May 8, 2019
In the week of April, LEWIS held its third Bay to Bay in the city of Shenzhen, with its sustainability masterplan and proximity to Hong Kong, the city was a perfect backdrop in this discussion of Shenzhen as a home for innovation.
It’s almost been a full year since we announced our APAC 2020 大湾区plan for growth in the region. It is no coincidence that the title for this plan includes the 大湾区 (da wan qu) or ‘China Greater Bay Area’ because we see this cluster of cities as a central part of our success in the region. That’s why Shenzhen, along with Melbourne, was the first set of offices opened as part of our master plan.
So it was with great excitement that we recently held our third session of the Bay to Bay series in the city at the heart of the Greater Bay Area initiative – Shenzhen. Following two fruitful sessions in Hong Kong and San Francisco in 2018, this third forum, themed “Making Shenzhen A Home For Innovation”, explored the business implications of the “Chinese Silicon Valley” Shenzhen, for domestic and global companies alike.
It was fascinating to gather experts and scholars from accelerators, start-ups, technology companies and academia under the same roof to bounce off ideas and discuss what Shenzhen means to them. Here are some of the interesting perspectives from the event:
Panel Discussion 1: Shenzhen – The Future Goldmine of the Greater Bay Area (GBA)
The opening panel featured speakers whose experiences ranged from accelerator programmes, international digital currency and smart mobility with backgrounds spanning the GBA and Silicon Valley. The discussion started off with the vast potential of the GBA presented to businesses from investment, innovation and policy perspectives:
Moving onto discussions around the development of Shenzhen and other cities in the GBA, the panellists unanimously agreed that Shenzhen has undoubtedly emerged as the home of innovation and technology. However, they also had some thoughts about what the city is actually like to live in:
Panel Discussion 2: From Domestic to Globalization
The second session featured experts from the blockchain and supply chain industries discussing where the GBA sits on the global scene. The discussion started off with panellists pointing out that the GDP of the Greater Bay Area has outrun that of San Francisco Bay while falling short of Tokyo and New York Bays. However the GDP per capita of the GBA still falls behind these areas indicating Shenzhen’s massive growth potential.
Of course when we talk about Shenzhen, innovation is an inevitable topic. In terms of the innovation seen in the city, the room was filled with discussion and questions that prompted us to rethink the true meaning of innovation:
Looking at what the GBA can learn from other Bay Areas, the discussion moved towards the unique cultural and social environment that the area encompasses:
Wrapping up the sessions, one of the key learnings is that the GBA is more than a concept, a policy, or a geographical region; it is a global shift in power which cannot be ignored by international and domestic businesses. To those of us in Asia or China, it could also mean changes in daily lives in the tides of this digital era.
If you’ve missed the discussion do not worry, you can read more from our Bay to Bay series of conversations. Stay tuned on our next event in late 2019.