First Day - Bridge climbing and leading innovation!

Fresh from an early morning Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb - and in some cases only a few hours into their first ever visit to Australia, CAMP delegates joined around 900 other audience members at Sydney Town Hall for our opening event, Leading Innovation in the Asian century. Juanita Truong brings you the highlights of the opening event. 

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After a welcome to country by Aunty Ann Weldon from the Wiradjuri Nation and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Hon. Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events welcomed all of the delegates to Sydney, saying "I am looking forward to what comes out of the Summit."

"I am looking forward to the leadership and culture between young people who are prepared to go just a little further to come together and make the relationship between China and Australia better than what it is today for a better world tomorrow."

This sentiment was also reflected in Minister Councillor for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Huang Rengang’s address.

"I think the introduction of CAMP will create more opportunities for two sides to encourage innovation and more business alternatives in the future"

The CAMP Summit Opening aimed to provide delegates from both nations insights into the endless opportunities for innovation in the Asian Century. Both keynote speakers - CEO of CAMP, Andrea Myles and founder of Geek Park, Jack Zhang - shared their vision for a future involving the long-lasting collaboration and friendship between Australia and China.

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In order to unlock the potential of the Asian Century, Andrea said CAMP was created to establish a Australia-China dream where young people are the driving force for a better future. 

She said, “Young people are equipped to understand immense changes taking place in the world and offer new solutions to the entrenched and emerging problems. People wanted to see greater equality and more meaningful interaction between people in Australia and China.  So that is what we built. It is a snapshot of the future, today.”

Mr Zhang established Geek Park, a start-up company that helped bring about geek culture in China. The emergence of geek culture has had major impacts on social progress driven by cultural thinking and technological innovation. In 2010, Geek Park meet ups would only have about 50 people attending. Fast forward this to 2015, and over 1000 geeks attend each meet up.

He said, “The definition of geek in China has transformed. It has gone from being a sub-culture to becoming accepted into mainstream culture.

"Right now, there is 'geek fever' in China where many people want to become a geek.”

Mr Zhang said this 'geek fever' is due to the combination of the strong Chinese economy boom and the technological revolution in recent decades. He hopes that geek culture will help China be more open and connected in the future.

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The last part of the summit opening involved an engaging panel discussion moderated by global strategist Holly Ransom. The panel consisted of the General Manager and Head of greater China for Westpac, Andy Whitford; founder of Pozible, Rick Chen and founder and managing director of Spark Corporation, Jean Dong.

With China being Australia’s largest trading partner as well as the largest trading partner to 124 other countries, Andy Whitford suggested that in order for Australia to compete within the global innovation landscape, it needs to engage with the service sector alongside China.

He said, “As the Chinese economy significantly changes, the demand for services is going to be greater and greater. Australia has been given a fantastic platform to grow and develop our services sector through the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.”

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Jean Dong said it was important to consider how the Australian industry can adapt and respond quickly to the new change, strategies and thinking. 

“We need to think about how we can increase people connection and increase our understanding of the Chinese culture and language.”

Rick Chen’s advice to young Aussie entrepreneurs is to respect the Chinese culture and market. "You need to build the product for the Chinese market. Build the product for people there."

At the conclusion of the opening of the CAMP summit, it is clear to see there is a need for Australia and China to continue to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Over the next 5 days, the delegates will have a safe, fun platform to share creative ideas and develop long-lasting bilateral friendships for future collaboration. Bring it on!

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