The last day of this trip in Shanghai is coming to an end. We had a very good meeting this morning at STJU – Shanghai Jiao Tong university, where we met colleagues from the Synthetic Biology lab and learnt a great deal about their ambitions to build a leading center in the Shanghai region. The meeting followed with a lunch meeting with colleagues from Shanghai University and the Shanghai International College of Intellectual Property. After some final gift-shopping session we spend the afternoon at the hotel wrapping up our interviews. Following another superb dinner with fantastic Shanghainese food, we continued with our work. Overall we meet more than 30 people from various stakeholders of the innovation system including academics, entrepreneurs, startup accelerators, leading venture funds and government officials. What a successful trip to China. When leaving for China a little less than two weeks ago, I would not have dared to dream of such an excellen and fantastically insightful trip.
The field work trip to China is soon coming to an end. After three more meetings today there are only a few more scheduled for tomorrow before I have to get on the plane to Germany. The first meeting today was with a government official, who kindly hosted us and gave us the chance to discuss IP and innovation system issues. Following a short break we then headed to a meeting kindly hosted by the State International Intellectual Property Operation Management platform. In the late afternoon I then met with Ni Ming, another Wolfson alumni for dinner.
I hate saying it, but this day has been again fantastic. We first visited Xi Tang, a town outside of Shanghai. It was raining heavily, very heavily for a very long time. We first saw Aocheng’s father’s bridge cable manufacturing plant, where they manufacture really-really-really long cables. Very impressive. Following that we went for lunch in the town, with the slight complication that it was still raining and all the water had flodded some of the roads. We had to take some tricycles to get to the restaurant, where we had another round of very delicious chinese food. We then headed back to Shanghai. After a short refreshing stop at the hotel we enjoyed a fabulous dinner with Aocheng’s parents, with some very insightful and interesting conversations about the history of China and its art history.
What should I say? It feels a bit odd to always use this word, but it is so true. This has been another fantastic day in China. Following a good swim on the 57th floor or the hotel (who would have thought about a swiming pool that high in the sky) I met with Lisa, a former CTM student, who kindly showed me around the Bund and some other really interesting parts of Shanghai. Aocheng then picked us up and took us to see „Water Heavens“ in an old chinese town situated in the outskirts of Shanghai. What a wonderful combination of western and eastern music performed with a ranged of different western and eastern instruments also involving singing monks on a temple situated on the other side of the adjascent river. Perfect!
Time for another good night blog post. This time from Shanghai. We had another really good day. Still in Shenzhen we first visited Harbin Institute of Technology, where we were welcomed by a delegation from the unviersity and also met Simin, one of our Wolfson alumni. Following that visit we had another excellent cantonese lunch with Bingjin, who then took us to see HAX, where we then met Jason, who showed us around. Really an impressive space where entrepreneurs can get introduced to the Chinese hardware manufacturing ecosystem. We then had to rush to get to the Chinese Academy of Science at the Shenzhen Institute for Adcanced Technologies (SIAT), where I had been asked to give a talk. Following that we had the opportunity to get a tour around the Institute for Synthetic Biology and some excellent discussions on the role of IP for synbio startups. This meeting marked the end of our field trip to Shenzhen and we rushed to the airport. Aocheng successfully managed to reschedule our flight as there was a risk that our original flight might be cancelled (which turned out to be true). We made it however on an ealier flight to Shanghai, where I could check in to my hotel room with a fantastic view from the 81st floor. I now look forward to get some sleep and then learn more about Shanghai tomorrow. Good night!
Another highly interesting day comes to an end. As on previous days we had a packed programme. We first met with a deputy director and the head of IP from a very interesting biopharma company. We then headed towards the financial district where we met with three of the leading Chinese VC companies with offices on top of the city with fantastic views. We had really insightful discussions about the use of IP by chinese companies. We also met with former CTM PhD student Bingqing Zhao, who is now working in a very interesting postdoc programme between Tsinghua University and the company she is working for. The day ended with a typical cantonese dinner and another delicious Hey Tea as desert.
This morning we checked out in Beijing heading to the airport where we boarded our plane to Shenzhen. The trip was an excellent opportunity to discuss what we had learned the previous days and discuss Aocheng’s research. Upon arrival in Shenzhen with heavy rainfall we went straight towards the joint campus of Beijing, Harbing and Tschinghua university. A massive campus where we met Prof Hai, Founding Dean of PHBS, the Peking University HSBC Business School and the Vice Chairmain of Peking University Council. Following a long and very insightful meeting discussing the growing relations between Peking University and the UK I then had the chance to try my caligraphy skills with a bit of help by Prof Hai.
We then left towards our hotel, where we had 10 minutes to drop off our staff before heading towards the station for boarding a high speed train to Hongkong. In Hongkong we met Daniel and learnt that HK had just been hit by the first Taifun of the season. Unfortunately, after a superb „fast food“ meal on top of the city it was time to head back to Shenzhen. Now looking forward to a good night sleep and an exciting day 6 tomorrow.
This has been a particular exciting day in Beijing and sadly our last one before we had to Shenzhen early tomorrow. Following my keynote talk on „Technology Foresight in the Age of AI“ and the best paper prize ceremony we headed towards Tschighua University. At the X-Labs we met with Prof Pearl, the current director, who gave us some excellent insights into the X-Labs with some very insightful details about how the importance of IP for X-Lab startups has been growing over the past years. A very exciting place with some fantastic companies that have grown out of it, with an extremely delicious coffee from „Yee Coffee“, one of the X-Labs spinouts.
Following that meeting with met with Prof Rong from Tsinghua’s School of Social Sciences and some of his colleagues, before we had to go to Kangxin Partner for a meeting. It was very interesting to hear how the company moves forward with own investments in new technologies for providing more advanced IP services. This meeting was then followed by a visit to Peking University, where we met Prof Justin Yigu Lin, former Chief Economist and Vice President of the Wold Bank. Having the chance to discuss with him the role of IP for different types of technologies in countries that have to catch up was extremely interesting. Also, I have to say that the campus is very impressive and beautiful. The day then came to a nearly close with a fantastic dinner with Prof Yuan Zhou („Joseph“) and his team from Tsinghua’s School of Public Policy and Mangement at the 1911 restaurant, where we had some interesting deserts including white rabbits and yellow pigs. Then it was finally time to head home and pay tribute to Aocheng, who had turned 25 today with a very special cake from Blackswan bakery. What a day!
Today was the first day of the 10th China Forum of Future-oriented Technology Analysis. A conference with some very interesting presentations, some of them in Chinese thought (which actually had really interesting titles). Following a visit to Beijing Institute of Technolgy with a very warm welcome by the dean and very delicious Chinese dinner with the invited international guests we explored a bit the Chinese night.
After we found a large German toy shop (Schwarz, with a most impressive collection of German SIKU play cars) in the middle of what is probably amongst Chinese most expensive malls we found a very nice hidden cocktail bar. You enter the room that looks like a book store, then having to find the hidden door that then slides away so one can enter the real bar. Fantastic! So were the drinks! We then ended up walking quite a bit towards the hotel. The air was nicely cool after it had rained. We had lots of good discussions and also discovered a fully automated public library vending machine. Eventually however, we gave up. Beijing is just soooo big! Such an excellent day and evening.
We had a first fantastic day in Beijing visiting the imperial Palace and some excellent Chinese food incl. my fist Beijing duck and some very Chinese innovative iced tea drink „Heytea“.
Just minutes away from boarding the plane to Beijing. Very much looking forward to this field trip with Aocheng Tag, lots of insightful meetings and
exploring China’s innovation system.