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Rene Chen

 

THROUGH THE EYES OF CONFUCIUS

RENÉ Chen, partner and managing director of jones knowles ritchie, started her seminar — Creativity And Innovation Through The Eyes Of Confucius — by explaining how her life has made her a semi-insider

and a semi-outsider.

“I was born in Hong Kong when it was still run by the British, then I studied in the US, and now I live and work in China,” she said, “which I think puts me in the ideal position to identify the differences and similarities between Western and Eastern thinking and creativity.”

Chen then described how perceptions of China are flawed: “We see lots of fake luxury products coming out of China, which reinforces the idea that it’s a country that merely copies and cannot innovate. But in fact there are two ways to be creative. You can do it as an innovator or as an adaptor. This is where the East and West diverge, because China has spent the last 30 years playing catch-up with the West, and it did a lot of that through adapting. But the end result of all that adapting and tweaking means that China now has highly innovative services.”

She cited Alipay, “which started out as a Paypal copy but is now a hugely sophisticated financial ecosystem”; and WeChat, which combines the characteristics of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp and Paypal.

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June 19 | Lions Speaker