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Sunday, April 26, 2020

INNOVATEChina Goes Virtual

April 26, 2020. Shanghai – Livestreamed for the very first time in its history, INNOVATEChina 2020 was held today as MBA teams from around the world gathered online to compete for the $10,000 annual prize. This year’s theme of ‘Connectivity for the Future’ highlighted the impact that cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, IoT and AI will have on the world around us.

After months of preparation and some intense battle on the day of the event between teams from NUS, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the University of North Carolina (UNC), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), CEIBS and the University of California-Irvine (UCI), HKUST was crowned the winner of INNOVATEChina 2020.

This year’s competition was judged by a panel of executives, including Dr. Terry Wang, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at CEIBS; Ms. Katrina Lv, Managing Partner of Shanghai Office at McKinsey & Company; Mr. Andreas Brandt, Vice President of Global Marketing for Polycarbonate Business Unit at Covestro; Mr. Chun Yang, Senior Director at vivo; Mr. Minjun Liang, Venture Partner at ATM Capital and Mr. David Gao, Co-Founder and COO of Orange Dental.

CEIBS Vice President and Dean Ding Yuan kicked off today’s event by introducing this year’s theme and the six finalist teams who were shortlisted from 35 applications. In their keynote speeches, members of the judging panel Andreas Brandt and Chun Yang talked about the importance and impact that the development of technologies such as 5G and IoT are having on their industries, and how the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are becoming increasingly blurred. They stressed the importance of constant innovation for survival during tough times and future growth.

The competition then moved on to the presentations from each finalist team on their business ideas and gruelling Q&A sessions with the judges. Team Innotribe from NUS introduced AI-powered smart glasses that would help autistic children recognise conversations and emotions while team Point from HKUST proposed a fitness tracking system that could provide live health updates during any physical activity and prevent any damage from overtraining. CMU’s team Little Moochi offered an AI-powered interactive application that can help improve eating habits in children and Team UNC Japan presented Happy Puppy, a mobile app backed by AI and big data that provides convenient tools to tracks your dog’s health and make medical suggestions. The final two teams were Team Eureka from UCI, who developed an O2O platform based on 5G and augmented reality to address the retail problems, and the team from CEIBS, who came up with EZClinica, a clinical trial patient recruitment platform in China.

The team presentations round were separated by a panel discussion between Andreas Brandt, Chun Yang, and Dong Wang from teamLab. Andreas discussed the impact of 5G on the evolution of material science and product development, as well as the importance of a circular economy. Chun offered his views on how vivo is at the forefront of harnessing the power of 5G and how such a technology could change our daily lives. Dong gave his opinion on how improvements in technology can also have a significant impact on an artistic company such as teamLab.

The evening was perfectly capped off by a short address by Dr. Jonathan Woetzel, Senior Partner & Director of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), who gave a keynote speech on the future of the connected world. He shared his valuable insights on how existing models of communication can be made more affordable and scaled while new frontier technologies, such as millimetre waves and low earth orbit constellation, will help us connect to remote areas and improve global coverage. Jonathan went on to discuss the challenges of overcoming disparity in incomes, urbanisation, and infrastructure to ensure that everyone in the world can get connected at the same time. He also gave specific examples of how connectivity will change the mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail sectors.

The format of this year’s event dovetailed perfectly into the theme of INNOVATEChina 2020, and the quality and intensity of the finalist teams made this an event to remember. All finalist business ideas have great potential, and we at INNOVATEChina are excited to see these ideas take shape and scale into companies that redefine the meaning of connectivity in the future.

Twyla Zhang MBA 2021
Michael Thede