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BEYOND Expo 2024 gets underway

The tech and innovation conference focuses on cutting edge technology from Asia, with a particular emphasis on healthcare, climate tech and consumer tech
  • In opening remarks, founder Jason Ho said ‘with the right mindset,’ economic and geopolitical uncertainties could be overcome




Less than 1 minute Minutes




Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 23 May 2024, 9:07 am

BEYOND Expo 2024, one of Asia’s biggest tech and innovation conferences, returned for its fourth edition this year with an opening ceremony at the Venetian on Wednesday afternoon. 

Taking place over the course of three days, the gathering brings together professionals, entrepreneurs and exhibitors from across Asia to share the latest developments and knowledge in the tech industry. Healthcare, climate tech and consumer tech are areas of particular focus. 

In his opening remarks, co-founder Jason Ho spoke about this year’s theme – embracing economic, geopolitical and technological uncertainty. “With the right mindset, partners [and] strategy,” he said, “we should be able to embrace these uncertainties together.” 

Following his speech, Ho moderated a series of “fireside chats” with top executives from a number of key Asian firms, including Robin Zeng, the CEO of CATL, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of EV batteries. 

[See more: Decoding the software shaping the future at BEYOND]

Ho asked Zeng about the importance of innovation in a highly competitive market. Zeng said his company invested nearly US$2.5 billion in research last year, and mentioned various new battery technologies that his firm was pioneering – including a battery for trucks with a 500-kilometre range and a 15-year lifespan.

Guo Guangchang, the chairman of consumer conglomerate Fosun International, meanwhile spoke about the global business climate, pointing out that Chinese businesses could maintain their “resilience” if  they kept their focus. He said that geopolitics and the rapid advancement of technology would continue to be pressing factors and that it would be important for firms “to learn quickly.”

Other speakers included the UN Coordinator in China, Siddharth Chatterjee, and the chief executive of sustainability nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute, Jon Creyts, who both addressed climate change. 

Creyts encouraged China, the US and the EU to cooperate on the climate change issue and praised the world’s second most populous country for taking “an amazing early leadership position.” 

[See more: The GBA leads the rest of China when it comes to new inventions]

Chatterjee concurred about the importance of multilateralism, pointing out that “we will need the leadership of China, the leadership of the US [and] the leadership of the EU all coming together” to overcome the climate crisis. He highlighted the need to develop a carbon capture system for the world and emphasised that “that is one place that we are way behind.” 

Liu Qingfeng, the chairman of voice recognition software firm iFlytek; Xu Bing, the co-founder of AI software developer SenseTime; and Zhang Wen, the CEO of semiconductor designer Biren Technology, spoke during the penultimate discussion about AI. 

Ho asked the speakers about the difference between the AI industries of China and the US. Liu acknowledged that the US’s AI research and market were much more advanced than China’s, however, he said that in terms of training of AI systems, China was only around 6 months behind the US. 

He also said that large American firms were more inclusive towards AI start-ups than their Chinese counterparts. 

Xu, meanwhile, said that the biggest difference was in terms of the capabilities of graphics processing units, with America ahead of China by many orders of magnitude, although he was confident the latter would be able to narrow the gap. 

[See more: Here are five autonomous vehicles ready to transport you into the future]

“We might be lagging behind in the market [compared to the US], but our advantage is our very competitive environment,” he pointed out. 

The final fireside chat involved a discussion with the founding and managing partner of venture capital firm HongShan Capital, Neil Shen, who offered tips to firms wanting to expand globally. 

He stressed the importance of cultivating a global talent base while building a local ecosystem, and said that understanding the local business environment was “very important.” 

Shen also spoke about academics who wanted to put their theories into practice and break into the tech business. He said that often these researchers marketed their products as though they were writing a research paper and pointed out that “in most cases [90 to 95 percent]…the scientists themselves are probably not the best choice for CEOs.” 

BEYOND Expo 2024 is taking place at the Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre from 22 to 25 May.

UPDATED: 23 May 2024, 9:07 am

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