This year, distinguished entrepreneurs, leaders, academics, and artists from various sectors who are leading innovation in their respective fields will take part in the Yenching Global Symposium. They will engage in keynote speeches, simulations, and other interactive sessions to discuss the identity and future landscape of innovation in China. 

Keynote & Peking University speakers


Liu bolin

Liu Bolin was born in 1973 in Shandong, China and studied sculpture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, graduating with an MFA in 2001.  

Better known as “The Invisible Man” in media circles, Liu Bolin sprang from a generation of artists struggling with the consequences of the Cultural Revolution and the rapid economic development in the decades after. He discusses the social concerns of his home country through his artistic practice, most prominently through his ‘camouflage’ installations. Traversing mediums such as performance, photography and social activism, Liu Bolin dissects the tense relationship between the individual and society by ‘disappearing’ into environments which are sites of intrigue, contention and criticism. His "Hiding in the City" series has been displayed in numerous museums and institutions across the globe. 

Eric x. li

Eric X. Li is a venture capitalist and political scientist based in Shanghai.  He is founder and managing director of Chengwei Capital, whose investments include AAC Technologies, Anton Oil, Hanting Hotels and, to name but a few.  Mr Li serves on the Board of Directors of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai and is Vice Chairman of CEIBS Publishing Group, its publishing arm. Mr Li also serves on the board of CEIBS Ghana, the school’s branch in Africa.  

Mr Li further serves on the Board of Trustees of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley,  and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.Mr Li is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor, South China Morning Post, Huffington Post and Global Times.


Peggy liu 

Peggy Liu is Chairperson of JUCCCE, a non-profit organization for accelerating the greening of China, and an expert in China's clean energy landscape. Liu is an executive adviser to Marks and Spencer on sustainable retailing and she has been an energy adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative and a member of the WEF New Energy Architecture Global Agenda Council. Liu is a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment, the Hillary Step, Forbes "Women to Watch in Asia", Global Times "Green Goddess", and one of China Business News Weekly's top 25 innovative business leaders.

In the 1990s Liu held various executive positions at software companies in Silicon Valley and was recognized as an Internet pioneer heading Channel A, one of the earliest e-commerce companies. She was a McKinsey consultant and she has a BSc from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and has completed a programme in Global Leadership and Public Policy at HKS.

Yuan Ming

Professor Yuan Ming is the Dean of the Yenching Academy, as well as an Associate Dean of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies. Prof. Yuan Ming was a member of CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) from 1998 to 2012 and also a member of its Foreign Relations Committee.

She was also the trustee of the Asia Society in New York (1998-2004). In 2004, she joined the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. In 2007, she joined the Board of the United Nations Foundation. Since 1995, she was invited and did research at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. She travels often and is a frequent speaker at many international gatherings such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Trilateral Commission, and the  Club of Rome.

John Holden

John L. Holden is the Associate Dean of the Yenching Academy, a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

From 1998 to 2005, Holden was president of the National Committee on United States–China Relations, a member organization that has been at the forefront of bilateral relations since its founding in 1966. For the twelve prior years, he was employed by Cargill, where he helped establish a wide range of businesses in China and served as chairman of the China holding company.

Holden has been active in the American Chambers of Commerce in both Hong Kong and Beijing, and he was chairman of the Board of Governors of the latter organization in 1997. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as adviser to or director of a number of philanthropic, business, and educational organizations. 

Mao daqing

Mao Daqing serves as a Founder of 5Lmeet. He served as Founder at Urwork (Beijing) Venture Capital Co., Ltd. Prior to that, he served as a Senior Vice President of Vanke Group, Senior Partner of Yirun Investment, and External Partner of Vanke Group. During the period of the management of Beijing Vanke, the Company’s annual sales reached RMB 20 billion with approximately 500 staff managed by Mr. Mao.

Before joining Vanke, Mao Daqing acted as General Manager of Bohai Bay Area of Singapore CapitaLand China Holdings (member of Singapore CapitaLand Group) – the largest real estate investment authority in Asia. In August 2008, he was promoted to Senior Manager of Temasek Holdings.

lin jianhua

Lin Jianhua is President of Peking University and Professor of Chemistry. His presidential term began in February 2015. Prior to becoming President of Peking University, Professor Lin served as President of Chongqing University from December 2010 to June 2013, and President of Zhejiang University from 2013 to 2015. Other leadership roles have included: Dean of the College of Chemistry, Executive Vice President and Provost at Peking University from 1998 to 2010.

Born in October 1955 in Inner Mongolia, China, Professor Lin received his PhD in Chemistry from Peking University in 1986 and joined the University as an academic faculty in the same year. From 1988 to 1993, he conducted his post-doctoral research in the field of inorganic solid chemistry and material chemistry first at Max-Planck Institute of Solid State Research in Germany and then at the Department of Chemistry at Iowa State University and Ames National Laboratory in the US. In 1993, Professor Lin returned to teach at Peking University as an Associate Professor and was promoted to full professorship in 1995.

panel speakers

john denton

John W.H. Denton is a Partner and the Chief Executive Officer of Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australia’s leading independent law firm. Appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2015 by the Governor-General in his capacity as Chancellor of the Order of Australia. He was recognised in 2015 “for his distinguished service to business and commerce, particularly in the legal profession, to the visual and performing arts sectors, to social welfare and the rights of refugees”. This award represents the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service in Australia.

John was recently elected as the First Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and is a member of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group, the primary body for establishing the direction of business input within the G20 process.

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rebecca fannin

Rebecca A. Fannin is an editor, author and expert on global innovation and investment trends. She is the founder of Silicon Dragon, a news, events and research group focused on venture capital, entrepreneurship and technology in China, the U.S. and leading innovation hubs.

A writer with Forbes since 2010, Rebecca pens a weekly online column and contributes to Forbes rich list and special reports on Power Women and 30 under 30 up and comers. Rebecca is the author of two books, Silicon Dragon (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and Startup Asia (John Wiley, 2011). She is a co-author with professors of a textbook, Innovation in Emerging Markets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Her books have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic, and have received favorable reviews from the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, China Daily and New York Times.

giray fidan 

Giray Fidan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Translation and Cultural Studies at Gazi University, Ankara. Dr. Fidan received his B.A., M.A., and PH.D. in Sinology from Ankara University. Studied at the Beijing Language and Culture University and the Min Zu University of China. Conducted research at Princeton University as a visiting scholar. Some selected publications are:  Ottoman Firearms and Ottomans in China during the Kanuni Era (İstanbul: Yeditepe Publishing House, 2011), The Country That Time Could Not Defeat: China (Ankara: Sinemis Publishing House, 2012), Ottoman Empire seen from China: Kang Youwei’s Turk Travelogue of 1908 ( İstanbul: Yeditepe Publishing House, 2013)

His research interests are Sino – Turkish, China – Near Eastern relations, Chinese perception of the Ottoman and Republican Turkey, Modernization processes in both countries.


krishan kumar

Krishan Kumar is an Indian sociologist who is currently Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Virginia, where he holds the titles University Professor and William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology.

Mr. Kumar has at various times been a Talks Producer at the BBC, a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, and has held Visiting Professorships at Bristol University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Central European University, Prague, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has also been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Among his publications are Prophecy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Post-Industrial Society; Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times; The Rise of Modern Society; From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society; 1989: Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals; The Making of English National Identity.

omar puertas

Omar Puertas is currently the managing partner of Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira Shanghai office. Puertas has practiced in Barcelona and New York, advising on international transactions. Since 2007, he has been based in Shanghai, mainly handling projects for inbound and outbound investment. 

He specializes in direct foreign investment, including establishing new companies, and negotiating and executing joint-venture contracts. He has advised many companies on investing in public infrastructure, civil engineering and renewable energy projects in China, as well as on mergers and acquisitions. He also has extensive experience in resolving disputes, particularly in international arbitration.

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Hannah Ryder 

HHannah is a Kenyan and British diplomat and economist with more than 15 years of experience, who most recently led the UN's work in China to help the country scale up and improve its cooperation with poorer countries, including countries in Africa. She regularly writes for a range of publications, runs her own blog called "Development Refreshed,” and was recently nominated as the 2016 “New African Woman on the Rise.” She has contributed to several books and reports: most notably, in 2006, she co-authored the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change. From Beijing, she continues to provide strategic advice to various Chinese and international organisations.

irene shao

Irene leads Khan Academy's operation in Asia. Her interest in education began when she taught at a local migrant school during her semester of studying abroad in Beijing. Before Khan Academy, Irene served as the Head of International at VIPKID and was the Founder & CEO of BEAM Inc., an education startup that was named 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. She also served as the President of the Harvard Education Symposium and was named 25 Under 25 by Yale University. Irene received her A.B. and Ed.M. from Cornell and Harvard respectively.



Joe Xia is the founder and CTO of bike-sharing company Mobike. Prior to working at Mobike, Joe Xia worked as head of APAC Uconnect Connectivity at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, APA SYNC team leader at Ford Motor Company, and senior engineer for system and software development at ZTE.

He finished his Master of Science (M.S) in Telecommunication and Information Systems at University of Essex in 2006, and his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Communication Engineering at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications in 2004.

Paul xu

Paul Xu is Vice President of Shenzhen DaJiang Innovation Technology Ltd., Co. (DJI). Before joining DJI, Xu was Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Asia Pacific at Mersen and Deputy General Manager of Marketing at CHNT. Paul earned his Master’s degree from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2004.

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