- Language Tips
High-tech companies in China and North America took part in Beijing's first "video date" this week, thanks to science and technology NGOs on both sides of the ocean.
In the past two days, 35 technology research groups from Silicon Valley and Toronto sent delegates to attend an overseas video meeting with 35 companies based in Beijing.
Despite a time difference of 12 to 15 hours, the companies had two hours of discussion on the possibilities of cooperation on cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, high-tech agriculture and clean energy.
"This is like an organized video date for the companies, and is the first attempt with the China Association for Science and Technology to promote multinational cooperation on science and technology via video meetings," said Tian Wen, vice-chairman of the Beijing Association for Science and Technology.
According to Tian, the Beijing association has been acting as a bridge between high-tech companies and laboratories.
On the Beijing Overseas Intellectual Portal (coir.org.cn), a website co-sponsored by the association, scientists worldwide can post their latest technologies and companies can search the posting or describe their needs.
"Through the website we had also been cooperating with more than 80 overseas Chinese organizations that we share with the China Association for Science and Technology. As well, dozens of organizations contacted us directly," Tian said.
"This time an NGO based in Silicon Valley and another in Toronto organized the video meeting with us. After the two-day meeting, we will release all the videos on the Internet for anyone interested in related projects," Tian added.
However, as the foreign delegates are overseas Chinese experts who can test the technology in Mandarin, the video was made in Chinese, and Tian said the association does not have adequate manpower or money to produce an English version.
Preparation for the meeting only took two weeks, thanks to the help of other organizations in Beijing.
To facilitate the conference, the website developed new software that allows better communication among multiple participants, for example, allowing both sides to mark slides during a presentation.
"Although developing the software cost some money, we can always use it. In addition, the conference improved the efficiency of overseas cooperation and saved the cost of plane tickets," said Xu Yue, an official with the Beijing Association for Science and Technology and who is also in charge of hosting the conference.
Wang Quan, assistant general manager of Beijing Beifang Jusheng, an investment company specializing in the information industry and Internet technology, said: "China currently has so many venture-capital firms like mine, we have money, we wish to invest in the high-tech industry, but we cannot find qualified projects for investment.
"Since the economic crisis, some small and medium-sized high-tech companies have lacked money for research, so we want to grab the chance to develop the technologies in the Chinese market. What we do not have is a reliable platform providing the information, and here I found one," Wang said.