On Wednesday, BEYOND Expo 2022, co-hosted by Technode, opened online in the BEYOND Metaverse. The expo will run until September 27 and this year will focus on healthcare technology, sustainability technology, consumer technology, global investment and Web 3.
The opening remarks featured seven top tech leaders and investors who shared insights on future focus points for China’s tech sector in climate technology, health technology and attracting top investors.
Please find below selected quotes from the opening day speeches. The text has been condensed and edited for clarity:
Technology and investments to support carbon neutrality
Zeng Yuqun, founding chairman of CATL
Environmental degradation is putting unprecedented pressure on humans and our planet. Disasters caused by climate change threaten human survival and health. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every citizen of the earth to make no effort to reduce carbon emissions.
The new energy industry must work hard on two fronts. One is that the products must be perfect so consumers can definitely use them; Another is to protect the environment, batteries should be low carbon for consumers.
CATL has been making efforts in these two directions for a long time. Our extreme manufacturing capabilities have reduced the defect rate of battery products from one million to one billion by improving the PPM to PPB level. Our Ninde manufacturing base has become the only lighting factory in the battery industry recognized by the World Economic Forum. Our Yibin production base has achieved carbon neutrality by 2021, becoming the world’s first zero-carbon battery factory.
Zhang Li, founder and CEO of Hillhouse Capital
We see more and more people paying more attention to long-term development, climate change and social responsibility. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has become a definite future. According to data statistics, in 2020 the global ESG investment scale will reach around 100 trillion dollars, which is a 14-fold increase compared to 2006.
Institutional investors can take ESG into account during the management of the investment process and the selection of investment targets, and by self-building capacity building and investment cooperation, especially digital capacity, ESG infrastructure can be built in the investment ecosystem and sustainable database.
We can introduce a digitized ESG performance system for many corporate investors, which will help relevant corporate investors collect their ESG information and conduct industry benchmarking. Therefore, by allowing investors to collect and store information, an information disclosure system that meets international standards will be established for investors that lay the foundation for sustainable development.
Chairman and President of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Zheng Shuen
Urban and rural construction is one of the major areas of carbon emissions, and effectively reducing the carbon emissions of the entire industrial chain in the construction field is an important link in achieving the “double carbon” goal.
We adhere to the concept of “ecological priority and green development” deeply integrated in the investment, planning, design, construction and operation process.
We have designed and led more than 10 national and industrial green building standards, participated in the drafting of several policy documents, and developed a series of innovative products such as ultra-low energy consumption and zero carbon buildings. By introducing more than 100 green construction technologies into the industry, we strongly promote the reduction of construction waste emissions and resource utilization, and basically provide the ability to implement the entire industrial chain of technology research and development system covering the entire construction process.
New frontiers in health technology
Alan Gabor, President of Merck China and Executive Vice President of Merck Electronics
AI has the potential to accelerate the discovery of next-generation drugs and therapies. This is very exciting, because it holds the promise of more personalized and targeted therapies, which can make them more effective and accessible to patients.
The natural and engineering sciences are rapidly converging in our efforts to better understand human health and disease—such as anatomy, cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, immunology, mathematics, statistics, and bioinformatics.
All this interdisciplinarity leads to the creation of huge data sets, which makes AI extremely helpful for biomedical science and the development of new medical technologies that are currently emerging.
Dr. Roger Kornberg, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The top three long-term challenges in public health are developing better drugs at lower cost faster, preparing for future pandemics, and preventing disease.
The best approach to drug development involves an expensive and laborious solution. Advanced computing could change that. The quantum mechanical calculation method is fast enough and achieves the desired accuracy.
The solution to the second pandemic disease preparedness comes from RNAi therapy. I’m not talking about making messenger RNA vaccines, but rather, RNA molecules 100 to 1,000 times smaller, only 20 to 25 RNA constructs or nucleotides.
Small interfering RNA drugs are not only therapeutic but also preventive. They are prophylactic. They protect an individual from disease except for a period of weeks. This is an obvious solution, not only for the problem of preparedness for future epidemics, but also for viral diseases in general and many other situations. This is an amazing new approach that is just starting to be implemented.
Financialization of higher education innovation and technological disruption
Shi Yigong, president of Westlake University and a scholar of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
China has become a superpower in technology, higher education and talent development, and is well on its way to becoming a world power, but we have not become a superpower or a world power in innovation. We still have a long way to go.
There are problems in higher education in our country. We have a high level of education. We generally follow general and comprehensive education but have no significant advantages or special features. We emphasize knowledge and practicality, but there is still a gap between us and other countries when it comes to innovation. We’ve developed generic skills rather than excellent and creative ones.
Therefore, China’s future development can only depend on a development strategy based on high-level leadership and innovation. And they are the main talents of this strategy. We are talking about top talent not only in basic research, applied research, cutting edge technology and cutting edge research, but top talent in every field, every sector, from law to finance. , to social management, to national management. I think the top talent in a country’s high-level leadership and innovation-based development strategy will be the most important thing.
Charles Lee, Chairman and Founder of MicroConnect
I have been in finance for over 25 years now, including 11 years on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. And I think that experience gave me a great understanding of how the financial system works in our economy and society.
I think the modern Wall Street model, which has worked brilliantly for over 100 years, works for the industrial age because the bottom line of the economy is so opaque and so hard to gather information that you need a centralized, institutionalized one. Wall Street is professionally managed by organizing everything together so that information can be found, prices can be found, and performance can be presented in a traditional financial market format.
And now I believe we are entering an era of fundamental disruption in financial services as well. Because, at least today, China’s entire economy is largely cashless. What this means is that most financial transactions in China are completely digital at the least commercial level, which means they are completely transparent. As the digitalization of businesses at the grassroots level becomes transparent and digitized, the question is still, should we force the little guys to organize themselves into big corporations?
Millions never will.