As the Chinese New Year approaches, we take a look back at highlights from some of the most memorable events and lectures that left an impact on the Penn Wharton China community in 2017.
As the Chinese New Year quickly approaches, Penn Wharton China Center takes a look back at the exciting and eventful year they had in 2017.
The Beijing-based Center hosted more than 100 events — ranging from its Penn Wharton Research Frontier Speaker Series and Penn China Research and Engagement Fund symposiums to alumni receptions and gatherings and lectures featuring industry thought leaders from the U.S. and China.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights.
Click here to read this story in Chinese.

Penn Wharton Research Frontiers Speaker Series

In March 2017, PWCC launched the Penn Wharton Research Frontiers Speaker Series using the Center’s advanced teleconferencing capabilities. Featured faculty called in from Wharton’s Philadelphia campus to talk to PWCC’s audience in Beijing about currently trending research topics.

The Location And Future Of Retail with Wharton Professor David Bell

David Bell Research Frontier Series PWCC

On Feb. 27, Wharton Professor of Marketing David Bell shared his insights on the future of retail with alumni and other attendees at PWCC.

Prof. Bell looked at the evolution of the retail industry, describing the development stages of retail: version 0.0 — brick-and-mortar stores, version 1.0 — Internet stores, and version 2.0 — the integration of online and offline shopping.

Looking ahead to the future of the industry, Prof. Bell argued that location will be key for all versions of retail. His book Location is (Still) Everything: The Surprising Influence of the Real World on How We Search, Shop, and Sell in the Virtual One has been generally recognized as a blockbuster in the new retail era.

Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance with Penn Psychology Professor Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth Telepresence Research at PWCC
Through telepresence from Penn’s Philadelphia campus, Prof. Angela Duckworth talks with an audience in Beijing about how perseverance affects success and how to cultivate this quality.

How do you develop the essential qualities for success? That’s what Penn Psychology Professor Angela Duckworth discussed with an audience at PWCC on Aug. 15.

People pursue success at every stage of their lives — from a toddler taking their first step to an entrepreneur starting their first business. Success is often attributed to a person’s intelligence or power, while perseverance is often overlooked. Su Shi once said, “Since ancient times, people who can achieve great feats must not only have extraordinary talents, but also must have the courage and perseverance to face the problem and solve the problem.”

Prof. Duckworth talked about how perseverance affects success and how to cultivate this quality.

After years of data collection and analysis, she found that while talent remains an important driver of achievement and success, results show that perseverance is another key factor. The professor described perseverance as the passion and the persistence for a long-term goal, arguing that “what you need to do to be successful is deliberate practice.” While this can be a difficult and tedious process, through such practice, people often achieve better results and ultimate success.

“You may not be the most talented person, but by setting a small goal and then continuing to do so, you will eventually achieve the desired success,” Prof. Duckworth said.

Analyzing Biological Structures for Advanced Materials with Penn Engineering Professor Shu Yang

On Dec. 6, Prof. Shu Yang gave a talk about the origins and the potential applications of smart, bio-inspired materials. A Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, she is Director of the Center for Analyzing Evolved Structures as Optimized Products (AESOP): Science and Engineering for the Human Habitat.

Showing photos of the Namib Desert beetle, lotus leaves, cilia, opal, glasswing butterfly, and neon tetra, Prof. Yang looked at how the remarkable optical, mechanical, and surface effects these bio-organisms have developed as part of their evolved strategy to optimize water, heat, and light management to cope in their local habitat. She also analyzed the functions of various micro- and nanostructures from several organisms, including lotus leaves that repel water, gecko foot hairs that can reversibly engage and release from a surface, and Namib Desert beetles using bumpy shells for fog harvesting.

Prof. Yang then explained how her team tries to recreate hierarchical structures through a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches. In doing so, they try to replicate these functions to develop advanced, smart materials that have many potential applications such as building energy-efficient buildings, colorimetric sensing and diagnosis, and biomedical devices.

The Blockchain: A New Architecture of Trust with Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach

Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are rapidly becoming major foundations for innovation and business evolution. As part of the Center’s first event on this topic, PWCC invited Prof. Kevin Werbach, Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at the Wharton School, to give a presentation on how the blockchain operates as a new architecture of trust. The talk provided an introduction to the opportunities that distributed ledgers present as well as the dangers and limitations of the technology in its current state.

Prof. Werbach’s work focuses on emerging technologies in areas such as broadband, blockchain, and big data. He co-led the review of the Federal Communications Commission for the Obama Administration’s Presidential Transition Team, and has served as an expert advisor at both the FCC and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prof. Werbach’s book on this topic, The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust, will soon be published by MIT Press.

Prof. Werbach believes that blockchain technology will be met in the financial landscape with a mix of tremendous excitement and potential legal issues such as fraud — which are common with transformative technologies. A legal mechanism will need to be established to ensure that new and legitimate applications and activities can be successful. How to implement workable governance on the decentralized networks remains a challenge. “The digital revolution needs a trust revolution,” he said.

Penn China Research and Engagement Fund

Launched in March 2015 in conjunction with the opening of the Penn Wharton China Center, the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund is a five-year, $10 million competitive matching program designed to stimulate and support activity in China and engagement with the Penn Wharton China Center.

To date, the Fund has supported 28 projects at a funding level of approximately $5.4 million, with $2.7 million from the Office of the Provost and $2.7 million matched by Penn Schools and Centers and external sources. The Fund supports projects that involve faculty representing all of Penn’s 12 Schools, more than 55 unique Chinese institutional partners, and over 15 organizations from around the globe.

Much of the research falls into five themes, which, in turn, are informing Penn’s ongoing and future engagement in China:

  • health and health care
  • business and political economy
  • innovation and technology
  • urban development
  • media, culture, and humanities

The projects cover a wide range of disciplines and activities, with topics including: integration of East and Southeast Asian economies (Wharton/School of Arts and Sciences), cardiovascular imaging (Perelman School of Medicine), the design and future of cities (PennDesign), efficiency and sustainability in the Chinese pork and dairy industries (Penn Veterinary Medicine), and Chinese media (Annenberg Scheool for Communication).

For more information about these themes and the activities funded by CREF, read the two-year report published by Penn Global in January 2017. Visit the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund page for additional information about the fund and a list of all funded projects.

Symposium on Digital Formations and Chinese Experiences: Creation, Appropriation, and Circulation

Yang PWCC Symposium on Digital Formations
Prof. Yang Guobin and experts from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Communication Studies and the School of Media and International Culture of Zhejiang University discuss digital formations and Chinese experiences.

For the third consecutive year, Penn Wharton China Center hosted a symposium on communications co-hosted by Prof. Yang Guobin from the Annenberg School for Communications at University of Pennsylvania. Held on June 12-13, the symposium is one of the CREF series projects, which are dedicated to promoting the exchange of knowledge and collaboration between the University and China’s universities and academic institutions.

Titled “Digital Formations and Chinese Experiences,” the symposium was jointly organized by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Communication Studies, and the School of Media and International Culture of Zhejiang University. The two-day symposium was divided into five sub-seminars on different topics. More than 10 scholars in the relevant fields from domestic and foreign universities were invited to the seminar.

It is no exaggeration to say that institutions and practices associated with Chinese digital networks have revolutionized numerous cultural, social, political, and commercial norms. Some examples are: online communities, WeChat groups, Weibo Big V’s, instant online celebrities, “new media events,” internet literature, duanzi jokes, “the fifty-cent party,” virtual red packets,” virtual wallets, various apps, the Alibaba commercial empire, and more.

These new norms have become more and more pervasive in contemporary society, introducing new vocabularies, practices, habits, and technological disruptions that have transformed everyday life and the way that institutions currently operate.

Penn China Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Training Course

Dr. Han Cardiac Course at PWCC
Dr. Yuchi Han discusses case studies with cardiologists who came from all over China to attend the Penn China Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Training Course.

Penn Perelman School of Medicine Professor Dr. Yuchi Han led a training course for advanced cardiovascular imaging that was organized by CREF in collaboration with the Cardiac Imaging and Cardiac Intervention Summit (CICI) at Penn Wharton China Center on July 21-22, 2017.

Almost 100 cardiologists from different cities attended the course, during which three professors from Penn’s School of Medicine, Dr. Yuchi Han, Dr. Ron Jacob, and Dr. Harold Litt, gave lectures and presented case studies to participants.

Penn CREF Biofilm Symposium

CREF Kim Biofilm Symposium at PWCC
The symposium also hosted a poster competition, where participants were divided into two groups: graduate students and postdoctoral/junior faculty. Sponsored by P&G and Colgate, an award was presented to the winners at a celebration dinner afterward.

Bringing together researchers from throughout China, Dr. Hyun Koo from Penn’s School of Dental Medicine led the development of a biofilm symposium that was presented at Penn Wharton China Center on Sept 30. Funded as part of Dr. Syngcuk Kim’s CREF grant, Advancing Research and Clinical Practice, the symposium was organized in collaboration with State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases within Sichuan University’s West China School of Stomatology. Dr. Syngcuk Kim gave the opening remarks and welcomed the participants.

Penn Dental Medicine Dean Dr. Denis Kinane gave the first lecture of the day, followed by seven leading researchers from schools throughout China. Titled “Biofilms, Microbiomes and Oral Diseases: Challenges and Future Perspectives,” the symposium also involved a poster competition, where participants were divided into two groups: graduate students and postdoctoral/junior faculty. P&G and Colgate sponsored this event and presented an award to the winners at the celebration dinner.

Activities Launched by Penn Schools and Affiliated Centers and Initiatives

Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Panel & Dinner

The second annual Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Panel & Dinner was held at Penn Wharton China Center on March 8. The 2017 Penn Wharton China Entrepreneur Award was presented to Wharton alumnus Mr. Gang Yu, GRW’90, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of New Peak Group ( and Co-Founder and former Chairman of Yihaodian. During the dinner, Mr. Yu and Mr. Forest Lin, WG’03, hosted a fireside chat to share their ideas and experiences with the local alumni and participants.

The dinner concluded with a panel discussion titled “Capital Winter in China.” The panelists, Wharton alumni Marvin Mao, WG’11, Xiaojun Li, WG’04, Mi Dai, WG’05, and Kai Hong, WG’05, discussed their entrepreneurial experiences and ideas with nearly 50 participants.

2017 Forerunner Program

Forerunner Program at PWCC
Prof. Ezekiel Emanuel, Penn’s Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, welcomes students and their parents at PWCC as part of the Forerunner Program.

The Forerunner Program, organized by the University of Pennsylvania, launched its first event of 2017 at Penn Wharton China Center on June 25. The University has more than 6,000 international students and scholars from around the world, almost half of whom are from China and India.

Designed to welcome new students from China and India by the International Student and Scholar Services, a part of Penn Global, the program provides students and parents with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of life at Penn. The advanced facilities and features in Penn Wharton China Center enabled both students and parents to experience Penn’s classroom environment, campus scenery, and school culture.

This year’s program attracted more than 200 students and nearly 50 parents, exceeding the attendance at the program at Penn last year. Prof. Ezekiel Emanuel, Penn’s Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, was also present to welcome and interact with new students and parents.

Wharton Global Business Week

Wharton Global Business Week at Penn Wharton China Center
Prof. Karl Ulrich, Wharton’s Vice Dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, talks with students at the Global Business Week in Beijing.

Prof. Karl Ulrich, Wharton’s Vice Dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, headed up the third annual Global Business Week program at Penn Wharton China Center on Sept. 11-15. About 60 students from Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives participated in the program this year. They enjoyed on-site visits to a number of leading local corporations, such as Hua Wei, Tencent, and Alibaba. The daily trips concluded with de-briefings at PWCC about what they learned during these company visits.

After a week of observation and research in China, the students were divided into different groups and gave their final presentations on Sept. 15. Another highlight of the Global Business Week program, two local Wharton alumni, Mr. Mi Dai, WG’10, from Joy Capital and Mr. Xing Liu, WG’04, from Sequoia Capital, participated in a panel discussion where they shared their ideas and industry experience with the students.

PWCC-Hosted Events

Dean’s Talk & Reception: The Future Of China-U.S. Relations Under the Trump Administration

Dean Garrett U.S. China Relations at PWCC
Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett talks with a packed audience at PWCC about China-U.S. relations under the new U.S. administration.

On the evening of June 17, Wharton Dean and Professor of Management Geoffrey Garrett, visited the Penn Wharton China Center and delivered a speech on China-U.S. relations under the new U.S. administration. A small cocktail party was held before the speech, offering local alumni and guests from all walks of life a valuable opportunity to network and talk with the Dean.

An expert in the political economics of U.S.-China relations, Dean Garrett covered a number of topics in his speech, including his thoughts on China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” initiative, China’s economic growth, the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the growth of Chinese investment in the U.S. After the speech, the participants were encouraged to ask questions, express their views, and engage in discussion with the Dean.

The event was very well-received by participating alumni and guests, who expressed their hope for similar speaker events at PWCC in the future.

Round Table Discussion On U.S.-China Health Care Policies And Reforms Featuring Vice Provost Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Lecture: What I Have Learned And Its Relevance To China

Ezekiel Emmanuel talks health care at PWCC.
Health care policy expert Prof. Ezekiel Emanuel engaged in a lively discussion with participants at a public seminar at PWCC, talking about topics that ranged from the health care systems of the two countries to the promotion of policy reforms.

The adaptation and reform of policies on health care has long been a heated topic. On June 21, Prof. Ezekiel Emanuel, Penn’s Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, visited the Penn Wharton China Center to participate in a roundtable discussion with about 30 medical professionals and business representatives on the subject of U.S.-China health care policies and reforms. A distinguished health care policy expert, Prof. Emmanuel served as an adviser to two former U.S. presidents on health care reforms.

During the event, the participants actively expressed their opinions and engaged in discussions from different perspectives — some were government policymakers, some work in front-line medical facilities, and others were from enterprises directly affected by the policies. The roundtable discussion not only analyzed health care policies and reforms in the two countries but also looked at potential future trends in the health care industry.

After the roundtable, Prof. Emanuel gave a public seminar at the Penn Wharton China Center, where he also presented on health care policies and reforms in the U.S. and China. During the seminar, he explained the benefits and drawbacks of the American health care system and the future direction of government policies.

Coming from various backgrounds, the participating guests took an active part in expressing their opinions and exchanged ideas with Prof. Emanuel on topics ranging from the health care systems of the two countries to the promotion of policy reforms, and from traditional medical diagnosis to smartphone apps that allow patients to see a doctor. At the end of the seminar, many guests said that they had benefited a lot from it and expressed their desire for more lectures on this subject.

Philosophy in PE Investment

In a talk on the philosophy of PE investment, Wharton MBA alumnus Mr. Sun Qiang demonstrated the principles of successful PE investment analyses and methods by sharing his insights on four case studies with the audience.

On Nov. 2, Wharton MBA alumnus Mr. Sun Qiang, TPG China Management Partner, Founder and Honorary Chairman of the China Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCPEA), was invited to the Penn Wharton China Center to deliver a lecture on philosophy in PE investment.

Mr. Qiang has worked for Warburg Pincus for 20 years and established its operations in China while serving as Chairman of the Asia-Pacific region and a member of its Global Management Committee. Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, he served as Executive Director of Goldman Sachs Hong Kong Asia Investment Bank. Drawing on his 30 years of investment experience, Mr. Qiang demonstrated the principles of successful PE investment analyses and methods by sharing his insights on four case studies with the audience.

First, he summarized the main factors in making successful PE investments: capturing the key market trends, supporting technical and operational innovations, exploring value through restructuring and transformation, and leveraging market turmoil for premium investments.

He used the cases to describe the acumen, strategy, and concrete measures that an excellent PE investor should have in a complicated and volatile investment environment and project. He also shared the timing of PE investors in entry, active intervention, and exit of the four investment projects.

Mr. Qiang told the guests that a good PE investor should not only learn to make investments, but also bring value to the growth of enterprises. He also encouraged young investors to be patient in accumulating experience as they work their way up.

Other Events and Activities

Think Tank Forum

Following the release of the “2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report,” PWCC hosted a panel discussion titled “Why Are Think Tanks More Important Now Than Ever Before?” with leading Chinese experts.

The Think Tank & Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of Penn’s Lauder Institute released the “2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report” in collaboration with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) at Penn Wharton China Center on Jan. 25, 2017. The 2016 report was announced in more than 60 countries and 86 cities around the globe, including Washington D.C., New York, London, and Paris.

More than 70 attendees came to the release event at PWCC in Beijing, the first of a series of events celebrating the 10th anniversary of the report, led by Prof. James G. McGann, Director of TTCSP. Following the release of the report, PWCC hosted a panel discussion titled “Why Are Think Tanks More Important Now Than Ever Before?”

The expert panelists included:

  • Fang Jin, Deputy Secretary General of China Development Research Foundation
  • Paul Haenle, Director of Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
  • Li Guoqiang, Deputy Director of Public Administration and Human Resources Institute, Development Research Center at the State Council of China
  • Wang Wen, Executive Director of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China
  • Wang Huiyao, President of Center for China and Globalization
  • Wen Xueguo, Executive Vice-President of Shanghai Academy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Stroke 1-2-0 Video Launch Event

Stroke 1-2-0 Event at PWCC
A number of medical experts and leaders in the health care industry presented and delivered speeches at the Stroke 1-2-0 strategy and video launch.

On June 24, a video promoting the Stroke 1-2-0 Rapid Response Program was jointly launched by the Special Action Group of the Chinese Stroke Association, Tencent Public Welfare, Tencent News, Penn Wharton China Center, and Life Times.

Liu Renyu, Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Zhao Jing, Associate Professor at Minhang Hospital affiliated with Fudan University, created a stroke recognition method called Stroke 1-2-0. Similar to the American mnemonic “FAST” used in stroke recognition, this method uses the medical emergency telephone number 120 for rapid stroke recognition in Chinese.

1 — First, look for an uneven face.

2 — Second, examine for arm weakness.

0 — Zero (absence of) clear speech.

After the three tests, dial the emergency number 120. At present, the video has been produced in a number of dialects, and is being widely publicized in various parts of the country.

A number of medical experts and leaders in the health care industry presented and delivered speeches at the conference, including:

  • Prof. Xu Anding, Vice President of the Chinese Stroke Society, President of the First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University
  • Prof. Ji Xunming, Director of the National Stroke Rescue and Remote Stroke Center Vice President of Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University
  • Prof. Zuo Zhiyi, Changjiang Scholar and lifelong professor of the University of Virginia
  • Prof. Liu Renyu, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Prof. Zhao Jing of Minhang Hospital affiliated with Fudan University
  • Prof. Xu Kai, Deputy Dean of the School of Journalism and Communications of Nanjing University
  • Dr. Hua Hua, Managing Director of Penn Wharton China Center
  • Mrs. Liu Jing, Media Project Manager of Tencent Charity Foundation and senior editor of Tencent News Public Welfare
  • Mrs. Ding Wenjun, Vice President of Life Times

Representatives from Guangzhou Red Cross Hospital, Yunnan No.1 People’s Hospital, and Zhengzhou Central Hospital in Henan province shared their experience. According to the data, about 2 million stroke patients die each year in China. The mortality rate is five times that of the United States and is alarmingly high among young people as well as the elderly.

Data, pictures and video sources:

Zhao J, Liu R. Stroke 1-2-0: a rapid response programme for stroke in China. Lancet Neurology. 2017;16(1):27-28.

Zhao J, Liu R. Stroke 1-2-0: The strategy and video releaseTranslational perioperative and pain medicine. 2017;2(2):1-2.

ZhenFund Demo Day

ZhenFund Demo Day 1

ZhenFund, a Beijing-based seed fund established by New Oriental (NYSE:EDU) co-founders Bob Xiaoping Xu and Victor Wangand, in partnership with Sequoia China, organized their demo day at Penn Wharton China Center on December 13. More than 80 investors and 100+ participants attended the event.

The Demo Day featured presentations from over 20 CEOs from leading companies in China, including Mr. Xiaoping Xu, the Founder of ZhenFund and Ms. Zetian Zhang, an investor and the wife of Mr. Qiangdong Liu of Jingdong Group.

Penn Wharton China Center looks forward to hosting more events in the New Year. Visit the Events page on our website for details on upcoming events or sign up for our brand-new newsletter, which will keep you updated on activities and information in China and abroad related to the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, and the Penn Wharton China Center.

Posted: January 29, 2018

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