This is a recap of the TEDxBeijing year-end event that took place yesterday. It was my first attendance at a TEDx event in China and it was superbly organised. The venue was at Mee Park Cafe inside Universal Creative Park, Beijing.

TEDxBeijing 2016 Year-end event

The 300 RMB tickets were almost sold out by the time I purchased my ticket on the evening before the event. Luckily I took the proactive step of contacting the organisers and asking them to reserve a ticket for a fellow TEDx organiser from South Africa.

The venue was packed – always a good sign.

TEDx SPEAKERS HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Rubén Salgado Escudero: It’s always difficult being the opening speaker. Even though there was sound problems, Ruben recovered quickly. His freelance photography from Myanmar was inspired by the impact solar lighting is making in this developing country, the poorest among its South East Asian peers.
  2. Ching Tien: A speaker who packs powerful emotional impact. She runs a charity: Educating Girls of Rural China. During the Cultural Revolution she was sent to Gansu province, in a rural, western part of China. Despite great difficulties, she eventually moved to Canada. It was a little ironic when she quoted Chairman Mao, “Women can hold up half of heaven.”
  3. Greg Smith: He delivered an interesting talk on the pros and cons of building highways. He is the Asia-Pacific lead for the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), a UK-based charity dedicated to creating a world free of high-risk roads.
  4. Hu Weiwei (MoBike): A crowd pleaser for sure. This female entrepreneur shared her passion for encouraging more young people to use bicycles in Beijing and other big cities around China. Ironically, it reminded me of the Katie Melua lyrics, “there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing…”
  5. Saki Chen: This was supposed to be much more exciting as a TEDx Talk. She showed video clips of her in action as the first female-Chinese solo pilot to fly a light aircraft around-the-world. There’s an expression – dynamite comes in small packages – that best describes this young lady.
  6. Qichao Hu: An applied physicist graduate from Harvard. This was a fascinating delivery of a hardcore geek business, i.e. improving battery performance while reducing the size. The potential for providing high altitude wireless Internet through drone technology is astounding. What most impressed me was the developers’ ability to reduce the battery size while doubling the capacity compared with batteries used in the iPhone 6.
  7. Hu Yihan: Another impressive topic, using big data for medical challenges in China and worldwide. There was no mention of privacy concerns during this talk. However, the benefits of the medical advances made in this field may outweigh everything else in the short term.
  8. Yuan Chen: This lady spoke confidently about her work. I did not access the interpretation provided, so I did not get the gist of the topic, except that she has an impressive track record with a Ph.D. and experience in Nigeria and India.
  9. Mario Zaccagnini: What a delightful treat. This food entrepreneur delivered a presentation that I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah would have enjoyed. Since moving to Beijing, he has started several successful restaurant ventures: Eatalia Group (La Dolce Vita, Carpe Diem, Unique), Galleria and Feel Bar.
  10. Chen Xu: the Director of the Greater China Observatory Group, responsible for business development and public relations in the Greater China Region.
  11. Hao Zhou: is the founder and CEO of QuantGroup, a web-based credit scoring and data mining system that assesses risk for large institutions, including the Federal Reserve, totalling hundreds of billions of dollars.

TEDxBeijing 2016 welcome

TEDxBeijing 2016 year-end event at Mee Park

 

 

 

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  • Jim Frechter

    I saw your post about the TEDxBeijing year- end event and was interested in what you wrote about speaker Saki Chen. Did she really present herself as the first Chinese woman to solo around the world in an aircraft during her talk? The reason I ask is that her claim is 100% bogus and the TEDxBeijing organizers to their credit took down her promotional “bio” with the false information as soon as they were notified and investigated, a day or so after the talk. I know that she spoke in Mandarin; I guess it wasn’t translated for the laowai in the audience.

     
    • thomas

      Hi Jim thanks for pointing this out. I am new in Beijing so I’ve never heard of her before. There was a live interpretation available for both languages but I was too lazy to bother. Please tell me who is the first Chinese woman to fly solo around the world and I will update my blog post.

       
  • Jim

    Her name is Julie Wang (王争), Wang Zheng in Mandarin. She’s an accomplished pilot and flight instructor. Have a look here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/aopa-china-honors-julie-wang-130000423.html ; http://www.addisonmagazine.com/2016/10/julie-wang-completes-record-breaking-flight/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Zheng_(pilot). Her flight was the real thing, completely solo the entire 38,500 km, no hired “safety” pilots, no one holding her hand, no excuses, no explanations. She had the chops and cahones to do it the “old fashioned way,” and she did. She totally owned it.