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Second Annual New Economy Forum Convened Over 500 World Leaders and Global CEOs at Historic Conference Held in Beijing to Address Urgent Challenges and Enact Change

November 22, 2019, Beijing – The 2019 New Economy Forum concluded its second annual convening today, held for the first time in Beijing. More than 500 of the world’s most influential business executives, technology innovators, government officials and academics gathered for an unprecedented open exchange of ideas on the global economic transitions now underway.

Public and private sector leaders from over 45 countries and regions came together for a robust program of news-making speeches, provocative plenary and breakout sessions, and productive bilateral meetings and workshops that took on the most urgent disruptions facing our planet as the global economic balance shifts from West to East. Challenges tackled at the forum included the dawning age of digital currency, the need for ethical standards in biotechnology, the frightening prospect of ecological collapse, and the rising tide of protectionism, populism and nationalism.

In his opening remarks on the closing day of the forum, Bloomberg Media Chief Executive Officer Justin B. Smith said, “These challenges, whether imminent or on the horizon, are why we are here at Yanqi Lake. I’m personally convinced that in an impersonal and globalized world we must find strength and purpose in these types of intimate communities.”

Earlier in 2019, the New Economy Forum issued an open call for the private sector to contribute game-changing and scalable solutions to a global effort led by the New Economy Forum. The lead collaborators who attended this year’s convening to build coalitions included:

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, represented by Michael Wiegand and Himanshu Nagpal
  • Global Trade Professionals Alliance, represented by Lisa McAuley
  • IN2, represented by Mary Wenzel
  • Mastercard’s Humanitarian and Development group, represented by Raman Narayanswamy

Throughout 2020, these coalitions of CEOs, entrepreneurs, practitioners and policy-makers will collaborate on the following issues: unleashing agricultural productivity, addressing physical climate risk, unlocking inclusive trade, expanding access to secure digital forms of ID, advancing smart cities and shaping next-generation digital public infrastructure.

Key highlights of the 2019 New Economy Forum included:

  • China’s Vice-President Wang Qishan’s warned against a Cold War mentality and zero-sum game, and reiterated China’s position in backing globalization and multilateralism during his opening keynote address on day one.
  • Dr. Henry A Kissinger, Honorary Chair of the New Economy Forum and former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, said the U.S. and China were in the “foothills of a Cold War,” and warned that the conflict could be worse than World War I if left to run unconstrained. “That makes it, in my view, especially important that a period of relative tension be followed by an explicit effort to understand what the political causes are and a commitment by both sides to try to overcome those. It is far from being too late for that, because we are still in the foothills of a cold war.” Kissinger said China and the U.S. were countries of a magnitude exceeding that of the Soviet Union and America, and that the world’s two largest economies, who are locked in a protracted trade war, “are bound to step on each other’s toes all over the world, in the sense of being conscious of the purposes of the other.”
  • Hank Paulson, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury and Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the New Economy Forum, discussed his concerns about the deterioration of the relationships between the U.S. and China and said, “Decoupled economies doom themselves to multidimensional conflict because, once decoupled, they are much less likely to work jointly with their newfound adversary on other issues and interests. If we decouple economically, good luck trying to work together to combat common foes such as nuclear proliferation, climate change, global pandemics, or any of the other threats to global stability.”
  • Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates said he was “more passionate about the value of engagement than ever” and worried about those promoting a U.S.-China decoupling. Still, he didn’t see how such bifurcation would be feasible in the technology sphere, where research is published across geographical boundaries. “AI is very hard to put back in the bottle, and whoever has the open system will get so vastly ahead” of those who try to close it.”

The 2019 forum is supported by ten partner companies and their corporate leadership, including: Mike Roman, Chairman of the Board and CEO, 3M; H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, United Arab Emirates, and Group CEO, ADNOC; Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited; Darren W. Woods, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil; Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEx; Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive, HSBC; Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman, Hyundai Motor Group; Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard; Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Executive Chairman, Tata Sons. This year’s forum also welcomes its first Chinese Partner, Yu Liang, Chairman, Vanke. McKinsey and Company is the exclusive knowledge partner.

To view all of the plenary sessions from the 2019 New Economy Forum, please visit


To see the full program and list of speakers, go to


Photos from the event are on


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