RISE 2018 — Daimler on Asia’s biggest tech conference

Yes, I know what many of you might be thinking at this moment: Oh no — not another one of these hip and oh so popular startup conferences where we suddenly want to present ourselves as a cool and progressive company.

But I don’t actually want to bore you with that. The RISE conference is really something I’m personally enthusiastic about. For one thing, it’s being held very close to my adopted home. A flight from Taipei to Hong Kong is only 70 minutes long, and you can book a round trip for only 100 Dollar. I can fly to Hong Kong in the morning and fly back in the late afternoon… I’ve already had many opportunities to appreciate the central location of my adopted home. And to appreciate Hong Kong too.

Hong Kong lives from its contrasts

The special atmosphere of this former Crown colony cast its spell over me immediately during my first visit to it in 2002. This combination of a global financial hub and the Cantonese way of life. The crowds of people on the streets walking through the clouds of delicious cooking smells emanating from the open-air cookshops — and these incredibly high temperatures in the summer. Hong Kong sometimes feels so incredibly familiar to me — but then again, totally exotic.

If you’ve ever stepped out of one of the countless traditional English pubs into a street of this city with its painfully high level of humidity, I’m sure you’ll agree with me. On the one hand, there’s a European cultural treasure that perfectly imitates its familiar temperatures with the help of several air conditioners. On the other, there’s an Asian metropolis that would delight the heart of a Hollywood location scout.

Hong Kong thrives on, and through, its contradictions, and that’s exactly what a conference like RISE benefits from. For some people it’s a gateway to the West; for others, it’s a gateway to Asia. I don’t want to repeat this “East meets West” mantra, but I do think there are few conferences which this phrase sums up so perfectly.

RISE: A look at the development in Asia

A general question: Three years ago, who was aware of companies such as Didi, Line, and Careem? Who is using the services of Tencent and Alibaba today? And let’s be honest… Back in 2009, who would’ve thought that Cheetah Mobile from Beijing would one day have more than 600 million users per month?

If you don’t know what any of this means, you fit beautifully into the profile of RISE, because here you have the opportunity to meet all of these new Asian Internet giants — and find out all about their products, services and, most importantly, strategies. Yes, there’s another world beyond our Amazon, Facebook, and Google horizon! Please don’t get me wrong. For us, it’s incredibly important not to lose sight of developments in Asia. And that’s exactly why we’re attending RISE this year for the first time.

It has become much more important to take a look at the latest global developments today, now that we’re extensively investing in startups through M&A Tech Invest, cooperating with Google to research the use of quantum computers, and enabling our MBUX infotainment system to learn from its users by means of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. And an incredible multitude of new global developments are coming from Asia.

Shenzhen: Navel of innovations

Here’s a small bit of gossip for expats who like geeks. Are you familiar with Shenzhen? Back in 1979 it was a fishing village with just 150,000 inhabitants. Today it’s home to more than 12 million people, and Greater Shenzhen has a population of approximately 23 million. Nobody knows the exact figures. Shenzhen, which is just 15 kilometers distant from Hong Kong as the crow flies, is growing by leaps and bounds!

Today, people who want to develop and produce gadgets and sell them all over the world don’t go to Silicon Valley or Seoul or Tokyo. Shenzhen is the global hub for electronic “little helpers” and innovations. Here it’s possible to work with a contract manufacturer to have a new smartphone developed within just one month. And on the last day of the month, the shipping containers transporting the individual handsets will be on course for the client’s home port. In Shenzhen, things develop just a bit faster than anywhere else. It’s an El Dorado for nerds, and especially for investors.

And the big gateway city of Hong Kong is just to the south of it.

Have I already mentioned that RISE will be held there?

What is RISE?

RISE, which will be held in Hong Kong from July 9 to 12, 2018, is the biggest and most important conference of the tech community in Asia. It offers a total of 11 forums on themes such as Automotive, Design, Marketing, Robotics, and Big Data. Leading representatives of major companies and startups come to RISE in Hong Kong in order to share their experiences and learn from one another. The companies represented include Microsoft, Amazon, Lufthansa, DIDI, HBSC, Hanson Robotics, and Tinder. Influencers and media representatives from all over the world, as well as significant investors, are also participants of this three-day networking Event.

Who will be coming to RISE?

Over 350 speakers have registered for this year’s event, and more than 700 media representatives will report on the conference. RISE is staged by the same organizers who are also responsible for the Web Summit, Europe’s biggest IT and tech conference. In 2017, more than 14,000 participants from over 100 countries came to the conference at the Hong Kong Convention Center. Presentations were made by 300 speakers, 400 investors, and more than 600 startups.

RISE-Livestream: July 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm live session with Dieter Zetsche:


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Sascha Pallenberg took on the newly created position Head of Digital Content at Daimler’s Communications unit last February. An experienced online editor, he focuses on creating content at the interface between the automotive sector and the IT industry for Daimler online media.

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