WEF China 2016
Annual Meeting of the New Champions
The contribution of technology to the transformation of daily life was the focus of this year’s World Economic Forum “Annual Meeting of the New Champions” in China, although fast-moving events in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote partially altered the meeting schedule.
More than 2,000 political and corporate leaders from more than 90 countries joined FTI’s Paul Marriott, Chairman of Asia, Strategic Communications, Hong Kong, and Pui Shan Lee, Senior Director, Strategic Communications in Shanghai, at the meeting in Tianjin.
The grand title for the Tianjin WEF was the “Fourth Industrial Revolution and its Transformational Impact”, and the event was intended to spotlight innovation and how technology is transforming the way we live, work and play. In the end, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, announced the Friday before WEF began, partially overshadowed events.
As delegates gathered at the state-of-the-art Meijang Convention Center on Sunday, news screens were flashing headlines about British politicians jumping ship, sterling in freefall and many Brexit voters wishing they had made a different decision.
There was much discussion and uncertainty on the significance of the vote, whether it would actually lead to Brexit in the end and how the UK’s relationship with the EU was likely to evolve.
Many executives from Chinese and Japanese companies were completely blindsided by the result and said it would likely have a profound impact on their investment decisions moving forward.