How the voice of the young is reshaping tomorrow's economy
CGTN Global Business

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos has usually been a place for tycoons and opinion leaders to form their inner circles. The younger generation has been feeling left out of the elite club until the forum decided to hold its summer sessions in China for smaller and younger players in the market. 

Global Shapers, a youth leadership program initiated by the WEF, is a city-based global community for young "shapers" to voice their opinions. Members of that program Wang Hanlin and Liu Ruoxi are doing business differently.

Wang Hanlin (R) and Liu Ruoxi (C) speak with CGTN's Xia Cheng (L) in Dalian. /CGTN Photo

Wang Hanlin (R) and Liu Ruoxi (C) speak with CGTN's Xia Cheng (L) in Dalian. /CGTN Photo

Liu, an adviser at Tau Investment Management, is working on reducing the gap among social entrepreneurs, government officials and venture capital investors.

"I thought why not gather them together and talk? So, I partnered with several non-profit (organizations) in China. And based on their interests, we screen several social enterprises which leverage blockchain and big data technologies to solve social credit problems," Liu said.

And Zhong Qi Power System, the company Wang works with, is investing in both hardware and software for integrated clean energy vehicle engine and driving control systems. We want to "have our own patents in electric control system for clean energy vehicles in China to reduce the reliance on overseas suppliers," Wang said.

Sailing through global economic headwinds, sometimes businesses need a breath of fresh air. For the old world of commerce, that fresh air comes from the younger generation, who often lead in disrupting business models and cutting-edge technologies.

There's always a communal space in most Chinese cities for startups, investors and incubators to talk about business. Dalian, the host city for 2019 Summer Davos, has already seen plenty of startup events geared toward entrepreneurs from Dalian and the region. 

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

But for local startups to thrive, Dalian and northern China need to offer more. For instance, a member of the youth leadership program in Dalian introduced how traditional real estate giant Wanda is catching up with the new trend.

"Wanda is going to launch its Wanda Mall 4.0. We are doing pilot experiment using the projects from Wanda accelerator. For instance, we just tried seven projects in Wanda Malls in Beijing recently, including naked-eye 3D projects, big data and some AI projects," said Eason Yan, managing director of Dalian Wanda's accelerator.

Background Information

Wanda accelerator: An initiative to enable the next wave of digital transformation in the retail industry and commercial properties in China.

Global shapers are not the only fresh voices at this year's gathering. Sarah Zhang is bringing her company, Points, a solution provider for secure computation system this year. 

CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

During the Davos Forum, Zhang asked whether Internet companies can safeguard consumer data in the digital currency context and if users can really trust them to do it.

The company is now a member of the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer community. Google, Twitter, Airbnb and Spotify also belong to that group. 

Background Information

Technology Pioneer: Companies selected by the WEF for their potential to "transform their industries" and "improve society for years to come."

"As the new technology pioneer this year, actually I want to bring notion of confidential computation to the table and say it's actually possible if working with this type of solution," said Zhang.

The fast-changing political and business environment around the world is taking a toll on youth employment. A Deloitte survey says youth frustration and pessimism has become increasingly evident.

But the upside is that millennials and Generation Z are loyal to employers who boldly tackle issues that resonate with them. That means those who can close the generation gap today will likely retain business success tomorrow.

(CGTN's Xia Cheng also contributed to the story.)