2024 Europe Sustainability Summit

May 2024

Amidst the global shift towards sustainable energy, restructuring of supply chains, and escalating geopolitical tensions that exacerbate economic disparities, fostering open dialogue and sustainable development across borders and industries has never been more crucial. This principle is at the heart of M31 Capital’s strategy.

From May 6th to 13th, M31 Capital led a distinguished delegation of 30 top Chinese entrepreneurs to Europe for the 2024 Sustainability Summit. This event marked the highest level of commercial engagement between private entrepreneurs, investors, and senior government officials from China and Europe since 2020. Over six days, more than 50 meetings and discussions took place, convening leading global investment institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and government leaders. The summit saw participation from 7 current Ministers, 111 companies, and 58 investment institutions. The Chinese delegation represented a combined market capitalization of approximately RMB 2 trillion, while European participants represented about USD 2.2 trillion in market capitalization. The investor participants’ total assets under management amassed to USD 20 trillion.

The delegation was warmly received by local government hosts in Paris, Berlin, London, and Helsinki. Throughout the week, they engaged in high-level discussions on critical topics such as energy transition, artificial intelligence, robotics and smart manufacturing, navigating policies, and cross-border investments, strengthening business ties and laying a solid foundation for future cooperation between China and Europe.

May 6th – Paris, France

On the morning of May 6th, Patrick Zhong, Founding Managing Partner of M31 Capital, led the Chinese delegation to attend the China Business Forum organized by Business France. The M31 delegation held closed-door discussions with Franck Riester, the French Minister for Foreign Trade, and senior executives of Business France. Subsequent meetings were held with key decision-makers from the French Association of the Automotive Industry (PFA), VEDCOM, Renault Group, and Dassault Systèmes.

At noon, the delegation engaged with Tikehau Capital’s senior management, discussing European sovereignty, global energy transition, and cybersecurity investments. In the afternoon, Patrick attended the Sixth Meeting of the China-France Business Council, having in-depth exchanges with business leaders such as Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman of L’Oréal Group, and Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric. Later, the Eurazeo management team hosted the delegation at its headquarters for discussions on global energy transition, AI, robotics, and automation.

The day concluded with a closed-door discussion with Roland Lescure, the French Minister of Industry and Energy, where he shared pragmatic insights and guidance with the delegation on doing business in France.

May 7th & 8th – Berlin, Germany

The Berlin summit kicked off on May 7th with a private meeting at the German Chancellery for an in-depth discussion with Jörg Kukies, State Secretary, on achieving win-win cooperation between China and Germany.

A welcome dinner was held that evening over the beautiful Spree River, featuring distinguished attendees from the German business and entrepreneurship communities. Marco Baldi, CEO of Alba Berlin Basketball Team, shared Alba Berlin’s journey and Marco’s legendary sports stories.

On the morning of May 8th, the delegation held a business summit at the ESMT Business School. Patrick and Dr. Lars-Hendrik Röller, Chairman of the Berlin Global Dialogue and former Chief Economic Advisor to Chancellor Angela Merkel, delivered keynote speeches, expressing hopes for a better China-Germany cooperation. Dr. Cornelius Boersch, an influential German investor, spoke on challenges and opportunities in Germany’s current state of digitalization. Later, ESMT professors Christoph Burger and Jens Weinmann spoke on Europe’s energy transition challenges, followed by a roundtable discussion on energy and sustainability. In the afternoon, an open floor discussion was held between the delegation and current ESMT students, where they exchanged their unique perspectives.

May 9th & 10th – London, United Kingdom

On the morning of May 9th, at the invitation of Lord Dominic Johnson, British Minister for Investment, Business and Trade, Patrick led the delegation to a meeting at the Old Parliament Building, the current headquarters of Britain’s Department for International Trade. Lord Johnson welcomed the group and delivered valuable advice on business expansion in the UK.

At noon, a high-level luncheon was held at Claridge’s in Mayfair with the London business and investment community, and featured welcome speeches by Patrick and David Giampaolo, CEO of Pi Capital and a key European businessperson. Dr. Kai Yu, founder and CEO of Horizon Robotics, and Dominic Barton, Chairman of Rio Tinto, also gave welcome remarks to the group. The luncheon convened over 70 top private equity investors and European business leaders.

In the afternoon, the flagship Business Summit was held at Claridge’s, emceed by Emmy Award-winning journalist Ryan Chilcote. The opening panel on “AI for the Real World” featured a distinguished lineup of speakers, including Dr. Yaqin Zhang of Tsinghua University and former President of Baidu, Feng Hong of Xiaomi, Dr. Kai Yu of Horizon Robotics, Wei Liu of BioMap, and Dr. Xiaodi Hou of Bot Auto. Thereafter, Dr. Zuyu Wu of Hithium and Junen Song of Inovance discussed their respective company’s growth story, while Dr. Kai Yu and Wei Liu presented their companies’ unique offerings and strategies. Lord Dominic Johnson, who also partook in the summit, delivered a welcome speech and expressed admiration for the Chinese entrepreneurs’ proactive dialogue efforts despite geopolitical risks and assured that his government is ready to facilitate the expansion of Chinese businesses.

A subsequent roundtable on “Investing in Emerging Economies” featured Maggie Fanari of Rothschild Capital Management, Craig Cameron of Franklin Templeton, Iain Drayton of Goldman Sachs, and Marisa Drew of Standard Chartered. This was followed by a discussion on “Global Energy Transition” with Yi Yang of Tuya Smart and industry experts, including Lord Adair Turner, Chairman of the Energy Transitions Commission. Conan D’Arcy, a former advisor to the British Prime Minister, wrapped up the summit by offering insights on regulatory and policy guidance.

The evening concluded with a grand cocktail reception at the British Museum, co-hosted by M31 Capital and George Osborne, Chairman of the British Museum. Patrick and George welcomed guests, emphasizing the positive role of Chinese entrepreneurs in the global economic development. The event was attended by over 100 leaders from politics, business, investments, education, entertainment, and sports.

On the morning of May 10th, Patrick led the entrepreneurs to visit Rio Tinto’s global headquarters. Eight back-to-back fireside chats were held with heavyweight speakers, namely Lord Peter Mandelson, George Osborne, Maggie Fanari, José Linares, Lord Stephen Carter, Mark Wilson, Sam Sharps, and Dominic Barton. They provided valuable advice on various aspects of investments, navigating geopolitics, effective business operations and leadership management.

May 13th – Helsinki, Finland

On the morning of May 13th, at the invitation of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), the delegation attended a full-day conference at its headquarters in Helsinki. They were warmly received by Jyri Häkämies, Chairman of the Confederation of Finnish Industries, who emphasized Finland’s unique propositions and the potential for win-win cooperation in sustainable development with Chinese companies.

Patrick highlighted the summit’s theme of business cooperation and building a strong Chinese and European enterprise ecosystem in the Nordic region. Jukka Maksimainen from McKinsey provided a comprehensive overview of the Nordic region’s characteristics and development.

The delegation subsequently had a series of enriching panel discussions, with participation from Jussi Herlin of KONE Corporation, Stefan Sundman of UPM,  Matti Hietanen of Finnish Minerals Group, Henri Korpi of Elisa, Jussi Harvela of TactoTek, Teppo Kuisma of Vaisala, Mikko Rantaharju of Metso Group, Pasi Rannus of Valmet Automotive, Juha Näkki of Etteplan, Tuukka Ahoniemi of Tuxera, and Joey Gui from Invest in Finland, among others, all of whom expressed strong cooperation interests with Chinese businesses. 

In the evening, Jussi Herlin invited the delegation to KONE’s historic headquarters where the group dined with Finnish political and business leaders, including Ville Tavio, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, and Jyri Häkämies, Minister of Economic Affairs.

On the morning of May 14th, Patrick, as the sole Chinese representative invitee, participated in a breakfast meeting with Finnish government leaders and entrepreneurs. Participants included leading companies like Outokumpu, Neste, KONE Corporation, the Confederation of Finnish Industries, and Nordea Bank.

The Helsinki trip marked the successful conclusion of M31 Capital’s 2024 Sustainability Summit in Europe, deepening business ties and laying a solid foundation for future sustainable partnerships.