Confucius Institute Organized an International Conference on Chinese Urban Economy

On April 3 - 4, 2017, UAlbany Confucius Institute (CI) brought the best China scholars from multiple disciplines from China, Hong Kong, Canada and United States to Albany for an in-depth discussion of the transformation and impact of the Chinese urban economy. The conference was held in the Alumni House, with 16 well-known scholars presenting their research, which attracted about 100 students and faculty from the Capital District. Presenters come from Brown University, MIT, Columbia University, Cornell, University of California at San Diego (UCSD), University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Vassar College, Michigan State University, University of Utah, Peking University, Beijing Normal University, Lanzhou University (China), Hong Kong City University and University of Lethbridge (Canada). Distinguished scholars, such as famous sociologists Victor Nee (Cornell), John Logan (Brown), economist Barry Naughton (UCSD), geographer Cindy Fan (CULA), and planner (Weiping Wu) (Columbia) presented their research at this conference, which defined the high quality of this conference.

Brief welcoming remarks were given by the Dean of International Education and Vice Provost for Global Strategy Harvey Charles, the Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Edelgard Wulfert, Co-Director of Urban China Research Network John Logan, Executive Director of Confucius Institute Youqin Huang, and the Chinese Director of CI Jianlin Shuai. Then the conference started with a keynote speech by well-known economist Barry Naughton titled “Economic Reform Before and After the 19th Party Congress”. Dr. Naughton provided an in-depth analysis of the background, process, and impact of the economic reform in China as well as the process and challenges in policy design and implementation. Dr. Naughton is the author of “The Chinese Economy: Transition and Growth” (MIT, 2007) and “Growing Out of the Plan: Chinese Economic Reform, 1978-1993” (Cambridge University Press, 1995), two of the best books on the Chinese economy, and he is considered “one of the ten non-Chinese who understands China the best”.

Famous sociologist, the author the “Market Transition Hypothesis”, Victor Nee from Cornell gave the second keynote speech, titled “The Entrepreneur’s network, Organizational Form and Firm Performance”. Based on in-depth fieldwork of more than 700 entrepreneurs in private manufacturing in 7 cities in the Yangtze River Delta in China, Dr. Nee analyzed three different types of social network governance (traditional kin based, hybrid non-kin, and rational capitalist) and how they affect innovation and firm performance differently, which provides important insights to the evolution of the Chinese economy in the increasing competitive producer market.

The conference has five sessions on five important aspects of the Chinese economy:
Session 1 China in the Global Context
Session 2 Urban Economy
Session 3 Urban Housing
Session 4 Urbanization and Migration
Session 5 Urban Sustainability.

Each session has three presentations. Presenters are from different disciplines, including sociology, economics, political science, geography, urban planning and real estate, which gave different perspectives on the challenges China faces during its economic transition, and the impact the economic transition on the society. Each presentation is followed by 15-20 minutes of heated discussion and Q&A, which is very rewarding to both presenters and audiences.

China has experienced profound socioeconomic transformation with unprecedented scale and speed in the last four decades. China is now a global powerhouse with the second largest economy and the largest urban population in the world. Yet, in recent years, the Chinese economy has slowed down significantly, which calls for another profound transformation for more sustainable development. Within this context, this conference offered timely in-depth analyses of the ongoing economic transformation and various challenges China faces. Conference Flyer

UAlbany Confucius Institute was established in 2013 with a partner university Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) in China. UAlbany CI aims to promote collaborative and multidisciplinary research on China, facilitate scholar and student exchange with Chinese institutions, in addition to promoting Chinese culture and language instruction. Dr. Youqin Huang (Department of Geography and Planning) is the Executive Director of UAlbany Confucius Institute.

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