2018 Advance Born Global Salon: Beijing

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Advance members came together on a chilly spring morning in Beijing to welcome Jeremy Balkin, Head of Innovation for HSBC and 2017 Advance Global Award Winner and Jia Li, Co-Founder, FinTech Force and ANU Alumnus and CCTV Anchor, Cheng Lei.

Following the welcome by Stefanie Myers, Advance Asia Director and H.E. Jan Adams AO PSM, Australian Ambassador to China, the speakers launched into an engaging conversation on the ways in which millennials have shaped global business, are the leading influencers on consumer and lifestyle trends, as well as how Australian and Chinese millennials can be the architects of their own success.

Jia Li, a serial entrepreneur and investor in China’s fast-moving AI and fintech sectors, put forward three key drivers for China’s millennial entrepreneurial successes: the bold ideas from millennials in China, their ability to execute quickly, and their ability to achieve big results. Jeremy shared insights from his recently published book The Millennialization of Everything, noting that while Millennials is a term generally used to describe people born between 1981 – 1996, in reality, there are at least three subsets of millennials who have each grown up in different contexts – pre-mobile, pre-internet and mobile first generations. Despite these differences, and cultural differences globally, Jeremy noted that there are more similarities between millennials globally than other generational cohorts, primarily because the impact of millennials has changed so much of the way in which business is conducted and society interacts.

Referencing the anniversary date of the first mobile phone call, Jeremy raised the spectre of Nokia, once considered an unbeatable innovation leader. Cheng Lei, an experienced anchor having interviewed international leaders such as Bill Clinton, challenged Jeremy – what is his company doing that is going to keep them relevant to millennials? Jeremy cited his personal ethos of a focus on customer needs and finding opportunities to create more time for customers as his driver for innovation. Cheng then changed tack to focus the discussion on how millennials in China are shaping innovation. Jia raised the fast build-invest-sell cycle of Chinese startups, whereby successful entrepreneurs are amassing capital in their own companies, but also creating the opportunity to invest in other millennial led ventures. Both Jeremy and Jia agreed that Australia has a unique position globally, with high levels of education and support for entrepreneurs, with Jeremy encouraging millennials to not ‘wait for permission’ to start their own ventures. Jia agreed, urging Australian companies and entrepreneurs to be bold and look globally for emerging trends and the application of novel technology to Australian needs.

Approximately 55 people joined the event, hosted at The Australian Embassy in Beijing as part of Advance’s Asia program of events and engagement. Guests included Xinyu Li, General Manager Greater China Cochlear, Craig Anderson, Executive Director The George Institute, Amanda Barry, Director ANU China Centre, Chloe Dempsey, Advance Mentee, Han Zhang, Managing Editor, Arch Daily China, Shelley Warner, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Access, and new China Global Alumni Engagement Officer from Embassy, Tony Fu.

To find out more and get involved with Advance throughout Asia, please contact Stefanie Myers.

Check out the photos and video from the event!

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