January 2019
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Swire China Conference 2018 – Innovate Into the Future
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Swire China Conference 2018 delegates.
Swire China Conference 2018 delegates.


"Innovate Into the Future" was the theme of the sixth Swire China Conference, held on 25th October 2018, and it was no coincidence that the event took place in Shenzhen – a key city in the Greater Bay Area initiative that will link Hong Kong and Macau with nine other centres in Guangdong Province to create a powerhouse of innovation and economic growth. Around 190 senior managers from Swire attended the biennial event.

Merlin Swire, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (HK), delivers the opening speech.
Merlin Swire, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (HK), delivers the opening speech.

Ivan Chu, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (China), delivers the welcome speech.
Ivan Chu, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (China), delivers the welcome speech.


Delivering the opening speech, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (HK) Limited, Merlin Swire, noted that the group has survived and thrived during 150 years of doing business in China because of its ability to innovate. But Swire will need to react with greater flexibility and agility, be more open to fresh ideas and take better advantage of digital technology, in order to compete with local companies now dominating sectors in which it is active. Mr Swire said the group was relatively underweight in the Greater Bay Area – a matter that should be urgently addressed, given Hong Kong's economic future will depend on integration with fastgrowing cities like Shenzhen, just 15 minutes away via the new Express Rail Link.

Deputy Minister of the Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, Song Zhe, delivers a keynote speech at the conference.
Deputy Minister of the Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, Song Zhe, delivers a keynote speech at the conference.

His remarks were echoed by a distinguished rollcall of guest speakers, who included Mr Song Zhe, Deputy Minister of the Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, Professor Huang Yiping of the National School of Development at Peking University, and Mr Liu Qingsheng, Executive Vice Mayor of Shenzhen Municipal Government. Mr Song explained how Shenzhen – once China's window to the West, as its first Special Economic Zone – had developed a powerful and innovative business ecosystem offering advanced technologies and products. Mr Liu said the city had become the engine for accelerated growth in the Greater Bay Area and he hoped Swire would be a part of its success story.


Conference delegates then heard from representatives from three world-leading Shenzhen companies. Mr Gu Qingshan, Chief Technology Officer at Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance, outlined the part user-centred concepts, and A.I. technology had played in Ping An's meteoric rise to become one of the top three global financial services companies. Mr Jim Lai, Vice President & Head of Financial Technology at Tencent Group, talked about trends driving new frontier technologies such as mobile payments. And Ms Qiu Tingting, Senior Director, Digital Transformation Consulting Department for telecommunications giant Huawei, spoke of the profound effects digital transformation and 5G mobile communications will have on businesses and on daily life.

Swire China Conference delegates visited the headquarters of Ping An, Tencent and Huawei (pictured), as well as the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone.

Swire China Conference delegates visited the headquarters of Ping An, Tencent (lefttop) and Huawei (rightbottom), as well as the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone.

During the afternoon, senior executives from Swire's property, aviation, beverages and trading & industrial divisions took part in a roundtable discussion chaired by JS&S (HK)'s Director Public Affairs, James Tong, and shared their insights under the theme "Championing Innovation in Swire". [See Centre Stage.]

Conference host, Ivan Chu, Chairman of John Swire & Sons (China), provided the welcome speech and also wrapped up the conference, noting the group now stood poised on the brink of an exciting new era of innovation and opportunity. The event was followed by a reception dinner, at which Mr Swire and Mr Chu presented prizes to winners of the "2018 Swire Innovation Star" Staff WeChat Video Contest.

(Left to right) Swire Pacific Development Director, David Cogman, Swire Pacific Finance Director, Michelle Low, Swire Properties Chief Executive, Guy Bradley, Baroness Dunn, Merlin Swire, Ivan Chu and Pat Healy, Swire Beverages Managing Director, make a toast to the future at the reception dinner.
(Left to right) Swire Pacific Development Director, David Cogman, Swire Pacific Finance Director, Michelle Low, Swire Properties Chief Executive, Guy Bradley, Baroness Dunn, Merlin Swire, Ivan Chu and Pat Healy, Swire Beverages Managing Director, make a toast to the future at the reception dinner.


Swire Guangdong Coca-Cola (West) won the 2018
Swire Guangdong Coca-Cola (West) won the 2018 "Swire Innovation Star" Staff WeChat Video Contest with their innovative use of mobile app analytics and real-time data reporting to increase sales and performance.

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Steamships marks centenary
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Visit to Shenzhen and Beijing
Visit to Shenzhen and Beijing
Swire China Conference 2018 – Innovate Into the Future
Swire China Conference 2018 – Innovate Into the Future
Visit to Sichuan
Visit to Sichuan
International Business Leaders' Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai
International Business Leaders' Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai
Swire Pacific privatizes HAECO
Swire Pacific privatizes HAECO
Board appointments
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Senior management appointment
Senior management appointment
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Swire News 2019 January Issue
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