Prof. Dr. Taco C.R. van Someren in our Rotary lunch

Author van Someren, from The Netherlands, was the speaker on 8 October in our Beijing Rotary Club. His speech was pretty interesting and received a lot of attention from our members.

Prof. Dr Taco van Someren is the founder of Ynnovate, see see and this introduction:
“He is an expert in strategic innovation and China business development specialized in environment, energy and water sector. He is good at new business development and has an extended experience with cross cultural project management based on his international career at Rothmans International, KPMG, Ynnovate and Universities. He is professor on strategic innovation and sustainability in Chinese and Dutch universities.”
He introduced his book “Green China – Sustainable Growth in East and West”.
The book flyer presents it as follows:

  • Intriguing ideas for dealing with Green China for managers, politicians and academics
  • Unique insight in both Chinese and Western decision making on high level in government and corporations
  • Focus on creation of competitive advantage while dealing with the new trend of green economy and creating new firms and industries
  • Written by authors with experience in academia and industry in China and Europe

“After the agricultural and industrial revolution, China is creating the third growth wave based on sustainability. This greening of the Chinese economy offers threats and opportunities for Western organizations. Getting a piece of this new cake requires strategic innovations in both policy and corporate strategy. Based on the theory of strategic innovation and their extensive practical experiences in doing business with China, the authors propose potential areas and activities for strategic innovation in the West in response to Green China.
As my own book “Toxic Capitalism” also addresses environmental issues (with a focus on the horrors of pollution of China), I listened with interest. His angle is more towards business. As I am a bit cynical on how the Chinese system works, I am still not sure what real opportunities exist for foreign companies and how much they can share of the cake. But for sure, sustainability is high on the Chinese agenda, as I explain in my book, and some foreign companies do have something to offer. See for example the whole story of urbanization, eco-cities and so on. All nice but… as I discussed today in the French Embassy, what in it for us? Companies involved in water treatment and related do have opportunities, just to give one example. But like the e-vehicles, as I commented today, once again foreigners are squeezed out of the real market, not to wonder why sales are not picking up – do not blame only the lack of charging stations.
Checking the price of his (printed) book, a bit on the high side. And a “Printed eBook” available only to apparently a very limited public (at €24.95, name your currency but the amount is always the same!) is also new for me. My e-book: just over US$3. So as a publisher, raise some questions on how they operate.
Prof. van Someren also co-published “Innovative China – Innovation Race Between East and West”, among other works.

James McGregor talking in our Rotary Club

On 24 September 2013 we welcomed James in our Rotary Club of Beijing. Follows his introduction on LinkedIn.
James McGregor is an American author, journalist and businessman who has lived in China for more than 25 years. He is chairman of APCO Worldwide, Greater China and a senior advisor to Pacific Epoch. A professional speaker and commentator who specializes in China’s business, politics and society, he regularly appears in the media to discuss China-related topics. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic.
McGregor is the author of the books “No Ancient Wisdom, No Followers: The Challenges of Chinese Authoritarian Capitalism” (2012) and “One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China” (2005). He also wrote the 2010 report “China’s Drive for ‘Indigenous Innovation’ – A Web of Industrial Policies.”
From 1987 to 1990 McGregor served as The Wall Street Journal’s bureau chief in Taiwan, and from 1990 to 1994 as the paper’s bureau chief in Mainland China. From 1994 to 2000, he was chief executive of Dow Jones & Company in China. After leaving Dow Jones, he was China managing partner for GIV Venture Partners, a $140 million venture capital fund specializing in the Chinese Internet and technology outsourcing.
In 1996, McGregor was elected as chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. He also served for a decade as a governor of that organization. He is a member of the Atlantic Council, Council on Foreign Relations, National Committee on US-China Relations and International Council of the Asia Society. He serves on a variety of China-related advisory boards. He and his family live in Beijing.

James gave an eloquent and nicely packaged overview on the present political and business environment in China. Basically I share nearly all of his views. And oh well, he did not say anything I did not know myself (and also talk about in seminars, even in greater detail). But of course I am not “James McGregor”, I am just modest Gilbert. And as we say in Flemish: “You are never a prophet in your own land”.
He also referred the study “China 2030” that is covered pretty well in my book Toxic Capitalism. And that was written 18 months ago, and now people talk about it.

The Roaring Twenties: our great Rotary Ball

As reported earlier, on 15 June we had our yearly Rotary Ball, in the new Four Seasons Hotel.
We had over 350 guests, lots of fun, a main band and also a Musical Duo, Camille & Arnaud, who performed in the lobby outside – we all loved to sit there and enjoy their great singing.
We had a “Photobooth”, assisted by Rotaract volunteers, the volunteers also went around to sell many raffle tickets. Rotaract got two tables with a nice discount in exchange.

We ourselves had our own table, joined by Peter and his wife; we all had a group picture. Once again I was surrounded by many Chinese ladies (how does that happen?). Happy to have our daughter Valerie at our side, shining as usual.
Also happy to see again the ambassador of Poland and of Benin.

Rotaract Beijing to help in the upcoming Rotary Ball

On 3 June we had our Beijing Rotaract planning meeting, in the usual Brussels Restaurant in Sanlitun. A rather big turnout, see the pics. Always new faces from a variety of different countries. One of the several items discussed is how Rotaract will be assisting the Rotary Club of Beijing for the big event of the year: The Ball, on 15 June in The Four Seasons, see the former post:

Tables for the Ball are nearly all gone and few seats remain.
Rotaract has got two tables and its volunteers will help with the Photo booth and selling raffle tickets.
I am the Rotary Liaison with Rotaract.

Our Rotaract listens to Mike Furst

On Monday 27 May we had our usual Beijing Rotaract evening meeting, in Brussels Restaurant.
We had a number of new faces who turned up to discuss the latest projects of Rotaract, the preparation for the 15 June Rotary Ball and … to listen to our Rotarian Mike Furst.

Mike gave a humorous and rather unexpected ego talk, explaining the many jobs and career changes in his life. You could wonder what job he did not try. A matter of adapting to changes and reinventing yourself. Mike is also well known in Beijing for heading the Amcham for several years. The crowd had many questions so the meeting went a bit over the 9 pm mark.
Thanks Mike! And thanks to Mena for her special pic!