Tsinghua SEM Alumni Forum 2020: fostering new economy and exploring new momentum of Chinese economy in the future

On April 25, 2020, the day before Tsinghua’s 109th and Tsinghua SEM’s 36th anniversary, the Tsinghua SEM alumni forum 2020 has been held online by Tsinghua Business Review, Tsinghua SEM Executive Education Center and Alumni Development Center jointly. The forum themed “fostering new economy and exploring new momentum of Chinese economy in the future” has invited a group of renowned Chinese scholars and entrepreneurs to probe into challenges brought by new uncertainties as well as new economic momentum for China in the future. CGEB Jin, professor of Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Tsinghua University, director of Research Center for Technological Innovation, Tsinghua University, and executive editor of Tsinghua Business Review hosted the forum.


WU Hequan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, LIU Lingling, professor of Department of Economics, Tsinghua SEM, XU Xin, Associate Dean of Tsinghua SEM and director of AIM Research Center, Tsinghua SEM, WANG Jianzhou, senior advisor to the GSMA and former Chairman of China Mobile, TONG Guohua, chairman of China Information Communication Technologies Group Corporation and CHEN Jin, professor of Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Tsinghua University, director of Research Center for Technological Innovation, Tsinghua University, and executive editor of Tsinghua Business Review, has delivered keynote speech on the forum.


As a former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, WU Hequan has been working in national informatization strategy planning and research for a long time. In his speech themed “digital infrastructure leads new infrastructure” which began with the strategy and content of new infrastructure, he pointed out that the National Development and Reform Commission has divided new infrastructure into three parts including the next generation information infrastructure (digital infrastructure) — the focus of his lecture, integrated infrastructure (including intelligent transport and intelligent energy, etc.) and innovative infrastructure. And therewith from four aspects including 5G network, cloud database, AI platform and industrial internet and the whole-industrial-chain process, he illustrated the significant conclusion that “digital infrastructure is a new infrastructure, a strategic emerging industry, a market for new information consumption, a general supporting technology for new infrastructure in other fields and a new engine for digitalization of traditional industries that improves quality and efficiency in traditional infrastructure”.


The theme of LIU Lingling’s speech is “new infrastructure and coordinated development”. LIU holds that although the epidemic has harmed Chinese and global economy badly, people can adopt the “new infrastructure and coordinated development” strategy to turn “challenges” into “chances” in two aspects: first, the policy mix facing the epidemic which should take six “securing X” as the bottom lines, including securing employment, people’s livelihood, enterprises, stable industrial chain supply, food and energy safety and normal function of local governments; second, upgrading traditional industry with new technology in line with local conditions, fostering coordinated economic development with new infrastructure and reducing the gap between urban and rural areas while expanding more room for economic development with the 2.0 version of “China western development”, “revitalize northeast China”, “rural vitalization” and “new urbanization” strategies while strengthening the four weak links.


XU Xin’s speech was themed “Financial technology: monopolistic innovation”, in which he stated that current analysis of Fin-tech has mostly focused on understanding its development from either financial or technological perspectives, while regarding Fin-tech as an integrated ecosystem can leads to better and easier understanding of products such as PayPal, Wechat Pay and Alipay that has gained monopoly in financial markets. To illustrate the point, he proposes the concept of “monopolistic innovation” which, comparing to disruptive innovation, emphasizes more on actual result, bases on consensus, is promoted by business logic and integrates IP in data and algorithm. Xu pointed out that “monopolistic innovation” does not encourage monopoly or deprive small companies and individuals’ opportunities for innovation. Rather, requiring policy makers to establish an efficient innovation ecosystem, the concept is proposed to draw more attention to a responsible, transparent and impartial AI that secure people’s autonomy.


On the theme of “fostering 5G network construction”, WANG jianzhou pointed out two keys of 5G development, including mass coverage of 5G network and practical 5G application. He proposed three suggestions on how to realize mass coverage of 5G network while minimizing construction cost: first, to strongly support telecom operators to build and share 5G network; second, to reduce energy consumption index of base stations by improving technology and to adopt 5G preferential electricity price to reduce 5G operation cost; and third, to explore the possibilities for enterprises to participate in 5G network construction. He also stated four suggestions on how to seize the opportunities for innovation brought by 5G: first, to encourage entrepreneurs and investors to participate in the development of 5G application; second, to seize the initiative in 5G market in its innovative application from 0 to 1; third, to redefine mobile phone by extending its function; and fourth, to give full play to the advantages of Chinese 5G manufacturing industry as well as to emphasize on weak links existing in core components, key equipment, basic materials, smart phone operating systems, etc.


As a constructor for new infrastructure and a representative entrepreneur from Hubei Province, TONG Guohua has illustrated how should small and medium-sized enterprises face the epidemic from three perspectives including the coronavirus epidemic’s influence on Chinese economy, the deepened cognition of small and medium-sized enterprises’ development during epidemic and the solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises to find opportunities in the crisis. He pointed out that firm confidence is the first prerequisite for enterprises to turn crises into opportunities, the “survival” of the enterprise is the overriding goal, focusing on the major breakthroughs is the basis of success, the "combination of Chinese and western" is an efficient means and exploring the blue sea is a guarantee for growth against the trend. Small and medium-sized enterprises should find their correct position, base themselves on actual situation of enterprises and industries, consider market demand and not follow the trend of new infrastructure blindly. He pointed out that enterprises should find four strategic “points/spot”: first, the "breakpoint" in the industrial chain; second, the "weak point" in technology; third, the "blind spot" in the market chain; and fourth, the "new point" in the service chain. Tactically, companies should stick to four "must": first, they must continue to innovate; second, they must open up channels; third, they must provide differentiated services; and fourth, they must improve management.


In his closing address, CHEN Jin extended the theme of forum from “new infrastructure” to “new economy”, looking into the relationship between technological innovation and new economy in the future with the title “Technological innovation and new economy”. Chen pointed out that new infrastructure will significantly promote the development of digital China, which will promote China's development in the following four aspects: urban modernization, high-end manufacture, modern agriculture, and an efficient innovation and entrepreneurship platform. In the hope of mutual encouragement with all the guests and alumni present, he quoted a famous prediction by the British historian Toynbee holding that the next country with global influence is neither a western country nor a westernized country but China. CHEN hopes that, during the epidemic period, people can strengthen self-improvement and enhance the cooperation among the government, enterprises and universities, making contribution to the final victory in the fight against the epidemic and to China's transition from a well-off society to a modern socialist power.