In July 2012, at the invitation of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, the China Entrepreneur Club (CEC) went on its third trip outside China, after the visit to the United States in 2011 and the journey to Germany in 2010.
Great Britain has been the centre of the globe for several hundred years. It was the first region to embark on the path of industrialisation, which made it the economic power as it is today. Over the past thirty years, however, China’s economy has grown at over ten percent every year, whereas Britain recorded growth of only two percent. Even so, China can still learn from Britain’s industrial, commercial and constitutional traditions, its approach to sustainable development, financial innovation, brand management and creative industries, its contract culture as well as its pragmatism.
The week-long visit in the UK was rewarding. Great Britain welcomed the CEC delegation with great hospitality. On July 25th, Prime Minister David Cameron took time off his exceptionally busy schedule to meet with the leading members of the delegation. Even the weather showed her special welcome to the Chinese guests. The UK was known for its rather overcast days. But the sky brightened up the moment the delegation arrived and has been favourable since.
The CEC delegation attended the “China Business Day” in London on July 27th, the opening day of the Olympics 2012. The China Entrepreneur Club was the exclusive Chinese partner of the event. Michael Yu , CEO and Chairman of New Oriental stated in the closing speech that British politicians and businessmen now go to China to seek mutually beneficial political co-operation and business opportunities, no longer taking the attitude of “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The CEC delegation also came to the UK for chance of equal exchange and common development. “We came, we saw, and we learnt from each other”.
In his speech, Mr. Yu also pointed out that the sentiment of nationalism, in a narrow sense, is a major cause of turmoil in the world. Any action that might stir up conflicts among nations is unwise. In this regard, he believes that people need to properly tackle three problems, i.e. how to create a genuine understanding of the differences among nations, how to realize and respect universal values and individuals, and how to fulfill that respect with regards to people`s rights and status inside a given nation.
The delegation had heated discussions at the Needham Research Institute about the reasons for China’s underdevelopment and its lagging behind other countries in institution-building. They agreed that Deng Xiaoping’s reform and open-door policies were a tremendous institutional innovation that tapped the curiosity, creativity and resourcefulness of the Chinese people, and later created the Chinese miracle. Sadly, however, this challenging reform remains incomplete.
The developed systems in Western countries are based on the participation of every society member. In China, however, people consider their personal interests first in developing institutions. Nevertheless, there is much room for institutional improvement, and every bit of change can directly translate into great economic growth.