Yesterday marked the beginning of the third annual US-China Internet Industry Forum (held this year in SF). The purpose of the gathering is to increase mutual understanding of key business and policy issues in China and the US. It is an invite-only event, so I was excited to be there with top government and technology leaders such as Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales, Sina.com’s Charles Cao, Harvard law prof John Palfrey (author of Born Digital – loved that book), Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie, Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian, Baidu’s COO Ye Peng, The FBI’s Jeffrey Troy, China’s Deputy Director of the Internet, Liu Zhengrong, and a bunch of others (eBay, Yahoo, Intel, Facebook, etc). The main topics of discussion were intellectual property, online child protection, and cybercrime.
What struck me most about the discussions was the degree of concern the Chinese attendees showed for intellectual property. Now that China is moving towards a knowledge-based economy, they are realizing that it is in their best interests to do a better job of protecting IP. Most Americans probably don’t realize it, but there is a vibrant start-up community in China and it won’t be long before we start to see more innovation coming from that country.
The event was co-hosted by Microsoft and the Internet Society of China and co-sponsored by Google, eBay, Intel, About.com, Verisign, Akamai, Yahoo, People.com, Xinhuanet.com, China.com.cn, CCTV.com, SOHU.com, Netease.com and Baidu.com.