Better collaboration in the field of science and technology innovation to foster closer trade relationships is a priority of officials and executives attending a session on trade and innovation of the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum.
Alibaba founder and Chairman Jack Ma expressed confidence in the role technology would play in promoting trade, and in the younger generation for being innovative and understanding of digital technologies.
Ma urged entrepreneurs around the world to seize the historic opportunity.
“Let other people complain. You should take action to sell to China — online, offline, anyway you can — you just have to do it; years later, you will realize the opportunity,” Ma said.
He added that going to China is a “beautiful but not a smooth road.”
“Nothing can be achieved in one or two years,” he said.
He also described the US-China trade war as a “most stupid thing.”
Former Microsoft Chief Executive and Chairman of Terra Power Group Bill Gates called for better partnerships and more efforts to foster innovation.
The existing partnership between the Gates Foundation and Chinese government institutions cover a wide range of areas in health care and agriculture. Some of them have helped both in imports and exports, Gates said.
“We will continue to invest in new technology that can help support economic development, and hope these would become a model for more international cooperation that improves lives all over the world,” he said.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the country has been nurturing innovative new products to compete at a global scale. It has great growth potential within the framework provided by the Belt and Road Initiative.
Plenkovic also sees “many folds of opportunities” thanks to the intrinsic link between China and central Asian countries to drive innovation and shape global trade.
Malta Prime Minster Joseph Muscat also pointed out that it was important to “open the doors of the world to many small and micro enterprises,” as their nimbleness is the main driver of competitiveness.
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam is also eying new measures to embrace the fourth industrial revolution and provide new momentum for trade development.
She plans to double Hong Kong’s research and development expenditure to 1.5 percent of GDP within five years from the current 0.73 percent.
Hong Kong would also be focusing on innovation and technology for applications in urban management as well as in caring for the elderly.