Great Wall Club

Left to right: Wang "Mary" Qun, Translator, Beijing Foreign Studies University; Chelsea Collier, Editor-At-Large; Howie Huang, Vice President Head of Technology, Great Wall Club; Jack Bienko, Deputy for Entrepreneurship Education, US Small Business Administration; Yuanmeng "Ivy" Cai, Translator, Beijing Foreign Studies University

By Chelsea Collier, Editor-At-Large

What happens when you bring together tens of thousands of people focused on mobile Internet technology? Cross-border cooperation and an accelerated pace for innovation.

I had the honor to meet with Mr. Howie Huang, Vice President Head of Technology for the Great Wall Club (GWC) in Beijing and had a chance to learn about how GWC has created the world’s top private invitation-only affiliate network, launched the world’s largest and most influential mobile Internet industry event – the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) and a wide range of other events, organizations and hubs designed to leverage technology to create positive change in the world.

Their product portfolio is vast and includes:

  • GMIC — leading global mobile Internet conference
  • RobotX — the leading global co-working space focusing on artificial intelligence (AI)
  • G-Summit — a science conference bringing together top scientists, tech executives and investors
  • G-Startup — a global early stage startup competition investing $1M to innovators to change the world.
  • GHome, GFund and more…

But even with this comprehensive scope, their member network – the G-Network – is their core focus. Seventy-percent of their members are Chinese companies and the remaining 30% are based around global stations to include New York, Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangalore, Silicon Valley, Sao Paulo and Taipei. As listed on the GWC website, “The industry is committed to link innovation elite and business leaders to explore international business cooperation platform to build, transfer the authority of philosophy and forward-looking ideas.”

Mr. Huang echoed the sentiment that I have heard consistently throughout my time here in China, that they are incredibly interested in sharing information and best practices for mutual benefit. He has lived in the US and Canada and worked for Microsoft in Beijing. His daughter was born in the US, and he has now returned to China to participate in the technology innovation boom and contribute his ideas and experience.

We spoke about China’s past, the future and what US-China partnership really means. He had a piece of advice for US companies wanting to do business in China: know your market. Corporations like Microsoft who have invested for many years in understanding the business community, the consumer and the culture, will see some success. Companies who expect to dash in and gobble up market share without truly understanding the nuance of this complex country will inevitably go home. “They don’t do well because they don’t understand,” says Huang. Hopefully with the help of GWC, education about doing business in China will continue to expand as there is tremendous opportunity for foreign investment.

As is with many of the things I’ve experienced in China, the volume of GWC is impressive. The company-based member network and associated conferences, events and co-working spaces creates a platform for mobile and Internet tech-enabled innovation across tens of thousands of people – entrepreneurs, investors, students and corporate leaders.

In many of my conversations about smart cities, there is a real lack of focus on mobile Internet innovation and the corresponding network investment. I plan on staying in touch with Howie and the GWC Club as they are clearly leading the way and convening the top experts and entrepreneurs.


Get social with GWC: @theGMIC.