CEIBS Pando Association Launched during Family-World Forum

December 8-9, 2014. Shenzhen - The CEIBS Kaifeng Centre for Family Heritage (CKCFH) held a two-day “Family-World Forum” in which renowned family business scholars together with first- and second-generation entrepreneurs from Chinese family businesses explored family business development and succession and the traits of family culture. The speakers at the event included Ms. Hu Hong from the Kaifeng Foundation, CEIBS Vice President and Co-Dean Prof. Zhang Weijiong, along with Co-Director of the CKCFH Professor Oliver Rui, and Professor of Philosophy from National Taiwan University Yuan Juzheng who each delivered a keynote speech.


A launch ceremony for the CEIBS Pando Association (CPA) was held during the forum, and more than 50 CKCFH members, entrepreneurs, and academics attended. Launching the CPA is part of the CKCFH’s efforts to build a platform for family business owners to exchange ideas, share experiences, and broaden their knowledge.


The CPA derives its name from the Pando Tree. Pando means “I Spread” in Latin and is the name for a species of tree also known as ‘The Trembling Giant’. Pando trees usually have massive root systems, making it possible that an entire forest can grow from a single tree. Having existed for around 80,000 years, they are one of the most ancient species of tree on earth.


Like its namesake, the CEIBS Pando Association aims to share with members the importance of being as steady as a stand of ancient trees, reaching great heights and sustained prosperity through a smooth leadership transition.


We hope that the CPA will steadily flourish in the years to come. The Pando tree symbolizes the continuation of family bloodlines, the inheritance of family spirit and culture, as well as the long-lasting prosperity of family businesses. It’s also the acronym for “Passion, Achievement, Navigation, Diversity, and Originality”, attributes that the CPA is committed to helping family businesses achieve.


An Exciting Yacht Voyage

 

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CKCFH members and entrepreneur guests arrived at the Longcheer Yacht Club in Shenzhen Daya Bay at noon on December 8, where they participated in a dialogue with CKCFH Executive Director Ms. Feng Yuan (EMBA2009). After posing for a group photo at the dock to commemorate the establishment of the CPA, these first- and second-generation entrepreneurs together with the scholars in attendance boarded the yachts Jinrongie and Linghaihui and enjoyed a sail from Daya Bay to Xunliao Bay.


Family Heritage and Family Business Succession
 

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The Family-World Forum was held in the Banquet Hall of the Sheraton Huizhou Beach Resort. Ms. Feng Yuan kicked off the event with a speech entitled, “Journeys to the Other Shore”. Like the yacht voyage, Ms. Feng said that life is like a journey across the ocean; every enterprise, family, and person is trying to find the best route to the opposite shore. Following nearly three decades of booming economic growth, many family businesses have achieved stable scale and strong growth momentum and seem to have already reached the opposite shore. However, some first-generation entrepreneurs feel that their journey to family heritage and family business succession has just begun; passing the baton to the second generation has become the ‘shore’ they need to reach. Ms. Feng said that going “from one shore to the other” is really a journey from thought to action and requires scientific methods of navigation. The CKCFH is committed to building a Noah’s Ark of wisdom that will help provide safe passage for family businesses in their journey. Through its extensive research network, the CKCFH is helping to decode the unique genes of business families, so that entrepreneurs can discover, extract, create, and pass down their family culture and values and ensure that their businesses and their families achieve sustained prosperity.


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CEIBS Vice President and Co-Dean Prof. Zhang Weijiong was next to speak. He welcomed the guests on behalf of the school, and shared his insights on the development opportunities for private enterprises. He believes that family business succession and cultural heritage are crucial because family businesses are an important pillar of the private economy.


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Ms. Hu Hong from the Kaifeng Foundation then addressed the forum. She explained the reasons behind the founding of the Kaifeng Foundation and emphasized its dedication to ensuring smooth family business succession. She said that every entrepreneur must think about family succession and heritage. She also stressed the importance of educating future generations.


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Prof. Yuan Juzheng from National Taiwan University then gave a keynote speech on modern family values and their ethical significance. He spoke about how family status has changed over time, and said that family harmony contributes to smooth succession, and continuation of family ties is an important basis for family business development and succession. He also elaborated on family units under American democracy compared to European aristocracy, pointing out that in a system of free will the family unit takes emotional individualism into consideration.
 

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CKCFH Co-Director and Professor of Finance and Accounting at CEIBS Oliver Rui then gave a keynote speech on how family businesses can achieve sustained prosperity. He compared two types of enterprises, those characterized by rapid growth and constant mergers and acquisitions and those which have remained under family control for more than two centuries, known as Henokiens. He walked the audience through examples of four European and Japanese companies to illustrate the reasons for the successes of century-old family businesses. He said those who survive over the long term typically have their own unique family philosophy and values, as well as business ties and political connections that can sustain several generations. In his opinion, family businesses have to overcome roadblocks in three areas — family, financial structure, and ownership — to become century-old enterprises. He concluded by saying that to ensure a successful succession family businesses must “preserve their core while adjusting their periphery”.


Roundtable Discussion and Intergenerational Conversation


Following the speeches, Professors Yuan Juzheng, Oliver Rui, and Zhang Weijiong held a roundtable discussion with two first-generation entrepreneurs and three second-generation entrepreneurs. The panellists all shared their insights on corporate development and family heritage.
 

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For the final session in the forum, Ms. Feng Yuan sparked a heated discussion by posing the question, “Will you interfere with your children's marriage?” Most first- and second-generation entrepreneurs expressed their belief that marrying those who hold the same values and philosophies can help promote family harmony and family business development.


Golf Playing and Company Visit
 

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The following day, Ms. Feng Yuan led some of the CPA members on an outing to the Wind Valley Golf Club for the association’s first golf match. Members enjoyed playing a round of golf under the clear blue skies, and were inspired to form the Pando Tree Golf Team.


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At the same time, Prof. Oliver Rui led a group of CPA members on a company visit to Mindray Medical International. Participants were impressed by Mindray’s strong focus on high-end healthcare and inspired by Mindray’s business management expertise.