Expats witness China’s changes

China Daily event

On 12 December 2018 China Daily organized an event in The Bookworm “Expats witness China’s changes”, as China celebrates the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up. China Daily website invited over 30 foreigners to share their stories and insights.
The China Daily online article: https://enapp.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201812/14/AP5c132630a310475542874c93.html

See here the PDF of the article: 181212 CDBookworm

The program and guests:
For the full program see here: 181212 ProgramBookworm

Main speakers:

  • Zhang Chunyan, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily Website
  • Laurence Brahm
  • David Bartosch
  • Gilbert Van Kerckhove
  • Alex Chan
  • Hujjatullah Zia
  • Jocelyn Eikenburg
  • Bruce Connolly

Gilbert talking

The official topic and introduction:
2008 it’s an important year for China as Beijing held the Olympics successfully. To many who have watched or attended the Beijing Olympics did have great memory on it, some even remark it was transformative for the city and country. For our next speaker Mr. Gilbert Van Kerckhove, he was deeply involved in the preparation of the Beijing Olympics. He acted as a bridge between the Chinese administration and foreign governments, embassies and chambers of commerce during China’s preparation for the Olympics. Due to his achievements, he was honored with the China Friendship Award, and he was offered a Chinese “green card” in 2008. Now, we have Mr. Gilbert Van Kerckhove to share his 38 years experience during his stay in China.

The report from China Daily:
Gilbert Van Kerckhove is one of the earliest foreign business people to venture into China after its reform and opening-up. The 70-year-old Belgian business strategist has not only witnessed, but also played an important part in the country’s tremendous transformation over the decades.
In 2008, as Beijing prepared for the Olympic Games, Van Kerckhove acted as a coordinator between the Chinese administration and foreign governments, embassies and chambers of commerce.
Looking back on his memorable experiences of the 2008 Olympics, Van Kerckhove summarized the whole complicated effort in one sentence: “It was not only me — it was teamwork. It also illustrates that we foreigners can contribute to this country.”
Living in China for 38 years, Gilbert Van Kerckhove witnessed China’s great transformation. “In this respect, China has being pretty much planning ahead and being very forward-looking,” he said.
Due to his great achievements, he was honored with the China Friendship Award in 2005, and he was offered a Chinese “green card” in 2008.

Meeting friends

Was good to meet some friends who were there as speakers or VIP guests:
Laurence Brahm, David Bartosch, Bruce Connolly and Emanuele  Francia.

See here the pics, mostly from China Daily, others from friends and myself.

Kingston Business School China Tour

EMBA group of 32

The Kingston Business School China Tour visited Shanghai and Beijing for their Global Immersion Program, 1 to 9 May 2019.
This study tour exposed participants to the economic, financial, social and cultural issues in the country, giving them the opportunity to understand their economy and society and provides them with an insight into how to do business in China, considerations and the opportunities. It also provided exposure into some of the top companies in the world with unique perspectives on how they develop strategies within these peculiar and complex business environments.

Kingston Business School is a business school located in London, United Kingdom and a part of Kingston University. It counts 4,424 students.
See: Kingston Business School


On Monday 6 May Gilbert talked to the group for about 2 hours, including Q&A.
Location was 21st Century International School, arranged through UWEE. The school is really impressive and we could use their modern library hall.

The topic was the usual introduction of China today, “A(nother) view on China”.

Wagner Group Sport Seminar

Wagner Sport Management

On 15 March 2019 a Wagner Group Sport Seminar, one of the regular Wagner groups of EMBA in sports, with 4 professional sport managers from Holland; Chinese students and professors from the University also listened and asked many questions in the Q&A.

Location was Beijing Sport University in Haidian. Organizer Prof. drs. Philip Wagner.
Topic: “A(nother) view on China – Sport in China – China’s challenges”
The talk included details on the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, sports in China (soccer, skiing, ice skating, and more). Duration of some 90 minutes.

Hotpot dinner

After the talk we had a hotpot dinner in the well-known Haidilao Restaurant, in the nearby Hualian Mall. With lots of beer!
This time I was assaulted by noodles!

Wagner Group in a tea house

Wagner Group Holland

Again a small EMBA delegation, organized by the Wagner Group in a tea house: “Yue Xi Xiang Lin”, on 18 October 2018. Good to see again Prof. drs. Philip Wagner.
Wagner Group, see https://www.wagner.nl/
Focus was on food, agriculture, retail and hospitality.

Gilbert’s talk

The title of the presentation was “A(nother) view on China – Challenges” and also covered the above-mentioned. Duration around 90 minutes.

Speaking to Dutch, US and UK MBA

Wagner Executive MBA Sport Management (The Netherlands)

Speaking to Dutch, US and UK MBA this year, see here first our Dutch group. The MBA group visits China about twice a year.
Twelve participants from the Wagner Executive MBA Sport Management – sports managers, led by Prof. drs. Philip Wagner.
As usual, seminar done in Duge Boutique Hotel, on Friday 17 March 2017, duration of about two hours including Q&A.
Theme: A(nother) view on China – Sport in China – China’s challenges

Westfield University

Westfield University (Massachusetts, USA). Group of 15 undergraduate students (International Business) with two professors.
Duration: well over 2 hours with a lively Q&A.
Organized by The China Guide, in the VIP room of Legend Beer (Gongti Xi Lu) on 1 June 2017.
Theme: A(nother) view on China – China’s challenges

Cass Business School (London)

Cass is a regular, usually visiting in summer. On Friday 14 July I talked to a group of about fifty EMBAs, in the Regent Beijing Hotel (Jinbao Street). Duration: about two hours including Q&A.
Organized by Legacy Ventures London, see www.legacy-ventures.com. We work together since many years.
Group led by Dr. Alessandro Giudici, Lecturer in Management, Cass Business School.
Theme: A(nother) view on China – China’s challenges

Along the usual introduction on China, also this:
How is policy formed in China? How are government policies created and which stakeholders are more likely to be involved in its creation? To which stakeholders is the government more likely to be “sensitive”? The underlying big questions: how predictable are Chinese policies and Chinese policy shifts? What direction are they likely to take?
I was lucky that day for two reasons: I managed to go and return without the forecast of thunderstorms. And being so early I had the time to solve an unexpected problem: I did not have a connector for HDMI… The hotel did solve it!