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Confucian entrepreneurs seek to deepen global connections

By Liu Hui | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-28 09:04

Chinese Confucian values are expected to create a win-win situation among global entrepreneurs while serving and influencing the international community at large, said experts at a forum on Saturday in Beijing.

The two-day meeting at Peking University focused on inspiring the spirit of Confucian entrepreneurs and keeping a variety of global entrepreneurs connected.

The virtues of Confucianism, such as benevolence, tolerance and sympathy, do not run counter to the basic principles of the market economy and democracy, said Professor Tu Weiming, who has been involved in Confucius research for more than 40 years. He said the Confucian idea of reciprocity is congenial to dialogue among civilizations.

According to Tu, Confucianism is proved perfectly compatible with modernity in some Asian nations, like South Korea, Japan and Singapore. South Korea is home to 20 Confucius Institutes, the highest number among Asian countries. He said he believes the philosophy's ethics have largely been a positive influence on the nation, despite some misunderstandings in political and business circles.

Being immersed in the culture that highlights righteousness, Confucian entrepreneurs have embraced a great sense of responsibility that drives them to not compete for profit only, but for excellence, Tu said.

The Confucian thinking of long-term orientation allows Chinese entrepreneurs to deal with a financial decision by planning into the future rather than enjoying the short-term benefits here and now, according to research released last year

It is advisable to study Confucius' thoughts on global economy, as the GDP contributed by the Confucian entrepreneurs worldwide reached as high as $1.9 billion in 2016, said Xiang Bing, the founding dean of the Beijing-headquartered Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. "That's much higher than the EU's and the US' contribution to the global economy."

The rising economic contribution made by the Confucian entrepreneurs, particularly Chinese, enables the group to work on the more important issues beyond business while helping to build "a community of shared future for mankind," Xiang added.

Today's entrepreneur is much different from the "trader" that sometimes defined the buesiness people thousands of years ago were tagged with negative words, like "cheat" and "hook". "Nowadays, they are innovators, decision-makers and risk takers, as well as permanent runners," said Christoph Stueckelberger, president and founder of the Geneva-based global ethics network for applied ethics, Globethic.

Seeking common ground and showing respect could help Confucian entrepreneurs who are mostly from Asian countries, and Christian entrepreneurs with a western background better serve better the world, Stueckelberger said.

Please contact the writer at liuhui1@chinadaily.com.cn

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