Dr. David Gonsalvez at Economist Innovation Summit

03 Oct 17

Economist Innovation Summit 2017

Dr. David Gonsalvez attended the Economist Innovation Summit in Hong Kong on September 21, 2017. He strongly recommends the event!

Brief Notes:

The Economist Innovation Summit held in Hong Kong On September 21, with innovative and varied formats (from an Oxbridge style debate to an entrepreneurship competition) and interesting speakers, resulted in an informative, thought-provoking, and enjoyable day. If you have a chance take time out from your busy schedule and go to one of the Economist Innovation Summits – I think you will enjoy it!

The highlight of the day for me was the debate on the topic “Asia not America will be the winner in a drawbridge up world”. On the protagonist side were Fanny and William and their opponents were Gordon and Edward.

Fanny Law Fan Chiu Fun started off with the argument that China is rapidly becoming innovative and pointed to significant advances in computing and high speed rail to buttress her case. She also pointed to the One Belt One Road initiative and President Ji’s recent calls that China is truly becoming the representative for free trade.

Gordon Orr counterpunched with the argument that “drawbridge up” would result in capital flow back to America and provide capital to American companies for innovation investment. His contention was that Chinese innovation is limited to a few shining stars while the bulk of the companies there are still mired down in inefficiency and protectionism.

William Fung focused on the growth rate and the potential of Asian markets stating that ultimately innovation goes where the growth is and Asia is where the growing markets are!

Edward Tse took the line that intellectual capital still resides in America and its universities are still attracting the best and the brightest from across the globe.

I cannot do justification to the enthusiasm and passion of the participants and the moderator with my words so if you get a chance, watch the video!

While most of the audience leaned towards the protagonist side by almost a 4 to 1 ratio, I wasn’t convinced. My personal feeling (rather than a rationalized proof!) is that real innovation will ultimately be hampered in a controlled economy and hence America will still drive real innovation and not until be challenged by Asia as long as the central hand guides economics and politics in most of Asia! Of course, American innovation leaders will probably cause the lowering of the drawbridge very quickly again no matter what political leaders desire! Raising the drawbridge only results in losers on both sides and therefore it is not about winning but about loss limitation.

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