This is a recap of the TEDxBeijing year-end event that took place yesterday. It was my first time to attend 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. Luckly 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 and that is always a good.


  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 Maynmar was inspired by the impact Solar lighting is making in this developing country, the poorest among all it’s South East Asian peers.
  2. Ching Tien: Maybe the best speaker, certainly for emotional impact. She runs a charity: Educating Girls of Rural China. During the Cultural revolution she was sent to Gansu province, in rural Western parts of China. She eventually moved to Canada under great difficulty. It was a little ironic when she quoted Chairman Mao, “Women can hold up half of heaven.”
  3. Greg Smith: He delivered an interesting plea on the pro’s and con’s 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 story passion for encouring more young people to use bicyles in Beijing and other big cities around China. Ironically it reminded me the Katie Melua song, “there are 9 million bicyles in Beijing…”
  5. Saki Chen: This was supposed to be much more exciting as a TEDx Talk. She showed some video clips of her around-the-world trip as the first female-Chinese solo flight. There’s an expression, dynamite comes in small packages, that best describes this yougn lady.
  6. Qichao Hu: An applied physicist graduate from Harvard. This was the most interesting topic discussed by all the speakers. This is hardcore geek business i.e. improving battery performance while reducing the size. The application for providing high altitude wireless Internet through drone technology is astounding. What most impressed me was their ability to reduce the batter size while doubling the capacity compared the batteries used in the iPhone 6.
  7. Hu Yihan: Another impressive topic, using big data for medical problems 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 with a lot of confidence about her work. I did not access the interpretation provided, so I did not get the gyst 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 I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah would have enjoyed. Since moving to Beijning he started several successful restaurant ventues: Eatalia Group (La Dolce Vita, Carpe Diem, Unique), Galleria and Feel Bar
  10. Chen Xu: the Director of Greater China Observatory Group and is responsible for the 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, totaling 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: ;; 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.