Successful CKGSB Workshop Hosted in Sydney on Global Economic Landscape for Future-Oriented Unicorns

May 10, 2024 | School News

On 1 May 2024, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) successfully hosted a special workshop titled “Economic Disruption and the Next Generation of Unicorns” in collaboration with the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) and MA Financial Group (MA) in Sydney. More than 40 ACBC members, industry leaders, and experts attended the workshop and explored global economic development trends and opportunities for the globalization of the next generation of unicorn enterprises.

A group photo of the workshop’s guests and speakers

Patrick Mayoh, CEO of ACBC (NSW) and the workshop’s MC, extended a warm welcome to all attendees and paid tribute to the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

Patrick Mayoh, CEO of ACBC (NSW), moderating the workshop

Following this, Andrew Martin, Head of Asset Management at MA Financial, delivered an inspiring welcome speech, offering insights into MA Financial’s background and business expertise, with a particular emphasis on their financial collaborations and investments between Australia and China, setting the tone for the proceedings.

Andrew Martin, Head of Asset Management of MA Financial, delivering a speech

Then, Helen Zhi Dent, President of ACBC (NSW), provided an engaging speech to welcome CKGSB’s Founding Dean Dr. Xiang Bing and the other distinguish guests. She expressed that Professor Xiang’s insight into China’s economic development and corporate growth models are profound and unique, beyond what many public sources can provide. She believes it can be a very valuable learning opportunity for ACBC members.

Helen Zhi Dent, President of ACBC (NSW), speaking at the workshop

Next, Professor Xiang Bing, Founding Dean and Dean’s Distinguished Chair Professor of China Business and Globalization of CKGSB, delivered a keynote speech titled “Economic Disruption and the Next Generation of Unicorns.”

Professor Xiang pointed out that economic disruption has been a major factor contributing to  the substantial development of China and the U.S. during the past two decades. The United States exhibits a strong track record of innovation-driven economic development. This is evidenced by the number of Nobel Prize winners in the U.S. researchers in science and technology, and the inclusivity in its economic development. On the contrary, China may have been the most disruption-driven economy in the past two decades. China has continuously seen newly emerged Fortune Global 500 companies, newly minted billionaires on Forbes and a booming number of unicorn companies. This phenomenon has provided more and better opportunities for career development and upward mobility for young people.

Professor Xiang Bing, Founding Dean and Dean's Distinguished Chair Professor of China Business and Globalization of CKGSB, speaking at the workshop

To further explain his concept of economic disruption, Dean Xiang highlighted two factors based on his observation: First and foremost, economic disruption is not equivalent to innovation. He looked into economies such as the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Korea, and Japan, and found that while these economies have made remarkable progress in technological innovation over the past two decades, their performance in generating economic disruption has been comparatively weaker. What’s more, economic disruption of a country cannot be fully demonstrated by the size of its GDP or population. Although a high GDP output is a positive indicator, it may not necessarily guarantee success in nurturing economic disruption, as evidenced by the presence or absence of new billionaires, Fortune Global 500 companies, or unicorn start-ups within a particular economy.

Professor Xiang Bing speaking at the workshop

Professor Xiang believes that fostering the next generation of unicorns and unicorn-to-be companies, with a renewed and enhanced emphasis on global responsibility, social purpose and long-term perspective, could be a solution to the pressing challenges facing humanity. Since 2015, CKGSB has been at the forefront of establishing a global ecosystem for next-generation unicorn and unicorn-to-be companies’ founders through tailored executive programs. Building on its successful experience in offering programs in Dubai, Singapore, Seoul, Milan and San Francisco Bay Area in 2023, CKGSB’s global ecosystem aims to serve more cities and regions including New York, San Diego, Berlin, Paris and Stanford  in 2024. With the array of programs for these regions, CKGSB aspires to build a global ecosystem in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa to prepare enterprising entrepreneurs for opportunities and challenges in a world with shifting and perplexing trends.

In the second part of his speech, Dean Xiang pointed out that despite strong headwinds, there are still reasons to stay optimistic about China’s economic prospects. He highlighted that his optimism is mainly based on the fact that China has been the primary global economic driver and the largest trading nation since 2013 (except in 2016) and manufacturing hub since 2010. The untapped potential within China’s underdeveloped service sector and urbanization, and the significant potential in catch-up investment in the social security system, such as social protection, education and healthcare, also back up his confidence.

Dean Xiang provided clarification on recent misconceptions regarding China’s population and labor force. Despite sharing a similar median age with the United States, China’s population exceeds that of the United States by more than four times and has a lower percentage of senior citizens. Furthermore, while India surpassed China in population size in 2022, China remains to be the world’s largest pool of labor force. Additionally, China’s labor force demonstrates a higher skill level compared to India’s.

Dean Xiang then drew attention to China’s deregulation efforts and the potential impact on economic growth and investment opportunities. He stated that with at least 30 industries or sectors in China to be further deregulated, including seven key industries monopolized by central SOEs, nine pillar industries relatively controlled by local or municipal SOEs, and more sectors in both public and private sectors, China can grow its economy further with new rounds of deregulations.

Dean Xiang ended his speech with a note to emphasize China’s strides in innovation across a number of sectors (including renewable energy, e-commerce, electric vehicles, lithium-ion battery manufacturing, and 5G technology, etc.). This wave of disruptive innovation is propelling Chinese enterprises to be more active in global markets, and it can also be seen as an optimistic sign for China’s economic development. For example, Chinese internet platform companies have achieved notable success in the U.S. market for the first time. A particularly remarkable example is ByteDance, which is considered to be the most valuable unicorn company for over five years, with a valuation significantly exceeding that of the largest American unicorns.

Susan Wang, Managing Director of MA Financial, concluding the workshop

Concluding the event, Susan Wang, Managing Director of MA Financial, expressed her gratitude and acknowledged the efforts of all speakers, participants and the organizers. She emphasized the significance of the event in fostering interactions and collaboration among Sydney’s technology, education, and business elites, and expressed hope for future partnerships.

From left to right: Enda Stankard, Managing Director of MA Financial; Katherine Chen, Founding Partner of Laurel International Group and CKGSB EMBA Alumna; Xiang Bing, Founding Dean and Professor of CKGSB; and Andrew Martin, Head of Asset Management of MA Financial

The event not only provided attendees with insights on the latest trends in the global business arena, but also inspired new exchanges and collaborations among the various stakeholders participating. Looking ahead, CKGSB aims to continue organizing high-quality seminars and forums, contributing to the promotion of global business cooperation and development.

From left to right: Patrick Mayoh, CEO of ACBC (NSW); Xiang Bing, Founding Dean and Professor of CKGSB; and Helen Zhi Dent, President of ACBC (NSW)

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