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Aug 28, 2017 @ 04:08 by Alexander Voss

Understanding the power of the Silicon Dragon - Key Insights from the D20 Sino-German Digital Leadership Forum

On July 11th, 300 digital business leaders from China and Germany came together in Hamburg to receive latest insights into digital economy success factors coming from the Silicon Dragon, and what Western businesses can learn from it.

China has become the largest and fastest growing digital market worldwide. Tech and business experts worldwide predict that the ‘Silicon Dragon’ is on its way to become the leading global digital innovation center. 

300 participants - 20 speakers - one day dedicated to the power of the Silicon Dragon

Reason enough to organize the D20 Sino-German Digital Leadership Forum in Hamburg. Built on the success of our INSIDE CHINA SUMMIT events during the last years, it was one immersive day dedicated to the digital power and digital success factors originating in China. The event was hosted by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and worked under the patronage of Olaf Scholz, First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the government of the State of Schleswig-Holstein.

The prominent speaker lineup included top management executives from China’s leading digital companies such as Alibaba Cloud Europe, Alipay, WeDoctor, Netease, Admaster or Didi Chuxing as well as German companies such as Otto Group, Airbus or NXP. They provided insights into latest digital trends and success factors from different industrial sectors. 

“We see a shift from the West to the East. This will transform our whole physical reality in the next 5 to 10 years” (Yuri van Geest, Founder Singularity University in the Netherlands).

Yuri van Geest, Founder of the Singularity University in the Netherlands and author of the bestseller ‘Exponential Organizations’ started the day with an inspiring keynote about China’s rising power as a digital nation. He highlighted the success of exponentially evolving innovations like artificial intelligence, robotics or nanotechnologies – and emphasized the “Made-in-China” effect: He warned Western companies to take advantage of these new technologies and concepts coming from China and establish them into their own organizations – before it is too late.

“In China, pretty much the first ever device to go online is mobile. Many companies grab this opportunity and create innovative ideas to improve the lives of their customers” (Calvin Chan, COO AdMaster).

Calvin Chan, COO at Chinese data company AdMaster, showcased how mobile helps Chinese companies to improve their business. China entirely leapfrogged the desktop computer with a mobile penetration rate of 95 percent by now and a tendency to mobile only. Mobile applications like Tencent’s WeChat, which combines several services like Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, MyTaxi, Lieferando and Tinder into one aggregated platform, are on their winning road through China and starting to expand globally.

Yeming Wang (GM Alibaba Cloud Europe) provided latest insights into the Alibaba Cloud universe.

The market potential of trillion: Big Data, digital healthcare revolutions, ride-sharing innovations and more

China’s digital giants provided insights into latest developments and trends: Yeming Wang, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Europe (the cloud computing arm and business unit of the biggest global e-commerce company Alibaba Group), described the road to a data company based on cloud computing and big data. 

Xiaochun Zhang, Co-Founder of WeDoctor (China’s biggest online healthcare provider) explained how his company revolutionizes the Chinese health sector: App solutions eliminate the waiting queues at health centers, medical resources are balanced and organized till the responsible doctor. “Efficient time management saves every patient 1,5 hours of waiting time”, Zhang explained. 

“The mobility and ride-sharing economy established into an innovation field”, stated Chengjun Pang, Vice President at Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest ride-sharing company that has acquired Uber China last year.  In the past, ride-sharing was imbalanced in demand and supply according to Pang. Today, Didi can precisely forecast local traffic demand, optimize routes and bring chauffeurs and fellow passengers smartly together. 

Ming Shu, Co-Partner at Zheijiang Lingfeng during his presentation at the D20 Forum.

Ming Shu, Co-Partner at Zheijiang Lingfeng, is also working in a dynamic environment. The company is disrupting Consumer Finance and FinTech. “In China, only a few people are supervised by banks. The other 500 million Chinese are using technology driven FinTechs. Their Big Data, artificial intelligence and blockchains could have a market potential of trillion”, Ming Shu claimed.

Sikander Hauser (Head of E-Commerce Business Development EMEA at Alipay.

Besides, cashless lifestyle is at the top of the Chinese consumer’s agenda. “Whoever needs a hotel room in China can book one without prepayment, depending on his creditworthiness”, Sikander Hauser said. The Head of E-Commerce Business Development EMEA at Alipay explained, that this procedure reduces the handling time at the self-check-in from two minutes to ten seconds. “This enhances the user experience greatly”, Sikander Hauser summed up. 

How Germany flies with the dragon: Solutions “Made in Germany” and trustful relationships

Meanwhile, German companies are also preparing themselves for the new digital era: Marc Opelt, Member of the OTTO Management Board, stated that OTTO builds their own integrated digital platform solution which gives business partners the opportunity to benefit from the massive B2C range of the company. Wolfgang Rosenbauer, Generalrepresentative at NXP Semiconductors, emphasized the slogan “Made in Germany”. Since the car of tomorrow is based on electronic devices by more than 90 percent, this aspect seems essential. 

Alexander Brand, CEO at, aims at Chinese families as a target group and provided insights into the success factors of conquering the Chinese market. “A rising birth rate and middle class cater for a higher demand for high quality products made in Germany”, Brand stated. Correspondingly, disperses its product palette  through its own Chinese website, holds a call center in Vietnam as well as an online shop on Tmall, the online warehouse of Alibaba.

Summary panel discussion during the D20 Forum.

“Together, we can be more much more efficient. It is crucial to understand Chinese digital success factors and to test own opportunities” (Olaf Rotax, Managing Director dgroup/Accenture).

In summary, all representatives of Chinese and German companies discussed about synergies and cross-border opportunities to lead the digital silk road to success. “We must not mistake China as the export country for German goods”, Olaf Rotax, Managing Director at dgroup/Accenture, emphasized during the summary panel discussion. It is much more vital to understand the Chinese market and its fast stages of development and to test own opportunities. Those who transfer the exponential evolutions to the own company and understand disruptive phenomena have enormous opportunities with Chinese partners. “Together, we can be much more efficient”, Olaf Rotax predicted. 

If you want to learn more about our Digital Insider events and digital success factors originating in China, feel free to contact us.

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