entrepereneurs without borders across eurasia... whatever happened to eurasia vision summer 2018 - youtube silkroad4.0
The coronavirus epidemic has not only had a huge impact on the global economy but also affected the traditional business models and international exchanges based on the movement of people. Faced with the new reality that humans and viruses may coexist for a long time, many international cooperation projects based on the “Belt and Road” initiative are actively exploring online business models, and while responding to challenges with digitalization, they have obtained new development opportunities.
Recently, our reporter interviewed Dr. Philipe Reinisch, initiator of the "Silk Road 4.0" project. Dr. Reinisch launched a Silk Road expedition in 2018, riding a high-tech motorcycle from Vienna over 15,000 kilometers and arriving in China after more than 4 months. Through this "Silk Road 4.0" trip, he not only tested the scientific and technological achievements developed by the partner companies. But he also successfully brought these scientific and technological projects to China, setting up a network for scientific and technological cooperation between China and Europe, producing remarkable results.
Dr. Reinisch originally planned to organize the project again this year, expanding the original network, but the sudden new corona epidemic disrupted the original plan. It also made him start to rethink the model of promoting Sino-European technology cooperation.
Dr. Reinisch said that the original version of "Silk Road 4.0" he planned to launch this year is a commercial project that connects Asia and Europe and aims to promote China-Europe scientific and technological cooperation. Participants can choose cars, public transportation, trucks or motorcycle as a means of transportation - in the meaning of a "tech caravan tour" using a high-tech fleet. The expedition trip will start from Austria, traverse the whole of Europe, pass through many countries in the "Silk Road Economic Belt", and finally arrive in China. The vision is to have spontaneous participants joining at any time during the journey. Participants use high-tech travel technology to stay connected with each other.
The project facilitates contacts with local experts in different fields of science and technology through various activities in multiple locations. It will discuss the latest trends in the high-tech field, expedite in-depth exchanges on possible future cooperation projects, and support a true Silk Road vision with professional consulting services.
However, the sudden new coronavirus epidemic has changed the original plan. Especially the business model based on "technology + travel" has to be temporarily shelved due to the tightening of entry and exit policies of countries around the world. This required Dr. Reinisch to pivot the project and to launch an "Online Silk Road" campaign. The specific form is to bring together emerging technology companies in an online format to promote their latest technology products in various countries. Examples for possible technologies include artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, green tech, or next-generation battery systems. This online travel plan begins in September this year, starting from Europe and ending in China while traversing the entire Eurasian continent. Through "virtual visits" in countries related to the "Belt and Road", it connects participating members with experts from local companies. Together, companies have the opportunity to develop scientific and technological projects with local partners to achieve scientific and technological excellence.
Dr. Reinisch said that in the cooperation of emerging technology, mutual trust is of utmost importance because in the early stage people often don't know whether these innovative projects will succeed. True trust is built on long-term, uninterrupted personal contact with each other. But this turns even more difficult during the epidemic, especially when the two parties originate from different cultural backgrounds. Face-to-face interactions in interpersonal communication are difficult to replace. This is the biggest challenge of the project. So, how can people build trust through digital communication? The answer is through time spent together and by shared experiences and successes. When people need to complete a project together, unfamiliar partners will gradually understand, learn, and ultimately build trust through these common goals. Although the new coronavirus epidemic has had an impact on "Silk Road 4.0", their goal of promoting China-EU scientific and technological cooperation remains unchanged, except that the method will be changed from face-to-face communication to an online interchange.
In addition to the impact of the epidemic itself, the changes in international relations caused by the epidemic and its collateral effects are also strenuous challenges for any scientific and technological cooperation. Dr. Reinisch said that due to the outbreak and other reasons, in the past few months disputes between some countries have been escalating. Numerous negative reports have caused people to be cautious and even skeptical when interacting across borders. Many countries have appeared to distrust products and partners of other countries. To win back the confidence of foreign partners, people have to jointly work diligently. Therefore, professional project management needs to show more predictable and sustainable win-win goals in order to be sustainable during this current global trust crisis. Besides that, it is also very important to adopt a communication method that suits the corresponding cultural background, as the means and habits of communication between the East and the West are not the same. Another major challenge comes from different or even incompatible innovation ecosystems. An example is the data exchange between China and Europe. Europeans need to switch from the traditional asynchronous mail-based business communication approach to WeChat or other advanced tools for real-time information exchange when communicating with Chinese organizations. Therefore, teaming up with a partner with a practical and proven knowledge in China-EU scientific and technological cooperation is a necessary pre-condition for the safe and effective completion of any project.
Dr. Reinisch said that his personal main focus of interest is now how interpersonal relationships will develop in the future in this post-epidemic era, and which supporting social mechanisms and technological tools will take the lead. He hopes to bridge the cultural and technological gap with his global "Online Silk Road" vision and to facilitate an exchange between China and European partners at eye level. When the conditions permit again, he will restart the "Silk Road 4.0" journey in the future. Although digital tools and virtual online travel can help people communicate with cross-cultural and cross-regional partners, after all, there is no tool that can completely replace real face-to-face interaction between people.
(Our newspaper, Vienna, July 29th, by Jiao Shousong, our correspondent in Vienna)
Michael Wizniak 2nd degree connection2ndGlobal Business Strategy | Geopolitics & Global Value Chains | Professor | Veteran | Centurions - Class of 2020