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China Embracing Innovation Conference

25 October 2019

A large and high-profile Chinese business and academic delegation joined international speakers, local civic dignitaries and other university and industry representatives at on Friday 19th October attended the 1st China Embracing Innovation Conference, which is the 3rd Conference on this theme previously held around the world, held at the New Beacon Campus.

The conference was themed around innovation and entrepreneurship and linked to the ‘project of the century’, China’s ambitious multi-billion pound ‘Belt and Road’ initiative launched in 2013 to facilitate China’s economic growth and boost global trade as a basis for creating opportunities for UK and Staffordshire-based educational institutions and businesses to engage in cross-border collaborations, knowledge-sharing and ‘east meets west’ management practices and philosophies. This conference was held against the background where significant progress has been made in creating the academic setting and innovation and entrepreneurship ambiance and bringing the higher education back at New Beacon Campus (NBC), Stafford.

Since early 2019, NBC has successfully launched Beacon Business School, Beacon School of China Studies and Beacon School of Tourism & Hospitality along with Research Institute for West & East Management, Research Institute for Belt & Road, and the two residential colleges – Beacon Innovation College and Beacon Entrepreneurship College. NBC’s vision is to create a globally-connected university in business, management and innovation, tackling the challenges and opportunities between west and east, developing future leaders and managers. The education of innovation, entrepreneurship and global mind-set is embedded in its goals and curriculum of teaching and learning. NBC carries forward embracing innovation in its corporate strategy and every activities of the campus and highlights management innovation, system innovation, talent innovation, campus innovation.

Professor Richard Li-Hua, President of New Beacon Campus, who was the Chair of the conference, shared strategic insights from his past extensive experiences of this in different countries of the innovation conference and acclaimed research around the theory of China embracing innovation. After elaboration of the significance and definition of the innovation theory, he set out the importance of the four pillars of: embracing contradictions, heading with the times, seeking common ground while maintaining differences, and creating harmony and tolerance as being crucial to the delivery of social, political, economic and environmental sustainability.  Professor Li-Hua also talked about the complementary role of these pillars in “creating drivers of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship to deliver business opportunities and strengthen future economic growth.”

In his opening ‘China Embracing Innovation’ conference address, Stafford MP, Jeremy Lefroy welcomed delegates to Staffordshire and highlighted the importance of “seeing people come together more than ever” during these turbulent times. Drawing upon his experience as a Trade Envoy to the Prime Minister, he also commented on the importance of “seeking common ground while maintaining the differences” in the current political climate globally and the delivery of sustainable development. He called for the UK and China in the golden era to work together to “do much more with much less and make less impact on our global environmental footprint.”

One of the important highlights of the conference was the announcement of an exciting strategic partnership between New Beacon Campus and Xi’an Peihua University which will lead to one of China’s highest profile universities setting up its first overseas campus in the UK. At a plaque unveiling ceremony, it was confirmed that the co-operation between the two institutions will provide a platform not only for enhancing Sino-UK education as part of a mutually beneficial collaboration of internationalisation, global engagement, innovation and entrepreneurship for the enhancement of the student journey, but also promoting the exchange of science and technology between China and UK.

Following a fascinating presentation on the institution’s educational heritage and 91-year links with four generations of his family, Dr Bo Jiang, Chairman of Peihua University reiterated a commitment “to build a bridge and work across borders to offer globally-respected programmes by building a fifth campus in the UK to complement the fourth already established in China.”



Huawei is regarded as a leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices. Their UK Managing Director, Robert Yang gave an update on Huawei’s cross-industry collaboration strategy to create customer value and accelerate industry development as a result of ‘opportunities in service innovation enabled by 5G’. In the meantime, Robert expressed a strong interest for the involvement of building Beacon Octagon Innovation Centre at New Beacon Campus.

Other keynote speakers included the Vice Dean of Henley Business School, Professor Yinshan Tang who outlined the “foundation elements of management from a cross-culture viewing point”. He stressed the importance of integration and development of west and east management practice, management theories and management after the elaboration the commonalities and the differences in terms of management of environment, people and task between west and east.

This conference included a previous successful UK-China Business School Deans’ Conference on the 17th and concluded with an overview of New Beacon’s plans to invest in the Beacon Octagon Innovation Centre and a PhD Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum. Please see the details of separate news release of UK-China Business School Deans’ Conference and Beacon Octagon PhD Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum.

A post-conference gala dinner was hosted in the Café Society on the ground floor of the Beacon Building by Peihua University’s Dr Bo Jiang and NBC’s Professor Richard Li-Hua.



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Notes to Editors: 

In November 2016, New Beacon Campus (NBC) acquired a 50-acre campus in Stafford, Staffordshire.  The site, now known as the Stafford Education and Enterprise Park (SEEP) is a unique campus destination where New Beacon is committed to establishing itself as a  globally-connected, alterative provider in the higher education sector.

The China Embracing Innovation Conference was organised and hosted by New Beacon Campus in association with Outlook China and the China Association for Management of Technology (CAMOT) with support from Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council.