese arts and crafts with modern fashion
Hua Tian, founder, Yue Ming Pian Technology focuses on the creation, design, production, and promotion of sound trademarks, and develops sound applications and equipment.
Yufeng Qiu, Chairman at Zorpia Robot, has developed a mechanical arm and hand with pointing and grabbing functions to meet the needs of daily life of disabled people. It offers a platform which allows potential partners in other fields to join its development.
To conclude the event, Madam Xiahua shared her thoughts on how to become a successful entrepreneur in China based on her 25 years of experience of working with start-ups. She recommended that entrepreneurs’ develop persistence, a hard-working attitude and responsibility, all of which are needed to drive both business and personal success. She also encouraged all students to consider entrepreneurship across cultures and borders.
Many guest speakers and Queen Mary students commented on the success of the event. Queen Mary Enterprise Society commended the event as an absolute thrill to hear from the contestants “who are really inspired to self-innovate and strive for the best to explore new blue oceans! From AI in the retail sector to autonomous vehicle control systems, China keeps innovating and bringing in new entrepreneurs to disrupt sectors in new creative ways.”
The Chinese contestants later competed at HRH Prince Andrew KG’s Pitch@Palace Global 3.0 at St James’ Palace on 12th December. We look forward to seeing more Chinese contestants next year to share their entrepreneurial journey with students and staff.