By Yuan Shenggao | China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-23 07:36

NEXT event seeks to advance international cooperation in resource sharing, innovation, other key areas

The NEXT Summit (Hangzhou 2018) that began Thursday and concludes Friday, in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, has – according to organizers – become a dialogue platform to promote global resource sharing, innovation and international cooperation and to strengthen relationships.

The two-day event, themed “Seeking Optimal Practice”, was organized by Zhejiang University, the China Economic Information Service of Xinhua News Agency and the Oceania Silk Road Network, or OSRN.

The event also gained support from companies and organizations such as Yili Group, the Zhejiang University Center for Research Region Coordination Development and Next Federation.

More than 500 representatives from countries including New Zealand and South Korea are present at the summit. Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Kimoon and President of the National Party of New Zealand Peter Goodfellow, who is also honorary president of the OSRN, delivered speeches on Thursday.

Goodfellow said the summit, first held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017, has attracted governments, enterprises and social attention from countries such as New Zealand, China, Indonesia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan. Many international organizations such as the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are also paying great attention to the summit.

Yang Jian, a member of parliament of New Zealand, who is also the chairman of the organizing committee of the summit, said the NEXT Summit closely monitors economic, social, political, cultural and ecological development trends in the world and called on all relevant parties to make a contribution.

Zou Xiaodong, Party secretary of Zhejiang University, said that the influence and achievements of the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, are fully recognized by all relevant parties, at a time the world economy is undergoing structural changes. Zou said he hopes the event can help further eliminate barriers in international trade, explore development potential, exchange ideas on innovation cooperation and strengthen the application of technical standards.

Goodfellow noted that the BRI suits New Zealand’s national strategy, which aims to make the country part of Asia’s economic development.

He said that New Zealand, one of the countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road under the BRI, should expand its role in the initiative. One key example of New Zealand’s ef orts to support the BRI was that it was one of the earliest member countries of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he added.

Yili Vice-President Zhang Yipeng said China is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening-up this year. It is also the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-New Zealand free trade agreement, he added. The agreement not only provides guarantees for trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, but is also developing a stable and open business environment.

“The summit is a big contribution by elites from both China and New Zealand,” Zhang said.

Global collaboration

Global guests were invited to exchange ideas on five topics during the summit: “Regional Collaboration Improves Global Governance”; “Innovation Drives Economic Development”; “Green Development Promotes a Conservation Culture”; “Inclusive and Embracive Diversified Civilizations” and “Creators and Leaders of the Future”.

Companies from sectors – public services, energy and infrastructure, artificial intelligence, blockchain and modern retailing, education, culture and creativity and tourism, food health and agriculture and animal husbandry and innovative and technology commercialization – shared 40 case studies with participants.

Among those examples, were large projects with global awareness – for example, Yili’s internationalization practices and Alpha Group’s practices in health products development, organizers said.

Gao Yihuai, chairman of the board of Alpha Group, said the case studies discussions allowed for the sharing of valuable experiences, which was very important for companies seeking international business expansion.

The concept of “optimal practice” was covered in extensive discussions during the summit. According to the organizers, optimal practice encourages people to take more elements into consideration while seeking global collaboration and choose the best path to achieve long-term and common interests. The Hurricane Lamp Award, an award established to encourage best practice among companies undertaking global collaboration, which benefits industrial development, was unveiled on Thursday night at the event and 12 companies and institutions were honored.

Matchmaking platform

Nearly 60 source suppliers from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, were present to communicate with buyers face-to-face on Thursday. The Zhejiang Foreign Trade Service Center invited 400 purchasers and distributors to attend a matchmaking event.

The event organizers said that many Chinese companies are seeking expansion opportunities in overseas markets. However, limited resources in foreign markets made it hard to find reliable suppliers and build distribution channels with low costs in a short time. The matchmaking session during the summit, as a communications platform, will help to solve the problem, organizers added.

Shao Tianxi, director of Fernbaby NewZealand International, said that it would be very helpful for companies to better manage the quality of goods, control risks and lower costs by partnering with premium and reliable source suppliers.

Mayor’s gathering

The International Cities and Districts Development and Cooperation Forum, which took place on Thursday, invited government officials from cities in New Zealand, China and Indonesia to strengthen their friendships and promote project cooperation in various areas.

The forum allowed participants to exchange urban management and development ideas and will promote urban life upgrades, organizers said. New concepts and actions can be shared and learned, enhancing the quality of life in urban areas, they added.

Dialogue platform

Apart from serving as a dialogue platform among officials, policy makers from different countries were invited to communicate with companies and help them solve problems related to food imports and exports, cross-border trade and e-commerce.

Vince Gowan, vice-president of the Indonesia Association of Commerce and Industry, said that Indonesia has strong demand for premium products, technology and industrial cooperation from China and other countries, but its business environment was dif erent from that of other countries. As a result, the communications opportunities provided by this summit were quite precious, he added.

Information release

Many cooperation agreements, research reports and new products were released during the summit, according to the event organizers.

The China Economic Information Service of Xinhua News Agency unveiled a report about cooperation opportunities between China and New Zealand under the BRI. The report analyzed current Sino-New Zealand cooperation and future potential. It also focused on the economy, politics and culture, and concluded that the BRI will help the two countries expand their cooperation in sectors such as education, tourism, agriculture and creativity.

All international participants were required to bring product and project examples from their country and present them during the summit.

New Zealand’s representatives brought national products such as juice, healthcare products and education services, while Indonesia said its companies were seeking collaborative opportunities in areas such as low-carbon city development.