2019 UBC China Forum

The 2019 UBC China Forum was the final product of a year long’s journey, and it was nothing short of a spectacle. Our goal to bridge Sino-Canadian businesses and elites was fully actualized through our series of panel presentations and discussions. With 27 Chinese and Canadian industry-leaders, 42 professionals in their respective fields, and over 1200 attendees, the 2019 UBC China Forum became one of the top student-organized conferences in Canada. It has proven that the UBC China Forum will continue to play an irreplaceable role in fostering holistic and constructive conversations about China and promoting cross-border cooperation among the next generation of leaders, business people, and diplomats.


This was further emphasized through the wide variety of the topics we covered: From Venture Capital to Technology Application, and Lifestyle Service to Media & Entertainment with additional panels on Canadian Specialty Businesses, New Energy and Next Generation Entrepreneurship we sought to fully capture and deliver what was promised in our theme “New Generation, New Opportunities”.

Highlights

With the theme ‘New Generation, New Opportunities,’ the 2019 UBC China Forum was the largest student-run China-focused conference in Canada, providing insight into the dynamic business, economic, and cultural landscape in modern China. This two-day event at the Vancouver Convention Centre brought together 27 Chinese and Canadian industry-leaders, 42 representatives from multinational corporations, and over 1200 attendees across Canada.

 

Activities included speeches and panel discussions from distinguished business leaders, a venture capital competition, a case competition, a career fair, and themed seminars. The 2019 UBC China Forum was a trending topic online, reaching audiences of over 62.1 million across our 5 social media platforms and 30 professional media outlets, recording over 11.1 million views on Weibo alone.


Speakers included: Jack Gao, former CEO of Microsoft China; Herbert Chia, former Senior Vice President of Alibaba; Liu Yuan, Managing Director of Zhenfund; Steve Lau, founder of Eagles Fund; Xiufeng Bai, CSO of Meituan, among many others. We also had the pleasure of hosting distinguished entrepreneurs like Roham Gharegozlou, accomplished media figures like Raz Galor and Christy Chung, and leading scholars like Professor Kai Li and Professor Chunhua Wu, who showed support to the Forum.

Venture Capital &

Entrepreneurship panel

We had the pleasure of having Wang Xinwei, CFO & Managing Director of China Renaissance with over 30 years of experience in investment management and acquisition; Steve Lau, founder of Eagles Fund and a top ranking Chinese angel investor; Vion Sun, Managing Director & Partner of China International Capital Corporation; Zheng Gang, Founder of Purple Sky Capital; and Liu Yuan, Managing Director of ZhenFund and ranked among Forbes China ’30 under 30’ in 2018.

Lifestyle & Services panel

The discussions were led by Bai Xiufeng, CSO of Meituan Dianping – one of the leading firms of O2O catering services in China – and Gao Chao, CMO of UCOMMUNE and former China Region PR Manager for Amazon and Uber.

Media & Entertainment panel

We had Jack Gao, Founder of Smart Cinema & former CEO of Microsoft China; Christy Chung, an internationally famous Canadian-Chinese Actress with over 20 years of experience in the showbiz; Raz Gal-Or, an Israeli Internet Influencer based in China, specializing in the integration of Westerners into Chinese culture.

Technological Innovations & Applications panel

This comprised Herbert Chia, Partner of Sequoia Capital and the leading mind of Big Data in China; Stone Liu, Executive Manager of MovieBook, which specializes in AI video production and recognition technology; Greg Johnston, CEO of Cal Data Solutions, a local firm specializing in data collection, storage, and analytics; and Roham Gharegozlou, CEO at Dapper Labs & Founder of Axiom Zen – named Canada’s Most Innovative Company by Canadian Business

Endorsors

Speakers

Forum Sub-venue Activities

In addition to the main conference, the 2019 UBC China Forum included six unique sub- venue activities in a fun, diversified and yet comprehensive experience. It would give our participants the opportunity to engage with 60 top Canadian and Chinese business representatives representing four fields of industry: 

Venture Capital Competition 

The Venture Capital Competition was a vital segment of the Forum as it provided an opportunity for new entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas for financing to some of the most influential Chinese venture capitalists and investors who were in Vancouver for the first time. Notable judges included Herbert Chia, the internationally acclaimed big data analyst and venture partner of Sequoia Capital China Fund; Steve Lau, leading angel investor and founder of Eagles Fund; Xinwei Wang, CFO of China Renaissance; and Yuan Liu, executive manager of ZhenFund. 


Competitors had to submit their project business plans before going through a selective screening process to reach the final round of the competition. 56 solid proposals were received from new or incubating start-ups in a variety of fields: technology, finance, education, entertainment, tourism, healthcare, media and immigration. 


The seven outstanding plans selected through careful review were presented at the finals held in the main conference room. The final was very popular, drawing a following of approximately 200. After fierce debate, CuePath’s creative solution for medicine packaging was awarded the ‘Most Innovative’ title. But it was AI Systems’ well-rounded project aimed at transforming gardening with robotic technology that won the prize. The winners were immediately connected with the investors at the venue. In fact, for all participants, the competition provided an avenue for exclusive networking opportunities for financial investment, consultation with the judges, as well as communication of business ideas.

Case Competition

Partnering with ZGC Inno Town of Beijing and China-Canada Student Entrepreneurship Association (CCSEA), the case competition event challenged students with a real-life business situation: stagnant growth faced by Canadian Dease Lake Mine Limited. 


Participating teams were required to propose strategic and feasible solutions based on the authentic market status of the mine and relevant company information. The duration of this information-gathering exercise was around 3 weeks, with online and offline Q&A sessions before final submission. Altogether 44 teams consisting of 155 total participants, from four countries and various schools including Tsinghua, Harvard, UC Davis and Dalhousie participated.

 

The finals had taken place at Sauder School of Business at UBC prior to the Forum, while the winners received their awards at a ceremony at the Forum and had a chance to present again. This competition was a good chance for the students to engage in business solutions, apply textbook learning to a real life situation as well as apply critical
analysis, thinking and reflective skills to the business strategic design. 

Press Conference

A China Forum press conference was held on October 18th 2019 to introduce to media representatives the concepts, agenda and guests featured at the Forum and its mission to extend China-Canada business opportunities and diplomatic relations.
Speakers who added their support at the press conference included Professor Chunhua Wu from UBC Sauder School of Business, Mr Junjie An, Secretary General of the Alumni Association of Cheung Kong Graduate School in Canada, as well as Mr Baijin Wang, representative of the Burnaby City Council. 


All these speakers acknowledged the Forum’s critical role in encouraging positive exchanges between Canada and China in today’s ever evolving political economy. Further support came from over 150 guests consisting of student club presidents from other universities, representatives of strategic sponsors and media partners such as RBC, National Bank of Canada, VanPeople, College daily and Westbank. 

Networking Career Fair

One of the most memorable events at the Forum was the networking career fair. This provided the opportunity for attendees to connect with company delegates from some of the largest firms in Canada and China. Over 25 companies were featured, ranging from the Big Four, top investment banks such as RBC, JP Morgan, BMO, HSBC, industry giants Amazon, Telus, Sierra Wireless as well as leading firms Canaccord Genuity and Arc’Teryx. In all, about 42 company delegates attended the career fair. What was striking about the fair was its free-flow format to facilitate a more casual atmosphere for spontaneous discussion. This allowed delegates and students to freely roam around cocktail tables and engage in conversation. Because of the low delegate to student ratio, there was good interaction between delegates and students. The latter were able to receive personal advice, and even internship opportunities to build up their profiles. 

Finally, the Forum featured four themed seminars on the topics of immigration, graduate school consulting, career planning and student financing, which were conducted by Tian En Immigration, CheersYou International Consulting, Zhiwen CA and CCUE Finance. These topics were selected because of the importance of such consultations for college students aspiring to study in North America. We also provided the setting for advice and resources by connecting relevant firms with the students. Additionally, should the students have further questions, one on one counselling was also offered by the firms directly in more private settings.

Private Meetings

The Forum also helped set up private meetings to connect its sponsors with speakers at the event. Our sponsors include the National Bank of Canada, China Telecom, Leede Jones Gable, etc. In addition to networking for students, we also provided networking opportunities among our industry-leading delegates, speakers and sponsors to exchange ideas, resources and experience.

Themed Seminar 

Finally, the Forum featured four themed seminars on the topics of immigration, graduate school consulting, career planning and student financing, which were conducted by Tian En Immigration, CheersYou International Consulting, Zhiwen CA and CCUE Finance. These topics were selected because of the importance of such consultations for college students aspiring to study in North America. We also provided the setting for advice and resources by connecting relevant firms with the students. Additionally, should the students have further questions, one on one counselling was also offered by the firms directly in more private settings.

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