Geographies in Depth

6 things to know about our meeting in China

From world leaders to amazing new tech, here's what to look out for at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the New Champions Image: Faruk Pinjo

Oliver Cann
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This article is part of: Annual Meeting of the New Champions

The Forum’s 11th Annual Meeting of the New Champions takes place in Dalian, China this week. With its futuristic focus on science, technology and innovation, it is unlike any other meeting the Forum organizes during the year. Here are six things you need to know about it.

This year’s theme is Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Themes for meetings are useful: they provide purpose and help discussions keep on track. Ours is ambitious: by focusing on the need for more inclusive growth and also the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we tackle head on two of the most significant global challenges of our times. Globalization and technological disruption are blamed for both widespread job displacement and growing income inequality. Through our own research on new models of inclusive growth, as well as the sessions we’ve designed on how to exploit job-creation opportunities linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we hope we’ll get some way towards addressing them.

This year has possibly the most interesting line-up of speakers ever

This year, alongside a special address from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the cast of speakers is more eclectic than ever. Leaders from the world of politics include Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden and Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Finland. Business leaders include Jean Liu, President of Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-sharing business and Uber rival, Xu Jinghong, Chairman of tech investment giant Tsinghua Holdings and Dai Wei, founder of rapidly growing bike-sharing firm Ofo, one of the youngest participants at 26 years old. Among the cultural leaders in Dalian are feted Chinese science fiction writer Hao Jingfang, Jin Xing, the hugely popular Chinese television talk show host, and Kamal Sinclair, Director of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Labs Program.

Young Scientists are a pretty cool bunch

AMNC is the home venue of one of the Forum’s younger communities, the Young Scientists. Chosen for the track record in world-class research and under 40 years of age, among the 52 that will be participating this year are Jodie Luftkenhaus, designer of spray-on batteries for applications in wearable electronics, Yoshiro Kawahara, inventor of a technique to print electronic circuits on home printers, and Liming Wang, a neuroscientist from Zhejiang University who’s built a reputation for using behavioural and other scientific techniques to tackle complaints ranging from sleep disorders to obesity.

There are a lot of exciting emerging technologies out there

Technology is going to play a crucial part in solving global challenges. Among our Technology Pioneer of 2017 in Dalian are Astroscale, whose satellites suck up debris in space, Chain and Electron, blockchain specialists for the finance and energy industries respectively, and Meta, who’s Augmented Reality headset enables people to manipulate digital objects or holograms with their hands.

It’s not all about talk

Forum meetings are working meetings – chances for the various communities in our ecosystem to catch up and take stock of the work they’re doing. In addition to working with the Chinese government broadly on opportunities for public-private cooperation and growth models along the Belt and Road, other projects currently under way include new ways of driving the circular economy, getting better value in healthcare and the future of consumption in fast-growth consumer markets.

What else is happening?

Make sure you visit Dutch artist Daan Roosegarde’s smog vacuum cleaner, which is on display for the first time in Dalian. Also on display is the eHang 184, a Chinese-built personal drone which has already been tested in the skies above Dubai as well as the 4IR Bio Lab exhibition which contains a number of artistic concepts on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution could impact life in the future, from made-to-order organs and disease-detecting poo.

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