Experts spoke to students about business opportunities in China during BYU’s first annual China Conference.
The student-organized event took place in the Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center on Saturday, Sept. 26. The conference’s five speakers included an international business advisor, an international businessman and a China foreign relations expert.
The keynote speaker was Timothy Stratford, an international business advisor who has lived most of his adult life in the greater China region. He addressed students about trust between China and the United States.
Stratford said there are two dimensions to trust: breadth and depth. He said it is important to strengthen U.S.-China trust in both dimensions so the countries can deeply rely on each other on a variety of topics.
He said individuals can do their part to build trust by showing their humanity.
“If you think about yourself as a brick in the system, that doesn’t emphasize the human element,” Stratford said. “On both sides, we need to let our hearts and our humanity reach out to the other side.”
Another speaker was Dr. John Chen, an Asia media and international relations authority. He spoke about opportunities available in China for Mandarin-speaking returned missionaries.
Chen said these RM’s best opportunities will come from working for Chinese companies in China, the United States or Europe. He also said the RM’s experience and abilities will set them apart.
“There are not many people who speak Mandarin or who have the right mindset,” Chen said. “There are not many people who are good at communications or who adapt easily.”
The other speakers addressed students about the micromanagement of Chinese business, human resource management in China and Utah’s relation with China.
Conference participants included business majors and RMs who served in Taiwan or Hong Kong.
Spencer Siebach, a junior majoring in global supply chain management, said he attended the conference to learn about public policy and business in China. He said he was also interested in hearing from the speakers.
“These are very prominent speakers,” Siebach said. “I wanted to learn about their experiences in China and how I could imitate their patterns.”
Students asked the speakers questions following each presentation, and there was an hour for networking at the end of the conference.
Saturday’s event was only the first BYU China Conference, but event organizers and sponsors said this will be an annual conference moving forward.