The centre of the world … from Gent to Guiyang

May 22, 2014

The old Flemish town of Gent (or Ghent, depending on which local language you speak) used to be the centre of the world. Its vast canal network brought traders and their goods from across Europe, and from the oceans east and west. Vast warehouses stand empty, where once Egyptian cotton was traded for French wines, Indian spices with Belgian glass. And much more.

Today, Guiyang sits at the centre of the world. Draw a circle with a radius 4100km around the fast-growing city in southern China, and you will find more than half of the world’s population (on around 5% of the Earth’s land surface). Economies are growing faster, wealth is increasing, brands are innovating, businesses are succeeding more in the Guiyang Circle than anywhere else.

My keynote at the Vlerick Marketing Colloquium (interesting word that, and stands out from all the other conferences and summits!) started in China. How companies like Alibaba and QQ are changing our world, right here in Gent. QQ? That’s the Chinese social network that will soon be bigger than Facebook, and also combines search, retail and payment. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Paypal all in one. It’s a bit like an Oreo  … combine QQ (the world’s largest network of consumers) and Alibaba (the world’s largest network of businesses) and you get the world’s most awesome marketplace. Time to think different!

Email to get my “Gamechangers” keynote in Gent

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