NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- While global investors are jetting to Silicon Valley in search of the next unicorn, Chinese leading internet company Tencent's Chief eXploration Officer David Wallerstein flew from the warm and temperate climes of Silicon Valley to New York, where its denizens are on the verge of being buffeted by the gale force winds of Hurricane Jose. Wallerstein has made it his mission to take part in the United Nations' High-level Technology And Innovation Event:SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Innovation and encourage state heads, entrepreneurs and international organizations to think about how to strengthen cooperation and solve major challenges for the people and the planet with cutting-edge technologies, a move which will also assist the Chinese firm in realizing its long-term goals.
On September 18, 2017, Wallerstein, in front of hundreds of government officials, innovators and opinion leaders who had gathered at the conference hall of the United Nations headquarters in New York, said, "As Tencent's Chief eXploration Officer, my team also makes investments. Unlike most other VCs, however, we focus on the most fundamental issues facing mankind including water, air and soil, and we are finding ways to solve these problems with next-generation technologies." Guests at the UN High-level SDGs Action Campaign Event on Innovation also included President of the 72nd session of UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak as well as founders and executives from top-ranking high-tech companies, among them, Microsoft, Salesforce and LinkedIn. Wallerstein was the only keynote speaker who was acting on behalf of a Chinese company.
During his speech, Wallerstein said that too many people take clean water and air for granted, while that is not the case. "We must pay attention to every part of the value chain and invest in the underlying issues which are closely related to human destiny. We often find that in face of humanity's most pressing needs, it is difficult to find entrepreneurs and innovators who are willing to or have found the right solutions to overcome the fundamental obstacles that stand in the way. On the other hand, it is difficult for startups with technical capacities to understand the market demand outside their home country."
According to Wallerstein, who firmly believes in entrepreneurship and interconnection, we can realize the common goal of creating human well-being while accelerating innovation by building a bridge between demand and supply and connecting various resources. The High-level Technology and Innovation Event in September was one of the dialogue platforms that Wallerstein has contributed to.
During the discussion session chaired by Wallerstein, government officials and entrepreneurs from around the world proposed solutions on how technology companies can promote the SDGs by taking into account their own experience. These solutions included using satellite technology to track water resources distribution and illegal fishing activities as well as encouraging more technology companies to participate in education investment as a way of solving the issue of the lack of employment opportunities and promoting gender equality. Commenting on the proposed solutions, Wallerstein told Tencent Finance that it behooves mankind to undertake joint efforts to solve the basic problems including climate change, extreme poverty and epidemic diseases, while, at the same time, it behooves young entrepreneurs worldwide to join the initiative by using cutting-edge technologies to increase people's ability to solve problems. As an investor, Wallerstein is willing to identify and invest in projects which are at the forefront of future development trends and facilitate social progress among emerging technology innovators. Compared to other teams within Tencent, Wallerstein said his is more progressive in exploring the unknown.
Wallerstein cited his team as an example, explaining that the team has invested in an early cancer diagnostics company that is committed to detecting the disease through blood tests. "For all people around the world, this would undoubtedly be a valuable, groundbreaking technology for cancer screening." Besides healthcare, Wallerstein has also kept an eye on cutting-edge industries, including artificial intelligence, robotics and new energy. Tencent recently made an investment in Lillium, a German company building an electric 'air taxi'. With the investment, Wallerstein is seeking to tackle a fundamental physical challenge on how to create a jet-propelled, electrically powered spacecraft with vertical take-off capabilities, despite the speculation about the purpose of the Chinese internet giant's investment. Speaking to the major breakthrough in basic science that such an invention would represent, Wallerstein declared, "You can reimage how a city would look like based on this breakthrough."
Wallerstein keeps pushing the boundaries of Tencent, as he firmly believes that, exploring the new and the unexplored is a strategic approach for Tencent. "Many of Tencent's existing products are designed to meet the needs of human minds for information, entertainment and social connection," said Wallerstein. "Nevertheless, we need to focus more on developing products that help to improve the quality of life for all not only in terms of helping each and every person build a healthier body but also in terms of creating a healthier ecosystem, including water, air, food, climate, covering the whole planet." Wallerstein has been carrying a vacuum cup on his person for about two years now. It is a result of concerning plastics that won't degrade or only degrade with much difficulty. "Some of these global issues are vital and many lives around the world could be saved if we address the issues as early as possible," added Wallerstein.
Wallerstein, who has been working at Tencent for 17 years and can deliver speeches in Chinese, was speaking frankly when he said that over the past few years, he has sensed the significant changes taking place across China as a result of innovation. He also encourages Chinese entrepreneurs to work together to push the boundaries of technology and to participate in the global competition by developing core technologies. "We hope to build a better world by doing something together."
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