Talking Entrepreneurship With China’s Economic Leaders

On November 10, Wharton students, faculty and staff had the pleasure of being addressed by the China Entrepreneur Club (CEC), a nonprofit launched by 31 of China’s top economic leaders. These emissaries hold a myriad of job descriptions, including entrepreneur, former ambassador and professor.

Together as the CEC, they are devoted to enhancing the role played by Chinese businesses in sustainable development across China and the world.

Five members of the delegation spoke in Huntsman Hall, all in Standard Chinese, highlighting the truly international nature of the talk.

Ambassador Wu Jianmin, the former Chinese ambassador to France and current vice chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, a think tank, discussed the evolution of Chinese economic growth, which, he said, was due directly to the Chinese people’s desire for a better life.

Entrepreneurs Liu Chuanzhi and Xia Hua also spoke.  The chairman and president of Legend Holdings Ltd. and chairman of the board of directors of its well-known, computer-making subsidiary, Lenovo, Liu, presented an analysis of the dramatic growth of Lenovo, despite economic turmoil.

Xia, chairwoman of clothing manufacturer Eve Enterprise Group, argued that her burgeoning enterprise is in part due to her ability to manage “the heart” of the organization and suggested that employees and leaders need to be emotionally committed to the venture.

Finally, two leaders in higher education spoke: Professor of Economics Zhang Weiying of Guanghua School of Management at Peking University and Michael Yu, chairman and CEO of New Oriental Education & Technology Group, a provider of private education.  During his charismatic and crowd-pleasing performance at Wharton, Yu suggested that the next step for Chinese businesses was the creation of recognizable Chinese brand names.

The China Entrepreneur Club wraps up their U.S. tour on November 18, 2011, after nearly two weeks of visits at such institutions as Wharton, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute, Google, Facebook, and members of the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration.

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