Welcome Address by Prof Er Meng Hwa, Nanyang Technological University Vice President (International Affairs)

17 March 2014

Welcome Address by Prof Er Meng Hwa, Nanyang Technological University Vice President
(International Affairs)
Future China Advanced Leaders Program Welcome Dinner
17 March 2014

Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Finance & Transport
Mr Chua Thiam Poh, Chairman, Business China, and the Business China Board of Directors
Participants of the Future China Advanced Leaders Programme 2014
Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening and welcome!

First, to our Guest of Honour, Mrs Josephine Teo: Thank you for attending tonight. We are honoured by your presence. The idea of running a programme nurturing China-savvy talents was first mooted by you, thank you for planting the seed.

Since its inception in 2012, the Future China Advanced Leaders Programme has been running for three consecutive years now. The program’s success has been helped along considerably by the wisdom and ardent support of our valued partner, the Board of Business China. Mr Chua, thanks to you and your board for your partnership.

China, with its vast population and resources, has long fascinated foreign businessmen lured in by the promise of financial success. Many of those foreigners have been frustrated in their ambitions, swallowed up in the complexity of the operating environment. That business environment has been shaped by a long and tortuous history. It contains a panoply of diverse cultures and spans regions of radically uneven economic development. Success within that environment demands some understanding of those factors and the intricacies of its inner workings. We face a great challenge in developing a program that will offer meaningful insight into that environment in just three weeks.

And, yet, I am very proud to say the programme has achieved that vision for the past two years. Previous participants who are already running businesses in China credit the program for providing them with important tools to apply in their ventures. Their deepened knowledge and connections with policy-makers and entrepreneurs developed through the program have served as springboards to the next level of their business operations; those about to venture into China say that the taste of
China provided by the program filled them with aspiration to face the new leadership challenges.

The business environment in China is an evolving one. To keep pace with its evolution we refine the program contents each year, taking into account ideas from previous classes, input from the Business China Board and the best wisdom of all involved in its design.

This year’s program covers wide-ranging topics from history, philosophy, arts and culture to international relations, business practice and urbanization. Besides the Singapore segment, participants will carry on their learning journey in three cities of strategic importance: Shanghai, Chongqing and Chengdu.

There will be plenty of networking opportunities throughout the program. To the participants, I hope you will build good connections. As we all know, Guan Xi, the relationship or social network, is a magic wand in China. It opens door to opportunities and solves problems. We have more than 10,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in government and enterprises in China. By joining the NTU alumni after the completion of the programme, you will be connected to a valuable resource.

The great promise of the China business market can be illusive. While media reports trumpet many successful business ventures in China, we also know there are failures. The intent of this program is to help you navigate through the complexity to achieve success. You may encounter culture shocks and setbacks on your China business journey. I strongly encourage you to remain undaunted, 百折不挠, as the Chinese idiom says.

May the program inspire you and set you on the road to successful business ventures!
Enjoy your studies! Thank you.

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