8th Reception of the St.Gallen Symposium in Beijing

In the light of the upcoming 47th St.Gallen Symposium in May 2017 focusing on “Disruption”, the Embassy of Switzerland in China had the great honour to organize the 8th St.Gallen Symposium Beijing Reception on November 30th 2016 to discuss this hot topic in the Chinese context. Mr. David Braun, Head of the Economic, Financial and Commercial Section and Mr. Rolf Bachmann, Vice President of the St.Gallen Foundation for International Studies, hosted this unique event which brought together more than 70 guests, including distinguished business and academic leaders, as well as several outstanding graduate students.

Embassy of Switzerland, St. Gallen Symposium, moderator and speakers of the 8th Reception of the St. Gallen Symposium in Beijing

Prior to the main event at the Residence of Ambassador, the selected graduate students from top Chinese universities were invited to the Embassy to attend a special pre-gathering. This pre-event focused on the role and activities of the Science, Technology and Education Section of the Swiss Embassy and highlighted Switzerland’s excellence in higher education and research. Furthermore, this pre-gathering presented the essay competition for students which gives them the chance to qualify for participation in the next Symposium as a “Leader of Tomorrow”. Several students expressed their interest to study in Switzerland in the future and seemed very keen on taking part in the essay competition.

Following this pre-gathering, the students joined the other distinguished guests from business and academia to attend a panel discussion and reception focusing on the “Chinese Predicament with Disruption”. The Swiss Embassy was glad to welcome some outstanding panelists to discuss this challenging topic together with the audience: Chen Jin, (Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Tsinghua University), Feng Xi (President of Future Businesses School), Komoda Kazuho (Co-founder and COO of Alesca Life Technologies), Tam Benson (Founder and Chairman of Venturous Group) and Wong Wendy (Founder and CEO of “Chenzao” social network).  The well-known Head of Anchors Team of CCTV International Zou Yue moderated the panel discussion.

Among other interesting issues, the panelists discussed how Chinese businesses such as Alibaba have come to introduce disruptive innovations, which could serve as a source of inspiration to solve some of China’s great challenges outside the business field. In this regard, several speakers emphasized how these successes lie in the capacity of certain people to think “outside the box”, to engage with people from different backgrounds and to explore new grounds and ideas beyond their area of expertise, sphere of interest and comfort zone. Interestingly, this idea is precisely linked to the unique inter-generational and multi-disciplinary dialogue promoted by the St.Gallen Symposium.

More details about this panel discussion can be found on the St.Gallen Symposium’s blog page: http://www.symposium.org/blog/china%E2%80%99s-predicament-disruption.