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Fresh business ideas impress prince

By Zhang Yangfei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-02 07:49
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Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, poses with winners of Pitch@Palace China, part of a global entrepreneurship competition that took place in Beijing on Friday. [ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, said he has seen "some incredible entrepreneurial activities going on in China", at Pitch@Palace China, part of a global entrepreneurship competition that took place in Beijing on Friday.

Three winning ideas from Chinese entrepreneurs focused on self-driving technology, a smart vending machine with artificial intelligence technology, and the craftsmanship of seamstresses from poor mountainous regions. They will represent China in the global final competition of Pitch@Palace, which will take place this December in the United Kingdom.

A total of 42 entrepreneurial pitches were selected, covering artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, big data, new materials and new energy. Each pitch was delivered in a three-minute presentation and had to win the favor of the audience of about 500, including technical experts, investors, entrepreneurs and officials from China and the UK.

The founder of Pitch@Palace, Prince Andrew, said in an opening speech that "if we are going to be future successful and diverse economies, we are going to need entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial businesses."

He added that Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK in 2015 has helped create a golden era of Sino-UK relationships that promoted "people-to-people contact and entrepreneurship support."

Xi met with Prince Andrew on Tuesday afternoon. Xi said that closer cooperation for innovation between China and the UK would help achieve mutual benefits and harvest win-win results for the Sino-UK relationship in the golden era.

Pitch@Palace was founded in 2014 to help entrepreneurs build access and connectivity around the world. It creates a global platform for entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses to seek potential supporters, including investors, mentors and business partners.

It has been held in 14 different countries and regions and entered China last year. The global event has helped Chinese entrepreneurs meet with industrial leaders from China and the UK and exchange business resources between the countries.

Prince Andrew said that the event was put on for Chinese businesses and entrepreneurs "in China, with China and for China" and he would be more than happy to help if there is an opportunity for Chinese businesses to get into the wider world.

"If it's going to enable businesses both from the UK and businesses from China to work together or to operate in each other's countries, then that's what I'm hoping that will happen," he added.

Zhang Yangfei contributed to this story.

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