SHANGHAI, China — It has been said that entrepreneurs are the new rock stars. And though the likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Jack Ma and Oprah aren’t the crowd-surfing type, they don’t fall short where groupies and magazine covers are concerned.
While many of the world’s most outspoken entrepreneurs continue to make their voices heard in 280 characters or less, what happens between the eureka moment and IPO — and beyond — remains a mystery for laymen and aspiring founders alike.
It is a fascinating time to focus on Chinese entrepreneurs. Although a growing number of Chinese start-ups and business leaders are beginning to outpace their rivals abroad, much less is known about them than their counterparts in Silicon Valley or western fashion capitals. Hence, the theme for this year’s BoF China Summit: 'Modern Entrepreneurship.'
“China’s rapid rise on the global stage is a testament to its entrepreneurs. The summit was created not only to chronicle and amplify the growing influence of the country's pioneers, but to provide a platform for them to interact and push the dialogue forward,” says Imran Amed, founder and editor-in-chief of The Business of Fashion.
“And as we mark the fifth anniversary of the launch of our Chinese-language edition BoF China, we’re excited to delve deeper into the stories behind some of the most talked-about start-ups in the world,” Amed adds.
This year marks The Business of Fashion’s third annual global gathering for China’s captains of industry. The BoF China Summit bears the Chinese name 论道 “Lundao,” which refers to the use of dialogue to distil meaning. The 2019 summit comes at an interesting milestone for the country. While it has been the biggest luxury market for some time, Greater China will overtake the US as the world’s largest fashion market this year.
The summit was created not only to chronicle and amplify the growing influence of the country's pioneers, but to provide a platform for them to interact and push the dialogue forward.
Last year, the BoF China Summit explored 'New Frontiers' facing Chinese and global business leaders across fashion, retail and technology. The likes of Gucci president and chief executive Marco Bizzarri, president of Tmall Fashion and Luxury for Alibaba Group Jessica Liu, and the Ermenegildo Zegna Group chief executive Ermenegildo Zegna took to the stage to discuss hot-button topics from the dominance of China's ecommerce platforms to big data and sustainability in mass manufacturing.
Held at the HKRI Taikoo Hui Event Centre in Shanghai’s Jingan district during Shanghai Fashion Week on March 28, the summit will delve into the stories behind some of the world's buzziest fashion and retail start-ups, as told by their leaders and entrepreneurs.
This year’s summit stage will welcome pioneers across luxury, retail, tech and beauty, such as BoF 500 members LVMH group president of Greater China Andrew Wu and Sankuanz creative director Shangguan Zhe. The speaker line-up will also include Moda Operandi’s chief executive Ganesh Srivats and co-founder and chief brand officer Lauren Santo Domingo, as well as streetwear company Clot’s co-founder Edison Chen and visual artist and Nike collaborator Ton Mak.
Joining them will be the business minds behind some of China’s top fashion and retail start-ups: Xiaohongshu’s brand account general manager Gary Shi, menswear brand incubator Magmode’s chief executive Cai Chongda, and creative agency OIB China’s founder and general manager Wu Zhigang. Moderating discussions on stage will be Modern Media's group style editorial director and sustainable fashion pioneer Shaway Yeh, CBN Weekly's editor-in-chief Zhao Jia, as well as BoF's own founder and chief executive Imran Amed.
The BoF China Summit is an invitation-only event. If you are a BoF Professional member and would like to register interest to attend, please click here, and stay tuned for future announcements revealing additional speakers.
Speakers and moderators confirmed so far include:
Edison Chen, the co-founder and creative director of Hong Kong-based streetwear brand and sneaker boutique Clot. The actor and rapper turned entrepreneur bridges streetwear culture between China and the west through runway shows at New York Fashion Week and collaborations with the likes of Nike and Fragment.
Cai Chongda, a writer, designer and the chief executive of Magmode, a menswear brand incubator that has been aiding the growth of home-grown brands such as Seanbysean and Mattitude since 2015.
Ton Mak, Shanghai-based visual artist and illustrator behind Flabjacks — a world of odd and quirky inanimate beings brought to life. Mak has collaborated with the likes of Gucci, Lexus, Nike and Vans, and injected their products with her signature colourful figures.
Lauren Santo Domingo, the co-founder and chief brand officer of luxury e-tailer Moda Operandi, the only luxury ecommerce platform allowing customers to pre-order pieces straight from the runway.
Gary Shi, the brand account general manager of China’s leading social ecommerce platform Xiaohongshu. Shi helms platform operations and brand partnerships for platform’s dynamic and transactional community, whose impressive growth has attracted brand partners such as L'Oréal, Tom Ford Beauty, and Tiffany & Co.
Ganesh Srivats, the chief executive of Moda Operandi — a position that he has held since August 2018. He was previously the vice president at Tesla and has served various roles over the span of a decade at Burberry, where he worked on strategy, business development, customer insights, marketing and retail.
Andrew Wu, the LVMH group president of Greater China, who overseas more than 60 brands in luxury’s largest market, from Dior to Louis Vuitton. Shanghai-born and raised, Wu is one of the most knowledgeable executives working in the country.
Wu Zhigang, the founder and general manager of OIB China, a Beijing-based creative agency that focuses on branding and marketing for consumer goods. With over 20 years of experience in the field, Wu has consulted global brands such as P&G China and Shiseido.
Shaway Yeh, the group style editorial director of Modern Media Group, and one of China’s most influential media and opinion leaders on fashion, design and culture. Yeh is also the co-creative director of the Chinese edition of Nowness and founder of Yehyehyeh, an agency that develops creative solutions through sustainability and innovation.
Shangguan Zhe, the creative director of Chinese streetwear brand Sankuanz, which he founded with two friends and 3,000 yuan (around $450) in 2013. Shangguan’s collections have been showcased on runways from London to Paris, and he has launched successful collaborations with Puma and Vans.
Zhao Jia is the editor in chief of CBN Weekly, a business magazine under the CBN network, China's cross-media, cross-regional, cross-sectoral professional financial information provider. Zhao has over 10 years' experience in finance reporting, and extensive insight into the ever-changing landscape of Chinese business and economics.
Shanghai Fashion Week is the Strategic Partner of the BoF China Summit
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is the Associate Partner of the BoF China Summit
HKRI Taikoo Hui is the Venue Partner of the BoF China Summit
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