October 13 and 14 I was in Beijing for a Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business CKGSB program called China Start: a one-week China immersion program for global start-ups and growth companies to learn China-specific knowledge, network with potential local partners and pitch for Chinese investment. The program is managed by Bo Ji (Chief Representative, GKGSB Europe; Assistant Dean, Global Executive Education) and his amazing team.

I participated in the event alongside 11 other executives from 7 companies and 8 countries (Singapore, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Poland, Norway, UK and India).

After flying via Munich to Beijing, and managing to get via subway to the Grand Hyatt Beijing, which by the way has an amazing indoors pool, I barely had time to take a shower, change and go straight to the first event: a black tie invitation-only CKGSB Beijing Alumi annual meeting hosted at the Saint Regis Hotel, attended by many celebrities (opera singers, actresses, TV personalities, etc) and famous alumni (after all, many of the founders and the CEOs of the largest Chinese companies, like Alibaba, Tencent, or Sinopec are alumni of CKGSB).

The next day we started early, with a very interesting lecture at CKGSB’s Beijing Campus on “China’s Transformation and Its Potential Global Implications” by CKGSB’s Founding Dean Prof. Xiang Bing. Prof. Bing did not shy away from questions and criticism about human rights, democracy, and freedom in China. It proved freedom of speech while also explaining the significant cultural difference between East and West. One very important key: Harmony.

Then we attended another lecture titled “Get Investment in China”, this time by one of the top 30 investors in China, Yang Ge (Gary), Founding Partner of Sky Saga Capital. Perhaps the weakest lecture of the whole program, as it merely repeated the same info and concepts Silicon Valley investors keep repeating everyday.

After a buffet lunch to network with invited investors, we participated in a pitch event attended by nearly 150 investors. Once the pitch event was over, we were given a tour of the Hyundai/Baic car manufacturing joint venture plant in Beijing, on our way to the airport, where we took a flight to Shanghai.