CKGSB and Harvard Kennedy School Collaborate to Build “A New Business Civilization”
July 11, 2016

Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) again co-hosted the 2nd Annual Global Symposium — A New Business Civilization — in Beijing, China on Friday July 8, 2016. This follows on from last year’s inaugural symposium held at Harvard, itself a product of a five-year collaboration between the two schools. Nine academics from universities such as CKGSB, Harvard and Oxford joined more than a dozen speakers from the business community to shed light on sustainable entrepreneurship. Close to 600 participants attended the event.

CKGSB Founding Dean Xiang Bing (pictured above) kicked off the event by discussing ‘The Role of China-US Collaboration and a ‘New Business Civilization’ in an Era of Global Transformation’, exploring the long-term vision and global shared responsibilities at the core of this new idea. Commenting on the goal of the Symposium, Dr. Xiang said, “It is imperative that leaders in the 21st century have a global, humanitarian and innovative mindset, enabling them to compete and collaborate with compassion and empathy. To this end, CKGSB incorporated the humanities into its business education curriculum back in 2005, and our professors continue to push students to go beyond how to do business to ask why to do business. To be globally competitive, we believe that future business leaders must lead with big hearts and companies must today take more social responsibilities in order to help develop ‘a new business civilization’.

Anthony Saich (pictured above), Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, added, “It is essential that leaders from around the world work together on international and global issues. As China plays an increasingly large role in the global community, all of us – from governments to businesses to philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders – must collaborate on issues such as climate change, energy and corporate social responsibility. Chinese philanthropy has had a huge push forward over the last decade and has positioned Chinese companies and senior executives to take a leading role in tackling the common challenges that face all of humanity.”

A panel discussion on “Humanity’s Common Challenges through a Global Lens” with (from left to right) Juliet Zhu, Associate Dean and Professor of Marketing at CKGSB; Gerry George, Dean and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Lee Kong Chian School of Business in Singapore; Feng Lun, Chairman of Vantone and a current CKGSB Business Scholar Program (DBA) student; Guo Wei, Chairman and CEO of Digital China; and Liu Meng, Head for Asia and Oceania at the United Nations Global Compact.

Feng Lun, Chairman of Vantone and a current CKGSB Business Scholar Program (DBA) student at CKGSB, took part in several sessions, saying, “In the Internet age, we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of information, and we are engaged in more intense communications and closer connections, which reduces bias and ignorance. This makes us aware of existing problems and thus helps us seek possible solutions. I believe, one day, that we can really behave according to a common understanding of the truth and rules. This will be a big step in the development of our civilization.”

Professor Tu Weiming (pictured above), CKGSB Honorary Professor and Chairman of the CKGSB Committee on the Humanities, talked about the importance of incorporating humanities into business practices stating, “In business, we have to re-examine the meaning of ‘self-interest’, which should embrace a more open and diversified attitude towards others, such as understanding, recognizing and showing respect for others.”

The world-renowned expert on Chinese philosophy and Confucian studies was then joined for a panel discussion, which focused on “Rethinking Traditional Business Practices and Theories”, by Chi Yufeng, Founder and Chairman of Perfect World and a current CKGSB Business Scholar Program (DBA) student; Zhang Jiantao, Vice President of Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at Coca-Cola; and Rob Koepp, Beijing Director of the Economist Corporate Network, with Yan Aimin, Associate Dean for Alumni Affairs and Professor of Management at CKGSB, acting as moderator.

Among those exploring the topic of “The Roadmap for Responsible Businesses” were Wang Jianzhou, Former Chairman of China Mobile; Jerry Sanders (pictured above), Chairman and CEO of skyTran Inc.; Zhou Hang, CEO and Founder of; and Jon Liao, Associate Dean and Professor of Managerial Practice, Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CKGSB moderating proceedings.

During the session, Wang Jianzhou said, “ICT (information and communications technology), like other new technologies, not only brought disruptive changes to our lifestyles, but also, more importantly, it changes the way we think and connect, creates a new social order and thus leads to a new business civilization.”

A panel session featuring (from left to right) Teng Bingsheng, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Strategic Management at CKGSB; Anthony Saich, Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School; Qin Xiao, Former Chairman of China Merchants Group and China Merchants Bank; Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, China Business Editor at The Economist; and He Gang, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Business Review (Chinese edition) and a current CKGSB Business Scholar Program (DBA) student.

Commenting later, CKGSB Professor Teng Bingsheng said, “Businessmen are the practitioners of the developing business civilization. Therefore, we have to re-examine, or even re-establish, entrepreneurship when we talk about seeking the road map of a new business civilization.”

The final session, “A Vision for a New Kind of Leadership”, focused on business in the internet age and included Lancelot Guo, Vice President of Strategy for Greater China Group at IBM; Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of Sogou and a current CKGSB Business Scholar Program (DBA) student; and Liu Jing, Associate Dean and Professor of Accounting and Finance at CKGSB. Sharing his experience, Lancelot Guo said, “Corporate value plays a fundamental role in shaping leadership. We strive to be a long-lasting enterprise so we need to do the right things that benefit the common good, no matter what the market tells us to do and how fast it requires us to change.”

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