The New Champions, From Tianjin


The second New Champions conference was held in Tianjin.  It’s a new annual meeting organized by the World Economic Forum, known as the Davos conference.  It started last year in Dalian.  The event mainly brings together young leaders of new emerging companies in the world.  I was very pleased that many young entrepreneurs from Japan were taking part.  Out of the nearly 1,500 participants from around the world, about 60 were from Japan.

At 6 am on September 26th, I boarded a shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya.  There’s a direct flight to Tianjin from Nagoya International Airport.  How convenient, I made it to the conference in time for 2 pm, at the risk management workshop moderated by INSEAD’s Dr. Soumitra Dutta.  Apparently a high-speed train service between Beijing and Tianjin started ahead of the Olympics last month, but flying directly to Tianjin seems to be a more reliable and quicker way.

The venue of the international conference is of excellent quality.  China’s vibrancy is similar to the atmosphere in Japan 40 years ago.  Hosting the Tokyo Olympics back then inspired the construction of new infrastructure like the shinkansen bullet train and the Tomei expressway.  Of course, the speed and scale of building are of a different magnitude in today’s world of globalization.

Many of the Japanese participants were also at last year’s conference.  Mr. John Ehara from Unison Capital hosted a "Japan Sushi Dinner."  It was a smash hit.  Japanese-cuisine really has a worldwide appeal.  A dinner like this is a company’s intangible asset because people will surely talk to friends about the experience.  Word of mouth will eventually spread around the world and boost the company’s credibility, resulting in new opportunities.  Mr. Ehara remained very low-key throughout the event.  I’m very grateful for his efforts.  It became such a wonderful gift to our country too.


Photo1  Dr. Dutta from INSEAD(middle), Dr. Probst of WEF


Photo2  Yokohama Mayor Nakada

In the afternoon of September 27th, I served as a member of a panel session.  It was quite an interesting experience.  Because I naturally tend to speak fast, I always consciously try to slow down.  But this time I found myself talking even faster than usual.  That’s because each panelist was given only 2 to 3 minutes for an introductory comment.  We also needed to end the session on time since Premier Wen Jiabao was to make his appearance afterwards.  It was a difficult task to highlight my differences with other panelists and make sure that the audience understood the key points.  I need more practice.

Premier Wen Jiabao flew in to Tianjin directly from New York where he was attending the UN general assembly.  He delivered a powerful speech and answered questions very well.  He provided clear answers on some difficult questions involving the earthquake, food safety, and environmental problems.

A gala dinner was held in the evening.  I was a little disappointed that the music and dancing was mostly Western, and not Chinese.


Photo3, 4  images from the gala dinner