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Asia’s tech community convenes in Macao for BEYOND 2023

The three-day event features hundreds of speakers and exhibitors at the intersection of technology and the healthcare, sustainability and consumer sectors.

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The three-day event features hundreds of speakers and exhibitors at the intersection of technology and the healthcare, sustainability and consumer sectors.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:34 pm

The BEYOND International Technology and Innovation Expo 2023 opened at The Venetian Macao on Wednesday morning, offering delegates a packed three-day agenda that includes hundreds of speakers, panellists and exhibitors in the fields of sustainability, healthcare and consumer technology.

In his opening remarks, BEYOND co-founder Jason Ho said “We believe that BEYOND is a platform where we can all gather new friends, old friends, and potential partners”, referring to Macao “as the bridge between Asian countries and the rest of the world”. 

The purpose of BEYOND, he said, was “to go beyond technology” to “where we believe technology should tackle and solve global challenges”.

He was followed on the rostrum by Macao’s Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, who told the hundreds-strong audience of business leaders, academics and senior technology professionals that “Macao has good results in the area of technology and innovation” thanks to “effort from the industry and support from the country”. 

Macao’s top official added that “Innovation and technology have become the brand new name card of Macao”. 

Governor of Guangdong Province Wang Weizhong echoed these themes in his address to the gathering, and looked at the broader context of technology in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). President Xi Jinping, he said, had emphasised the GBA’s role as “the new driving force in the development of this region” and said that it was “important to attract talent from around the globe”.

[See more: How local researchers have taken the lead in Macao’s sustainability movement]

BEYOND 2023: Addressing new challenges

The BEYOND Expo 2023 is the third iteration of the conference, which is fast becoming a can’t-miss event on the Asian tech calendar.

The staging of the event in Macao comes as the territory launches a bid to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on gaming in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the tourism sector took a massive hit. 

Liqun Jin, president and chair of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, told delegates this morning that “the tough situation” Macao faced during Covid “could be regarded as a blessing in disguise, because Macao has doubled down in its efforts to diversify and is on a course of more sustainable development.”

In March, Macao’s chief executive called for the development of technology as one of four new industries to buttress the main economic pillar of tourism, with the government making 470 million patacas available to fund eligible research projects in 2023.

The shift of technological innovation to Asia from the West was meanwhile addressed by Andrew Sheng, chief advisor to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. “For 500 years, the world has been dominated by the west”, he said at today’s gathering. “Today, that paradigm is shaken.” 

Sheng pointed out that the ASEAN nations alone comprised 700 million people. “That’s half the population of China, half the size of India, half the geographic size of China and growing at five to six percent per year”. The challenge [of technology], he said, was to “educate the masses to understand the new challenges of the world – not the elite, the masses”.

Other speakers at the opening ceremony included Kishore Mahbubani, the former president of the United Nations Security Council, and Joe Tsai, executive vice-chairman of the Alibaba Group.

Mahbubani told delegates that the world was “psychologically prepared” for “an Asian century”, in which “science and technology will continue to develop and strengthen”. However, he warned the audience about the impact of Sino-US superpower rivalry and climate change. “It’s real, it’s accelerating”, he said.

Meanwhile, Tsai touched on the role of AI, particularly in the realm of entertainment, and wowed the audience with videos of “meta humans” – hyper-realistic avatars that had been generated by Alibaba Digital Media. 

AI, he said, can now “generate content just like a human brain, actively generating new information, new content”. At the same time, he reminded the audience that core values remained important in the digital era.

“I think having a spiritual well-being is very important in terms of the whole consumption economy” he said.

The mission of BEYOND Expo 2023 is to “encourage exchanges of ideas” and “promote comprehensive industrial upgrading, development, and transformation, for a better global innovation ecology”.

The event is being held from 10-12 May at The Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

With reporting by Vanesse Chan


Macao News is an official Macao media partner of BEYOND Expo 2023.

 

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:34 pm

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