March 7, 2018
China Days highlights modern China and its digital transformation
5G and real-time holographic imagery, smart cities with driverless cars, and cloud-based wireless robot control. These were just a few of the topics covered during the keynote speech given by Sal Florio, director, human resources at Huawei Technologies during the third annual China Days.
“While in previous years China Days events featured the country’s rich heritage and history, this year’s theme was modern China and its rapid digital transformation, a very interesting topic for our students, faculty and staff,” says Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international). “We are very happy of our long-standing collaboration with the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Calgary.”
Some of the many speakers and guests at the third annual China Days are pictured above rom left: Andrea Lee Morrow, regional manager (Asia Pacific); Wenran Jiang, senior fellow, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia; Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international); Manford Kwan, president, Hong Kong Canada Business Association; Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice-chancellor; Gary Mar, Alberta's former representative in Asia; Consul General Xu Lu, Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Calgary; Sal Florio, director, human resources at Huawei Technologies; Qiao Sun, associate dean, Schulich School of Engineering; Leo W. Seto, senior solution marketing manager, Huawei Technologies; and Jinchang (Tom) Liu, country co-ordinator (China)
Consul General Xu Lu, who recommended the theme, explains that Modern China was selected “to let Canadians better understand what is going on in China right now so that it can place a solid foundation for the enhancement of the bilateral relationship between China and Canada and help both the consulate and university to figure out what we can do together to achieve our co-operative goals.”
To showcase one of the leaders in global information and communications technology (ICT), the consulate arranged for Huawei Canada to travel to Calgary to present on the advances in ICT. Huawei operates in 170 countries, it has 180 thousand employees, and 80,000 of those employees work in research and development. Approximately 15 per cent of Huawei’s sales revenues is invested into research and development; this totals an investment of more than US$60 billion over the past 10 years.
One of Huawei’s 14 research and development centres is located in Ottawa. “We’ve only been in Canada 10 years, but have grown to over 750 employees. We’re investing a lot into research and development in Canada so a lot more job creation is around the corner,” said Florio when asked what excited him about the future. “Some of the areas we will be looking to grow in Canada are 5G, IoT (internet of things), cloud computing and big data.”
Panel discussion gave insights into modern China
Following the lecture, a panel discussion moderated by Gary Mar, Alberta's former representative in Asia, discussed insights into modern China from both a technological and cultural perspective. Panel members included Qiao Sun, associate dean, Schulich School of Engineering; Wenran Jiang, senior fellow, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia; Manford Kwan, president, Hong Kong Canada Business Association; and Sal Florio, director, human resources at Huawei Technologies.
“China has been the largest economy in the world, the exception being the last two centuries. As China is marching toward becoming the largest economy in the world again, it’s something that represents both threat and opportunity to Canadians. I choose to look at it as a great opportunity,” said Mar. “Days like China Days are a great opportunity for people to have a greater understanding of what’s happening in China and what modern China looks like, and they can carve out for themselves what their niche in that opportunity looks like.”
Event supports UCalgary's international strategy
Throughout the evening participants were also able view the photo exhibition on China Today, visit display booths on the programs and see the beautiful calligraphy and Chinese painting demonstrations by Simon (Yat Sing) Wong from the Bamboo Bridge Artists Association. In addition to the lecture, China Days also featured a film screening of Hajab’s Gift by renowned director Liming Chen, who spoke prior to the screening. The film explores the real life of Hajab, a Mongolian musician who plays the Long Tune (Urtiin Duu), one of the central elements of traditional Mongolian music.
The events were organized and sponsored by the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Calgary. Over 150 participants attended the various events. In 2013, China was named a country of emphasis under the University of Calgary’s international strategy. The University of Calgary has 79 agreements with 36 Chinese partners and 982 international students from China on campus as of winter 2018.