Hot Topics in China: 996, STAR and 5G
COVID-19 and China
Zhang Fan gave a speech on Germany-U.S.-China Intelligence Vision Forum. Photo: Credit to VPhoto.

On June 12, EqualOcean was holding Germany-U.S.-China Intelligence Vision Forum, a panel of the Global New Economy Conference 2019 in Shanghai. The forum is co-organized by Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. Business Insider, Gründerszene and Axel Springer SE are among the global media partners.

Zhang Fan (张帆), vice president of EO Company and co-founder of EqualOcean, gave an opening keynote speech on China’s recent new changes in industry innovation. He focused on three hot topics: 996, STAR and 5G.

“996” is a new buzzword referring to the work schedule with six workdays a week and duty work time from 9 am to 9 pm per day – in other words, 10 working hours regularly every day. 996 has been adopted in many Chinese internet companies, and it has become a controversial and hot topic around the world.

Opinions varies on this topic. Jack Ma (Ma Yun, 马云), founder of Alibaba Group, used to propose that 996 is a great fortune that not everyone has the opportunity to possess. The opposite opinion commonly raises that 996 brings greater health risk to employees, as well as a flagrant violation towards Chinese law. There’s a popular project called on the GitHub, which aims to oppose the 996 working schedule.

Fan used to talk about 996 with some entrepreneurs and innovators in China, and got a surprising feedback that they always work for seven days a week and almost 24 hours for days. Compared with developed countries like U.S. and Germany, China’s workers spend much longer time on workdays with the mindset of keeping pace with world by running faster.

The second topic is STAR, short of Sci-Tech innovAtion boaRd, which was formerly translated as Science and Technology Innovation Board (STIB). STAR is definitely one of the huge waves of finance and technology in China market this year, a strategy pushed forward by President Xi Jinping. Compared with the secondary market in China, STAR focuses on technology-driven industries and companies. Fan has analyzed 113 enterprises that had applied IPO on STAR, and figured that these companies are mainly from industries of biopharmacy, integrated circuit, new materials, artificial intelligence (AI), new energy, internet of things (IoT) and other technology-intensive fields.

STAR is also a market-driven board as it adopts the registration-based IPO system. This "new board" will attract investment and provide more opportunities for emerging companies, and is considered as the future Nasdaq in China.

The third topic is 5G. Fan considers 5G to be not only a faster network, but also a key factor to generate a whole new ecosystem. On June 6, China granted the first 5G licenses for commercial use. Devices can connect with 5G networks in over 30 Chinese cities at present.

Fan extended his topics to two trends in China: industry intelligence, and further globalization.

On the topic of industry intelligence, Fan introduced that EO company has deeply dived into the industry application of new technologies in the past five years. Fan has seen many great data-driven intelligent solutions in various scenarios, like employing AI to the management and registration of vehicles, digitalizing traditional agriculture, and even making a digital twin of the city then equipping it with a brain.

On the topic of further globalization, Fan discussed the efforts that human beings have been continually exploring the world. For example, Zhang Qian led a group to the western world along the Silk Road in the Han Dynasty, seeking military alliance among other countries. However, the accessibility for civilization and technology is different among countries. Some countries are developing advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, while some are still on the way of urbanization and improving basic living needs. As to the foreign direct investment of Germany, U.S. and China (both net inflows and outflows), the total amount was emerging in the last decades, and Fan believes the trend will keep going, though it might meet some challenges and difficulties in the process, like the trade conflicts, tariff things and so on.

In summary, Fan combined these two trend to explain the mission of EqualOcean: To accelerate the equality in technology accessibility globally.

To achieve this, EqualOcean, a tech media and investment research company, helps traditional industries to acquire the awareness of new technologies from its services like insights articles, research reports and consulting. In addition, EqualOcean optimizes the allocation of resources by assisting to make the right investment decisions.

Finally, Fan expressed his gratefulness to every partners and attendee and hope to build more connections among companies, industries, and even economic entities.

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