4-16 June 2000
Delegates departing hotel for meetings
Sunday, 4 June 2000
The delegation arrived in Beijing from their points of origin around the world. The final composition of the delegation included, in addition to members of the Liya International staff, 14 participants from the United States; two from Germany; and one each from Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, and Oman. Delegates from Ghana and Japan will be joining the group at a later stage. The participants represent a wide range of disciplines, interests and perspectives, including members from government, business, and education. Upon arrival, participants were checked into the group's hotel and prepared themselves for the busy week ahead.
Monday, 5 June 2000
After breakfast the group assembled for a briefing session led by Ms. Vittoria Zack of Liya International and Mr. Tony Yustein, ISOC delegation leader. After this brief session, the delegates embarked on a series of site visits throughout the city. The destinations were designed to provide a sampling of some of the Internet businesses in place at the forefront of the the China's fledgling Internet and technology industry.
The first stop was Eastnet (http://www.eastnet.com). EastNet is a tier-2 ISP, operated as a joint venture with China's Ministry of Communications. At this stage of the firm's development, EastNet focuses on providing PPP and high-speed Internet connectivity to business customers, but envisions offering its services to residential consumers in the future. It is at the forefront of providing connectivity to China's population, and is experiencing an annual doubling of its customer base. Currently limited to service in Beijing, EastNet has a nationwide license and hopes to expand to serve customers in other regions of the country in the future. The presentation by Eastnet's President, Ms. Liang Ming, addressed the state of Chinese infrastructure and highlighted some of the opportunities and challenges faced by Internet Service Providers in the country.
Informal discussions at EastNet reception
Other visits included MeetChina.com (http://www.meetchina.com), China's leading business-to-business site. MeetChina.com has met with success in bringing the Internet to many of China's private and state-run industries, and providing Chinese products and services to overseas markets through the Internet. Mr. Richard Wu, President of MeetChina.com, described at length the special nature of the e-commerce environment, and addressed inquiries from delegation members during an an extended question and answer session.
The day was capped off by a reception hosted by EastNet for all participants. Honored guests included representatives from EastNet and China.Net, as well as Mr. Russell Pipe, Co-Chair of the Management Committee of the Center for Information Infrastructure and Economic Development. Mr. Pipe is one of the organizers of the e-commerce meeting to be held the following week in Tianjin, which many of the delegates will be attending. After the reception, many delegates continued one-to-one meetings or visited other sites in Beijing.
Tuesday, 6 June 2000
The entire day would focus on the China Internet Conference and Exhibition 2000, a week-long event which began in the morning at the China International Conference Center. The conference was opened by Mr. Zhang Chunjiang, Deputy Minister of Information Industry of the PRC. Mr. Chunjiang outlined the state of the Internet in China and described some of the measures being undertaken in order to further its growth.
ISOC Chairman and CEO, Don Heath, delivering his keynote address
Mr. Su Jinseng, Director of the Administrative Bureau for Telecommunications of the Ministry, expanded on these topics, providing a detailed presentation on the state of Chinese Internet infrastructure and trends. He stated that the Internet offers exciting opportunities for China, but also poses some significant challenges, such as preservation of Chinese culture. He stated that his government is working to facilitate the growth of the Internet in many ways including developing new Internet legislation and to eliminate existing laws that are not appropriate to new technology, to introduce competition to lower access costs, and to promote the development of an integrated broadband network.
Following Mr. Jinseng, Don Heath, ISOC's Chairman and CEO presented his keynote address. Mr. Heath provided a brief history of the development of the Internet worldwide, and the role of ISOC in this history. Stressing the international nature of ISOC, he described how the organization has expanded its earlier technical focus to increasingly address matters of policy. Mr. Heath expressed his pleasure at the pace of Internet growth in China and the positive steps he witnessed taking place to facilitate further development. He mentioned that the allure of China as a Internet market gives it great power with the rest of the world. In addressing China's role in the "new economy," Mr. Heath described some of the recent developments in e-commerce which will likely be relevant to China in the course of its Internet growth and development. In particular, he described issues under what he described as eight key issues to consider in e-commerce: 1) intellectual property; 2) privacy; 3) taxation; 4) security; 5) e-payments; 6) authentication; 7) harmful content; and 8) infrastructure.
Following Mr. Heath in the morning's keynote schedule was Lai Bing Yong, Senior Vice-President of Motorola, Inc., whose presentation concerned "Bringing Internet into New Life."
The display of China.com, one of many exhibitors at the Conference
The delegation enjoyed lunch at a nearby restaurant, and then reassembled at the China Internet Conference to attend various plenary presentations and other workshops, as well as to view the numerous exhibits from vendors active in the country. Some of the topics addressed later in the afternoon included presentations on wireless technology in China, applying lessons learned in the development of the Internet in Korea to China, and "Preparing China for the Mobile Millennium."
Between sessions the delegates visited exhibits from dozens of Internet-related vendors, ranging from large multinational firms such as Cisco, Fujitsu and Sun to a number of smaller local start-ups. Many of the exhibitors represented Chinese-language variations on well-established models, such as Chinese-language news and information sites organized along themes such as sport and entertainment. One such site is Zhaodaola.com (http://www.zhaodaola.com), a startup Internet lifestyle portal, with a polished organization and presentation reminiscent of the top portals familiar to Internet users in the West.
Other vendors represented an innovative marriage of the Internet and Chinese culture, such as Sinoking.net (http://www.sinoking.net), which offers traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and online medical advice from TCM practitioners to a worldwide audience.
In the evening, the delegation was invited to a reception held by the Conference organizers. Mr. Zhang Chunjiang welcomed the delegates. At the invitation of Mr. Chunjiang, Don Heath thanked the conference organizers and the Chinese officials for their warm hospitality.
Informal discussion between delegate and MII official
Wednesday, 7 June 2000
Delegates attended the ongoing China Internet Industry conference and listened to presentations by Li Xiaoming, Director of the Data Communications Conference Department of China Unioncom on "B-Band Data Networks and the Internet," and "The Global Internet: Developments and Challenges" by Fred Baker, Chairman of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) among others. Some delegates participated in parallel technical seminars in their area of expertise.
After lunch at a nearby restaurant, the delegation traveled to the China Ministry of Information Industry for a meeting with Mr. Chen Yen and Ms. Pei Wei of the Division of Planning and Development of the Telecommunications Bureau. Mr. Yen began the meeting by providing an overview of the history of the development of the Internet in China. He described the steps that the Chinese Government and his Ministry were undertaking in order to create an environment designed to foster growth of the Internet and e-commerce, and highlighted a number of promising recent developments such as measures announced to introduce competition and the enthusiasm for the 'net displayed by the Chinese media and population in general. Mr. Yen added that the recent agreements on China's accession to the WTO should help to increase the number of its Internet-related firms.
Demonstrating the proper technique for Peking Duck
After Mr. Yen's presentation, each of the delegates were given the opportunity to pose a question to the Ministry representatives, with the answers providing further insight into the Ministry's plans for Internet development. After the formal meeting, many of the delegates had the opportunity to engage in brief one-to-one discussions with Mr. Yen and Ms. Wei.
In the evening, the group had the pleasure to partake of a Peking Duck dinner at one of Beijing's restaurants well-known for the specialty.
Describing one of many sights during the temple visit
Thursday, 8 June 2000
Today's agenda offered a variety of options for delegates, including attending the third day of the China Internet Conference to hear keynote addresses by David W. Maher, Vice President for Public Policy for the Internet Society, among others. Many delegates continued their private meetings with their Chinese counterparts, while others opted for the first organized cultural tour available to the group.
Those on the cultural tour embarked in the morning for a trip to the Summer Palace for extended sightseeing. After lunch, this group visited the Lama Temple. Representatives from CAST-CICCST provided rich insight on the history of the sights at both locations. After the temple visit, these delegates joined the rest of the group in order to embark for dinner and a night at the Beijing Opera. The delegation members were allowed to witness the actors preparing backstage for the performance.
Friday, 9 June 2000
As some delegates would be departing for other meetings and venues, today would also mark the last time that all of the original delegates would be assembled in the same locale.
The morning was reserved for a cultural tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The delegates' appreciation for the grandeur and history of the sites was enhanced by the day's delightful weather.
After lunch in one of Beijing's most traditional restaurants, the delegates divided to attend two separate meetings. The first involved a trip to Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications for a demonstration of some of the research projects underway at the institution, and closer examination of China's endogenous technological development.
The group outside the gates of the Forbidden City
The second was a visit to several startup firms located in Beijing's "Silicon Alley" near Tsinghua University. Operating with the support of the University and the Government, approximately 20 firms have emerged representing an interesting range of web-related business models. Among these are FanSo (http://www.fanso.com), a portal site catering to China's university students, and WonBay (http://www.wonbay.com.cn), a entertainment site with an innovative reward program for visitors to its partner sites. Delegates engaged in a lively dialogue with representatives of several sites, and were given the opportunity to tour portions of the firms' operations.
Following these meetings, several of the delegates departed for a brief visit to a nearby computer "superstore" in order to better understand some of the issues related to the Chinese PC market.
To celebrate the end of a very busy working week, delegates seized the opportunity to enjoy their final taste of Beijing's nightlife.
Delegates enjoy a scenic vista along the Great Wall
Saturday, 10 June 2000
During the first full weekend in country, the emphasis would shift to cultural activities from professional meetings. The delegates were eager to obtain a better understanding of China through visits to some of its most famous landmarks. After checking out of their hotel in Beijing, the group traveled to a nearby section of the Great Wall. It is said that one cannot claim to have visited China until they climb the Great Wall, and in this sense the visit of all in the delegation is now official.
Some chose to conquer the Wall at a particularly steep segment to climb to a tower overlooking the valley below. Others opted for the "road less traveled," taking a longer but slightly less steep route through nearby foothills which offered a stunning view of the segment of the wall on the higher mountain. Regardless of the route taken, the walk along the wall was an experience few will soon forget.
After lunch at a nearby restaurant, the delegation boarded a plane for the ancient city of Xian. Xian enjoys a high place in Chinese history and today serves as the focus of technological development initiatives by the Chinese Government. The delegates also received their first glimpse of a more agrarian lifestyle in China's more rural areas on the trip from the airport to the city proper, and the somewhat more traditional pace of the city offered an interesting counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of Beijing.
Some of the thousands of terra-cotta warriors on display
Sunday, 11 June 2000
No trip to Xi'an would be complete without a visit to the stunning Qin terra-cotta warriors museum. Dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the site represents one of the most notable archaeological finds of the Twentieth Century. Discovered by local farmers in 1974, more than 8,000 life-size warriors and horses were unearthed in three pits. These were buried along with the Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the period around 200 BC, and have today become one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.
Delegates viewed each of the pits and examined some of the ongoing restoration methods. They also viewed a film on the history of the site, exhibits of other artifacts, and had the opportunity to meet one of the local farmers responsible for the discovery.
After lunch, the delegation paid an extended visit to the Shaanxi History Museum, to learn more about the region's background and history. After dinner, the delegates assembled for a series of informal working meetings, and prepared themselves for a very busy working day tomorrow.
Group photo at Xi'an Institute of Post and Telecommunications
Monday, 12 June 2000
After a weekend dominated by cultural visits and private meetings, the delegation returned to its formal professional activities today with a series of important meetings with Internet professionals in Xi'an.
The group departed in the morning for its first meeting at the Xi'an Institute of Post and Telecommunications, where it received a special welcome from faculty, staff and students. After an opening message by members of the Institute's administration, delegates had the opportunity to enter into a very informative exchange with representatives from various departments of the university.
After this discussion, the delegation was treated to a demonstration of some of the projects being developed by researchers at the school. Among the technology on display were innovative distance learning and remote collaboration technologies employing the Internet. The meetings provided a much better sense of how China might employ the Internet in the future for many different applications.
After a brief lunch, the group arrived for a meeting at China United Online. China United Online Information Development Co. Ltd. (http://www.cnuol.com) is a consortium of a wide range of Internet sites and services. With over 800 employees and offices in Beijing, Shanghai, New York, Singapore, Xi'an and elsewhere, CNUOL is the largest firm of its kind in the country, and will soon enjoy an IPO on NASDAQ. The delegates participated in a very informative exchange with their counterparts and conducted a tour of the company's Xi'an operations.
In the evening, the delegation assembled for the last evening together to enjoy a dumpling dinner at one of Xi'an's best-known restaurants.
Meeting at China United Online in Xi'an
Tuesday, 13 June 2000
It was at this point that the delegation split into two separate groups. The delegates met to bid farewell to each other, as roughly half the delegation would be bound for Shanghai and the other half for Tianjin. The Shanghai group departed in the morning while the Tianjin group's flight was set for later in the afternoon.
Michael Conn, Internet Society Treasurer, would serve as delegation leader for the Shanghai portion. Tony Yustein would continue as leader with the Tianjin group.
The Shanghai group departed in the early afternoon. With their flight not scheduled until late afternoon, the Tianjin portion of the delegation spent the morning with cultural tours of several other points of interest in Xi'an city. Stops included the Grand Wild Goose Pagoda and the provincial museum. After an extended tour and lunch in a nearby restaurant, the group participated in private meetings or toured the Xi'an City Wall.
The delegates arrived in Tianjin late in the evening, checked into their hotel, and began preparations for a series of meetings the next morning.
Presentation by delegation member Ms. Eva Lokko during Tianjin meeting
Wednesday, 14 June 2000
Tianjin GroupThe morning began with a visit to a group of Tianjin e-business leaders, government officials, and others. After introductory comments by the delegation leader, delegation members Michael Warfield, Eva Lokko and others gave brief presentations on various areas of their individual work and that of ISOC. The group listened intently to presentations by members of the Tianjin local government and by representatives of the business community, and participated in a brief exchange following the formal presentations.
After lunch, delegates toured many of Tianjin's points of interest. The group concluded the day with dinner at a restaurant known for it's steamed bun dishes - a Tianjin specialty. From there it was back to the hotel to prepare for the opening of the E-Commerce forum the following morning.
Shanghai GroupThe Shanghai delegation was comprised of delegation leader Michael Conn of Worldcom, Jaochim Lügger of the Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum in Berlin, Jaap W. J. baron van Till of Stratix Consulting Group B.V. in the Netherlands, and Connie Stephens of the International Broadcasting Bureau in Washington D.C. Weng Ruimin of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and Judy Suhr of Liya International also attended the meetings.
The group began their first morning in the city with a visit to China Post/Telecom and Shanghai Information Industry. Shanghai delegation leader Michael Conn, opened the meeting with the following remarks:
Each of the participants introduced themselves, and the group launched into a very productive discussion concerning the growth of the Internet in China and Shanghai, and many of the resulting infrastructural issues.
The Shanghai Group meeting at China Post/Telecom
The group then visited Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where it was first received by Chen Yue, Section Chief and Associate Professor, who escorted them through the Haoran High Technology Building, home to dozens of high-tech enterprises. He also showed us an informative video presentation on the history and work of the university. The group then moved to a conference room in the E-commerce Research and Development Center for a discussion with Professor and Vice Dean, Shensheng Zhong, and 7 graduate students.
A Stanford Ph.D, Dr. Zhong opened with an English Powerpoint presentation prepared for the meeting. He then expanded the discussion to include student questions. Visit highlights included a productive discussion about ISOC and INET. Dr. Zhong suggested that INET plan a meeting in China, and Delegation Leader Michael Conn told our university hosts that he would promptly invite representatives from the Ministry of Information and Industry to attend INET 2000 in Yokohama in July. The discussion concluded with a lengthy conversion about XML in which Dr. Zhong concluded that he should begin teaching XML now.
The group was then shown a video emphasizing the university's significant contributions to Chinese economic development since its founding in 1896. It continues to play a prominent role in the current government strategy of "rejuvenating the country through science and education." The video described the school's core strength as the successful commercialization of research, and stressed the outstanding technical expertise of both faculty and students. For over a century Shanghai Jiao Tong University has produced national leaders, including China's current president, Jiang Zemin.
Delegation leader Michael Conn then introduced the delegation and provided an overview of ISOC's history and it's current activities. He expressed the hope that ISOC could increase its activity in China and encourage Chinese from all segments of society to become active participants in the organization. In the course of the individual introductions that followed, Joachim Lügger cited his efforts to increase the publication of mathematical papers on the Web - a topic of great interest among the faculty and students present.
After introductory statements by the delegates and a brief presentation on the technical aspects of the University's research by Dr. Zhong, the group engaged in an extended and fruitful discussion on a variety of Internet-related topics. Central to this discussion was the topic of bandwidth and steps underway to introduce high-speed networks throughout the country. The group also discussed some of the variety of applications of Internet technology, such as e-commerce, distance learning, and telemedicine. The talk concluded with a exchange concerning emerging technologies and standards, and the prospects for wireless appliances, among other topics.
Dr. Zhong concluded the discussion by inviting the group to come again and to explore the possibilities for holding an Internet conference in China. In the meantime the two sides agreed to keep in touch on the Web.
Delegation Leader Tony Yustein during his afternoon press conference
Thursday, 15 June 2000
Tianjin GroupAfter a quick breakfast meeting, the group attended the opening of the Third China International E-Commerce Forum. Tianjin served as host of this year's conference after previous sessions in Beijing and Shanghai.
The two-day conference would feature presentations from approximately 50 speakers, as well as a series of high-level roundtables, vendor exhibits, and other activities.
The conference was opened with welcoming remarks from Tianjin Vice Mayor Liang Su; Hon Diana Lady Dougan (Chair Cyber Century Forum/CIIED, GIIC Founder; and Prof. Liu Guoguang, Co-Chair, CIIED, CASS. The keynote address was delivered by Vice Premier Wu BangGuo. Other opening addresses were heard from MII Vice Minister Lu Xinkui (China GIIC Commissioner) and the GIIC Asia Chair, Michio Naruto, Vice Chairman, Fujitsu, Ltd.
Presentations by delegation members during the first morning included Kevin Walsh of Oracle Corporation on "E-Business Platforms for Small Enterprises" and by Tony Yustein, CEO and President of Softcom Technology Consulting.
After lunch at the conference, the forum continued with a full slate of speakers and technical discussions during the afternoon session. The afternoon session was moderated by delegation member Pierre Lin. Concurrently, a press conference was held by delegation leader Tony Yustein and other members of the delegation. The day concluded with a reception hosted by the conference organizers, a performance by the Tianjin Opera, and an evening tour of points of interest throughout the city.
During the evening, many delegates continued their informal meetings or participated in other events, such as an appearance by Mr. Lin and ISOC's Lance Laack on a Tianjin television interview program.
Shanghai GroupThe delegation spent their final full day in the country by taking in many of Shanghai's cultural attractions, including visits to the Bund, Old Town, Yu Garden, the Jade Buddha Temple and Childrens' Palace. Delegates also held informal meetings to discuss their experiences, and met one last time in the evening for a farewell dinner. The delegates departed Shanghai the following morning.
Presentation by delegation member Hon. Lothar Binding at E-Commerce Forum
Friday, 16 June 2000
Tianjin GroupThe final day of the conference featured a full slate of presentations during the morning session, including an particularly innovative and well-received version by delegation member Hon. Lothar Binding.
The Forum concluded its presentations and roundtables by mid-day, and after adoption of a "Tianjin Declaration" on E-Commerce, was brought to a close with remarks by Vice Mayor Liang and Lady Dougan.
After a farewell luncheon, the delegates made preparations for departure to Beijing. After the brief bus trip to the capital and a dinner en route, the group rejoined for a final evening of reflection and farewells, and to celebrate the coming to a close of a successful trip. Those not departing in the afternoon were available to join in a tour of the Tianjin Economic Development zone arranged by the conference organizers.
The following morning, delegation members departed China for their respective destinations or for other meetings in the region.
Note: A full report on the delegation visit will be provided shortly.
The delegation wishes to express its thanks to Eastnet for supplying dial-up accounts to delegates during their visit and thereby facilitating the posting of on-site updates.