On Thursday, the 16th of November, we attended the Tech London Advocates' Tech World Tour, a grand event held at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The event convened over 800 tech leaders from all over the world to celebrate the official launch of the Global Tech Advocates network founded by tech pioneer Russ Shaw.
John Zai, our Cocoon Networks Founder and CEO, delivered both a keynote speech and joined the panel debate on China’s Technological Revolution. John Zai is himself a Global Tech Advocates leader, having founded Tech Shanghai Advocates, the first Chinese Tech Advocates branch, only last month in Shanghai!
The Global Tech Advocates leads introduce their branches
Global Tech Advocates currently has 8 member branches spread across the world and continues to grow. Following his welcome speech, Russ Shaw, the mastermind behind and founder of both Global Tech Advocates and Tech London Advocates, welcomed the other global founding members Jeanette Carlson of Tech Nordic Advocates, Karena Vughan, Tech Belfast Advocates, Naomi Kimperley of Tech North Advocates, Subhash Ghosh of Tech Singapore Advocates and Teresa Martin of Tech Spain Advocates to the stage. Our Cocoon Networks Founder and CEO John Zai then shared a brief introduction of how he and Russ began collaborating following an amusing chance encounter ("we met on the underground!"), and then shared the highlights of his Tech Shanghai Advocates launch, the celebration of which took place at the China Financial Information Centre in Shanghai last month.
Russ Shaw, Founder of TLA and GTA
Ben Thompson of BBC News hosted the affair and guided the audience through a diverse and dynamic program of keynote speeches, panel discussions and showcases of the world’s leading tech hubs. The event concluded with a networking session.
In his keynote address, John Zai highlighted his motivation for founding both Cocoon Networks and Tech Shanghai Advocates:
"I am the Founder and CEO of Cocoon Networks, the biggest platform connecting UK and Chinese businesses, talent and resources through equity investment and intellectual property liaison. Three weeks ago we launched the newest group of GTA, the Tech Shanghai Advocates. It's a nice story! One day I reconnected with Russ on the underground and we decided to collaborate based on the milestones Cocoon Networks had already achieved. We thought we have to do something to link this fantastic Tech Advocates group with the biggest market in the world, which is China"
The afternoon then comprised of a range of relevant keynotes by investors, entrepreneurs and government representatives, as well as engaging panel discussions. John Zai shared his expertise on the panel debate focusing on China's technological revolution.
China sees significant levels of technology investment from both the public and the private sector and with a market of more than one billion consumers, it is the perfect environment for fast-growth tech firms. However, challenges exist for tech companies establishing commercial relationships with China. The regulatory landscape is complex, changing government rules have restricted Chinese investment outside the country and cultural differences can be intimidating.
Aiming to demystify China's unique tech ecosystem and lay out the opportunities and challenges in the country for tech companies operating in London, this panel was moderated by Koen Vandecaveye from TLA China and further joined by Andrew Davis from InvestHK, Reijo Bold from BBD, Michael K Cheung from Makers Fund.
The panellists provided insights into consumer tech demand and challenges that tech companies face in China. They also gave advice for tech companies looking to operate in China and shared ways to make the expansion into China easier based on the UK-China sandbox model.
Other panel discussions and keynotes addressed The World’s Tech Superhubs, Tech in the Age of Trump, Mapping the Global Tech Ecosystem, India’s role in relation to London’s tech market and the vital question of whether London tech is ready for Post Brexit Britain?
The event was covered by BBC London News and received great journalistic interest from the FT, City AM, Reuters, The Independent, New York Times, UK Tech News and Computer Weekly and the Sunday Times.