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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Winners Crowned at INNOVATEChina 2019 Finals

April 27, 2019. Shanghai – More than 500 people gathered at the conference centre at CEIBS Shanghai campus today to take part in the INNOVATEChina 2019 business proposal pitch competition. The event featured six teams from globally-renowned MBA programmes, including CEIBS, ESADE Business School, Ross School of Business at University of Michigan, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, HEC Paris, and HKUST. Each finalist team presented proposals that addressed the theme of today’s competition, ‘Remodelling traditional, upgrading current, and shaping future industries.’ The team from HKUST picked up the USD $5,000 winner’s cheque following scrutiny from judges representing Vivo, ADV Capital, McKinsey & Company, IPV Capital, and CEIBS.

The event was kicked-off with a welcome speech from CEIBS President and Professor of Management Li Mingjun, and was then followed by a keynote presentation from Vivo’s Senior Director of Brand Strategy and CEIBS MBA 2012 alum Seon Hwang.

Representing today’s sponsor, Hwang gave his remarks on the importance of combining trendiness with technology in consumer electronic applications. He highlighted the relatively young demographics of high-end customers in China – in their 30s in China compared with in their 50s in the US. Given such conditions, he showcased how Vivo has risen to become the second largest smartphone company in China selling products that resonate with millennials, through strategic partnerships with events and brands such as the FIFA World Cup, New York Fashion Week, NBA, National Geographic, and MTV. Mr. Hwang closed with his view of the smartphone being at the centre of both the upcoming 5G era and the smart city revolution.

After the keynote presentation, the competition moved immediately into lightning rounds of elevator pitches by the six finalist teams.

  • ESADE proposed an Alzheimer’s/dementia AI monitoring solution, with home video cameras, sensors, and “human-in-the-loop” type nurse visits;

  • Michigan Ross proposed an educational toy subscription, combining an app with physical toys, targeting 3-6 year old girls;

  • CEIBS proposed a custom-made women’s apparel platform, combining a marketplace and content community;

  • CEIBS/Kellogg proposed a pre-college experiential tour for middle school students to eliminate regret when choosing the right major and university;

  • HEC proposed a platform to connect e-bike riders, e-bike shops, and battery recyclers to efficiently recycle lithium and lead acid batteries; and,

  • HKUST proposed a platform that enables farmers to sell produce directly to small medium restaurants and SMEs.

While judges deliberated on the winning proposal, a panel discussion was held to discuss the impact of smart cities and when digital transformation means smarter living. Senior Director & Head of Property Management China at Tishman Speyer Alan To, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company Jonathan Woetzel, Global Head of New Mobility at Covestro Jane Kwok, and Regional Business Manager at Microsoft Michael Chen discussed the rapid urbanisation of China, leading-edge smart city applications, and the importance of bridging functional silos. According to Woetzel, 60-70% of value creation opportunities are estimated to be in areas related to digital and artificial intelligence.

Ultimately, the team from HKUST claimed first prize, with HEC and Michigan Ross finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Although some left with prize money, while others didn't, all of the teams were able to gain valuable feedback from the judges and were sure to leave with inspiration from CEIBS and the greater Shanghai area as an excellent launch pad for innovation.

Warren Lau MBA 2020
Michael Thede