Time flies so fast! Another Chinese New Year has now come and gone. When I tapped these words onto my laptop, I felt as if I was still writing “QIBA’s first Ben Ming Nian” (Year of Fate in Chinese Zodiac, or 本命年 in Chinese) before the Chinese New Year in 2018.
Kerstin Kaelher, GM of German Enterprises Centre Qingdao
For QIBA, 2018 was another year full of stories and activities. In January, QIBA celebrated its first Ben Ming Nian with a party of more than 230 participants, 12 years after its very first initiative QIBC. Then, thanks to a very late Chinese New Year in mid-February, it was not until March when QIBA had its first keynote speech delivered by Kerstin Kaelher, General Manager of German Enterprises Centre Qingdao on “Unconscious Bias”, a topic of particular importance in management, not only for businesses but also for other organizations, as long as “people management” is involved. Don't jump on your suspicions: this is precisely what “unconscious” bias is about because, in many cases, we are not aware of the unknown facts that have an influence on our judgement when making decisions, which could lead us to an undesired direction. But, remember, “bias” is not a derogatory term but a neutral one.
Kerstin’s speech was followed by another leadership related presentation given by LMI’s (Leadership Management International) Shandong General Manager Amanda Shang in April, on the Productivity of Life and Team. As a senior leadership coach, Amanda stated that being a leader is not only important in the corporate world but also in our everyday life, and that management techniques can be exported to our private life to help us, reach our full potential.
Kerstin’s and Amanda’s presentations, plus the one given earlier by Stella Wang, Senior Partner of the UK based consultancy firm The New Bridge Associates in 2017, had provided three “leadership” workshops for the QIBA members. Stella, who used to be General Manager of both TUV Rheinland Qingdao and Bureau Veritas Qingdao respectively, took a different approach to leadership according to BEM (Behavioural Engineering Model), explaining that those “infrastructures” in an organization, rather than its staff, are the decisive elements of performance.
QIBA’s monthly workshops are not just these stern and rigid “business” topics. After all, things must be implemented by people, whose health is the fundamental. In May, Dr. Li Li, Doctor of International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine from Qingdao United Family Hospital, addressed “Orthomolecular Medicine Brings a New Age of Health”.
Jade Feng of Qingdao Radio & TV on "My Belt & Road"
Culture is an integral element of QIBA’s various activities. In 2018, the biggest highlight of QIBA cultural workshop was “My Belt and Road”, brought by celebrity journalist Jade Feng from Qingdao Radio & Television, who reported the recent SCO Qingdao Summit. In addition to her many sailing adventures, in 2016, as a member of the Press Corps, Jade set off with her colleagues from Qingdao, driving through 12 countries along the Belt and Road, making Qingdao Radio & TV the first regional media to retrace the route of the Silk Road. Jade accomplished the first half of the 18000km journey.
James Wang of Haier HCH
In Q3 of 2018, QIBA welcomed topics on new energy, innovation and entrepreneurship, shared by Serena Gao, Senior Manager of Investment and Financing from NESI on “Renewable Energy and Photovoltaic + Agriculture” in July; James Wang, Overseas Director of HCH Venture of Haier Group, on “Disruptive Innovation”. With at least six case studies incorporated into Harvard Business School, Haier is definitively a beacon of innovation, and its entrepreneurship and innovation platform HCH provides another legend of Haier’s new era.
QIBA Visiting Oceantec Valley
In reference to innovation and high-tech entrepreneurship, Qingdao Oceantec Valley should not be ignored. Home to 22 national level science and research institutions, such as Shandong University Qingdao Campus, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Qingdao Campus, Tianjin University and many others, among which Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM), Qingdao Oceantec Valley is China’s only national laboratory of marine science. On behalf of the country, QNLM hosts the biennial Global Ocean Summit, promoting cooperation in marine science between China and the world. The National Deep-Sea Centre, the only deep-sea centre in China and the fifth in the world (after the USA, Russia, France and Japan), is the homeport of ‘Jiaolong’ submersible as well as of ‘Science’ and ‘Xiangyanghong’ marine research vessels. Mr. Cheng Mousong, Director of Investment Promotion Department at Qingdao Oceantec Valley portrayed its bright presence and prosperous future and welcomed all those who are interested in the Oceantec Valley.
QIBA at Haier University
2018 never lacked hot topics of international significance such as Brexit, China US trade war, as well as the individual income tax reform of China that will influence both Chinese citizens and expats who live in China, either long term or short stay. Naturally, the October QIBA nights of 2018 were allocated to Milano Fang, Tax Partner of KPMG Qingdao in October regarding the new Individual Income Tax (IIT) Law’s impact on both employer and employee, regardless citizenship.
Maciej Poprawski, General Manager of Expo Technologies’ daughter company in Qingdao, a UK explosion protection specialist, presented on “Brexit” in November, stressing on opportunities for both China and the United Kingdom. Interestingly, the “Brexit” presentation also attracted audience from the French, German, Italian communities in Qingdao.
Of course, QIBA events were not just monthly get-together with cocktails and workshops, but also a series of inter-chamber activities, factory tours, etc., from which both QIBA members learn best practices from one another. For example, with Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, QIBA visited the prestigious manless port of Qingdao during summertime. With HCH of Haier, collaborating with Baker Donelson, one of the top 10 US law firms, QIBA organized a special workshop on challenges and opportunities for Chinese businesses in current China-US situation. In December, invited by SingCham Shandong, QIBA representatives went to Weifang to interact with international communities in Weifang City.
Resolutions for 2019? Certainly. Follow the official WeChat of both QIBA and REDSTAR!