傅博士为华润集团董事长、第十二届全国政协委员、十三届全国政协常委、亚太经济合作组织(APEC)中国工商理事会理事兼理事会副主席、香港中国企业协会名誉会长、行政长官创新及策略发展顾问团成员。傅博士曾任招商局集团董事长、招商银行董事长、招商局国际董事长、嘉德置地有限公司独立非执行董事、香港利丰有限公司独立非执行董事等职。傅博士持有大连理工大学学士学位及英国布鲁诺尔大学海洋工程力学博士学位,于二零一四年加入本集团。

The future is in your hands
— a speech at the HKU

 

Honored Mr. Leung,

Dear fellow classmates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Good evening! I am very glad to meet you today and excited to speak to many excellent young scholars. So, let me thank Mr. Leung, for his kind invitation!

 

HKU is a world-class university. It goes without saying that it’s a privilege and an honor to be a student of this great institution.

 

College life is a very important time in everyone’s life that will have a significant implication on your future. I was an undergraduate in Dalian Institute of Technology 40 years ago and PHD student 36 years ago (Brunel University in the United Kingdom). With my experience, the takeaway you may have when you graduate from your university is the most precious asset in your life.

 

Humanity evolves constantly, year by year, day and night. Among other things, it is very crucial to observe the forces and the trends that may shape the future of our world. It’s also important to be a part of the trends that will push the world forward for a long time to come.

 

Today, the world is changing rapidly at a speed we have never seen before. The great tends of technology revolution and globalization have fundamentally reshaped the world and changed people’s way of life since the 1970s when gave birth to the internet, which we cannot live without today, it has made great contribution to the humanity including improved efficiency, enhanced connectivity, peace and stability, better products and services, freer trade and investments, better life standards, and so on. However, there are also side effects, such as the exhaustion of natural resources, overwhelming pollution, climate change, more extensive global financial crisis, and income disparity between social hierarchies within a country and between countries around the world.  People are calling for a more open, inclusive, justice, fairer, and democratic global governance system. These setbacks have largely given rise to the populism, nationalism, antisemitism, unilateralism, and trade protectionism globally as claimed by many critics around the world. Trade war is a byproduct of these ‘isms’. If we are not too forgetful of our history, we may find that none of the above mentioned isms is new. However, their magnitude and extensiveness shall be enough to alarm us because they were normally associated with wars and chaos in the history, no matter it’s a “cold war” or a “hot war”. Not exaggerate to say, the humanity is once again at cross-roads. However, we shall not be intimidated by the challenges. Life springs from sorrow and calamity (生于忧患). To overcome the challenges and build a better world, your choices, young people’s choice matters. Literally, a challenge may become an opportunity if we take it right. For example, to battle pollution, environment protection has been developed into one of the world’s largest industries with an extensive value chain consist of technology R&D, water and solid waste treatment, emission reduction, reforestation, soil restoration, biodegradable materials, and etc.

 

While facing a lot of challenges, we must also realize that we are blessed with many opportunities. I believe that the greatest ones of all to us are major policy, demographic changes, technology innovations, and economic transformation. On the policy side, for instance, the world economic map has been changed greatly in last 40 years. And there is no doubt, the biggest cause has been the fact of China. Forty years ago, China’s GDP only accounted for 1.8% of the world’s total (with a quarter of the world’s population), and last year, China’s GDP represent 15.2% (with less than 19% of the world’s population). China became the second largest economy in the world in 2009 and has been solidifying its position year by year ever since. Many people, including famous economists contends that the two most important drivers behind China’s economic miracle have been China’s reforming (towards a market economy) and opening up policies. We are all aware that the Chinese economy has been slowing down recently due to various constrains, such as high debt level, tighter environmental conditions, industry overcapacity and etc. However, China is still the single largest propeller for the world economy. It has been contributing more than 30% of the World’s GDP growth in recently years. Based on this broad context, it’s reasonable to expect that China’s share of the global GDP will be further enhanced. Of course, the growth of the Chinese economy will provide many opportunities as it has been in the past 40 years.

 

Another story worth telling is China’s economic transformation. While slowing down, the Chinese economy has been undergoing fundamental structure changes. The service sector has overtaken manufacturing to become China’s largest part of economy and number one driver for GDP growth. For example, in the first three quarters this year, the service sector contributed 53.1% of the country’s GDP and 78% of the country’s GDP growth. It’s reasonable to expect that the growth of China’s service sector will provide young people in Hong Kong with many opportunities, especially when we take into account that Hong Kong itself is an advanced service economy with strong competences and experiences which are very valuable for the development of China in the future. The importance and potential of the service sector are beyond all doubt, as all the developed economy normally owns very strong service businesses.

 

With regard to demographic changes, the Chinese population has been aging rapidly as average life expectancy improved. By the end of last year, China’s elderly population (60 years old and above) reached 241 million, represent 17.3% of China’s total, with the average life expectancy has reached to 76.7 years by the end of 2017, added 5.3 years from year 2000. The implications of these changes are the growing demand for healthcare and senior cares while China’s healthcare expenses has reached RMB 5.2 trillion or 6.2% of its GDP in 2017 (significantly lower than the OECD countries’ around 10% of GDP).With 8.2 billion outpatients a year, China has become inarguably one of the largest healthcare markets in the world, and with even more promising future. For example, there are 270 million high blood pressure patients and 114 million diabetes patients in China today. Taking good care of hundreds of millions of patients is not going to be easy, due to insufficient supply of quality healthcare services, China’s healthcare industry has been criticized for being too expensive or difficult to access. Of course, demographic change is not the only driver for the healthcare industry, income growth, technology innovation, insurance coverage, and free market access are also important. For example, the per capita disposable income in China reached RMB 25,974, increased by 22.8 folds from 1978 with a real growth rate of 8.5%. The Engel's Coefficient (measures food as a percentage of total consumer spending) in China was 29.3% last year, decreased by 19.8 percentage points since 2000. More than 1.2 billion Chinese people are now covered by basic healthcare insurance by the end of 2017. The per capita healthcare expense in China reached RMB 1,777, with CAGR of 16.7% from 1979.

 

Today, we are witnessing an era of unprecedented technology innovations, many people call it industry 4.0, or digital revolution. The major ones that will shape the future include new generation of IT (big data, cloud computation, 5G, internet of things), artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous technology (autonomous driving, smart robotics, unmanned factories, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets), and new energy (renewable energy, energy storage, electric cars), just to name a few. What will be the implications of the above mentioned innovations on humanity? It’s a great question yet to be answered. But I reckon that they will mostly be used to make our life easier and better.

 

Through years of government support and promotion, China has become one of the biggest innovation hubs in the world today. China’s R&D expense level has caught up with that of the OECD countries and China has been the second-largest source of patent applications worldwide last year.

 

Hong Kong has always been a very important contributor to Mainland China’s great success. What role will Hong Kong play in Mainland China’s further reform and opening up?

 

China has made the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area (“the Greater Bay Area, GBA for short”) a national strategy last year. In light of the grand transformation of the Chinese economy, as well as government’s strong push for innovation and quality development, the GBA is highly expected to become one of China’s major growth areas and a testing field for China’s new policy. It’s highly likely that the GBA will become a global hub for innovation, advanced manufacturing, world class education, and high quality services. To achieve this, building a strong innovation ecosystem consist of education, R&D, venture capital, start-up incubator, and advanced manufacturing, will be essential. I reckon that Hong Kong, our people and you, will find plenty of opportunities to leverage.

 

Lastly, dear university mates, allow me to say few words about China Resources. China Resources Group has been working in Hong Kong for 80 years now. Today it has become one of the largest conglomerates. The main business of the group covers consumer products and services (retail, beer, food, water, and cafe), property development, energy and energy services, cement, pharmaceutical and distribution, and healthcare. Today, China Resources is the second largest pharmaceutical producer and distributor, the largest healthcare provider, and senior care provider in China. We welcome young people like you to join us to lead the progress of business and improve people’s life together.

 

Ladies and gentleman, great tends create great heroes. The future belongs to those who are prepared. Stay humble, stay hungry, and get yourself ready to make a difference.

 

Thank you!

Nov. 22, 2018