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(650) 299-5260

Epilogue: Reflections from China


Earlier this year, a delegation of 19 Siebel Scholars—led by Tom Siebel and joined by UCSD Dean Frieder Seible—spent 11 days touring Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai to learn firsthand about Chinese business, technology, and culture. Through meetings with top industry, government, and academic officials, they gained new insights, ideas, and relationships to share with the wider Siebel Scholars community. Siebel Scholars around the globe had the opportunity to participate virtually in these meetings by asking questions through the website, commenting on daily blog recaps, and following live updates on Twitter.

Many of the conversations were anchored in China’s 12th Five Year Plan, a national guiding document mapping out China’s policies, objectives, and goals for the next five years. Tsinghua University Professor Long provided an overview at the start of the trip, which set the foundation for subsequent meetings. Discussions with the Ministry of Rail and the mayor of Hangzhou highlighted their priorities in the context of the plan and opportunities for international collaboration and investment. Similarly, businesses also use the 12th Five Year Plan to set their objectives. Stemming from a session with executives from Goldman Sachs, Ashley Evans ’10 noted that she wanted to better understand the 12th Five Year Plan’s implications for companies and industries she works with. John Law ’07 shared his takeaway over Twitter after a meeting with the managing partner at China’s largest cleantech VC firm: “#siebelscholars at Tsing Capital. ‘Protecting the environment’ is part of China’s 12th 5yr plan. Ergo, great opportunity for cleantech investment.”

The trip was hosted by Tsinghua University, where the delegation learned about the university’s innovative research, covering topics like artificial intelligence, robotics, and internet technology. Highlights included a peek at a fourth generation nuclear reactor and learning about Tsinghua’s collaboration with other top universities to design the next generation of internet protocols. Arel Cordero '05 tweeted: “#Tsinghua's 4th gen nuclear reactor cools on failure *w/out* external power #SiebelScholars are told. Timely!”

Meetings with executives in Zhongguancun (China’s “Silicon Valley”) and IBM provided insight on business innovation, growth, successes, and challenges in the local market. InnovationWorks founder Kai-Fu Li explained the internet and startup landscape in China, while Baidu executive Kaiser Kuo offered his perspective on the challenges foreign firms face when entering the China market.

Siebel Scholars forged relationships through more in-depth conversations over meals with clean tech leaders in Beijing and Shanghai, young entrepreneurs in Hangzhou, American business leaders, foreign journalists, and future journalists from Fudan University.

Finally, in addition to sightseeing at the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square, Siebel Scholars enjoyed other cultural experiences through a lesson in modern Chinese art at Craig Yee’s ’03 gallery, dinner at a traditional Beijing courtyard residence, a performance on West Lake in Hangzhou, and tours of historic Shanghai.

View highlights from the 2011 Siebel Scholars China Delegation Trip. 

See the full trip itinerary.