LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: INNOVATION, PHILANTHROPY, AND GLOBAL LEADERSHIP
2017年3月24日（March 24, 2017）
Thank you, Professor Lin. It’s great to be here today. Beida (Peking
University) has a long history and I’m sure that, next year, as you
celebrate its 120th anniversary, you will look back on the incredible
contributions it has made to this country.
I’ve been coming to China since the early 1990s, initially for my work
at Microsoft. Ten years ago, I was privileged to be named an honorary
trustee here at Beida. I remember what a great time I had here in 2008
watching the Olympic table tennis semi-finals between China and South
As I’m sure you remember, China took the gold medal in every
category—the men’s singles, the women’s singles, the men’s and women’s
team events. That was on top of two silver and two bronze medals. For
someone who’s as big of a fan of table tennis as I am, it was an
incredible moment to witness.
And it highlights in one way, the incredible potential China has. This
is a country on a quest for excellence, not only to improve itself but
to contribute to the whole world.
As China’s economy matures, it is making bold and difficult choices on
challenges like energy and pollution. And China is assuming a greater
role on critical global issues like climate and development. This
matters now more than ever as the world navigates a time of change and
In some rich countries, there is skepticism about how well globalization
works for ordinary people. The results of the U.S. presidential election
and the Brexit vote in the UK underscore the temptation to turn inward
on issues like migration, security, and global development.
It’s great to see China stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum. It is
uniquely well-equipped to do so. No other country has accomplished what
China has achieved in the last few decades—breaking the relentless cycle
of poverty and disease for hundreds of millions of people while
modernizing its economy at a scale and speed unprecedented in human
Although China can’t be expected to fill a gap in development aid from
wealthy countries, it has made a smart choice in tripling its commitment
to African development. China has long understood that helping other
countries lift themselves out of poverty creates a more stable and
secure world for people everywhere.
And by encouraging investment through innovative financing mechanisms
like the China-Africa Development Fund, China is strengthening not only
Africa’s economic capacity, but also, over time, markets for Chinese
It’s also great to see President Xi’s commitment to eliminate extreme
poverty in China by 2020. China did a great job lifting millions out of
poverty. But progress has been uneven. Forty-three million people are
still living in extreme poverty.
Our foundation looks forward to a new partnership with China that will
focus on innovative ways to reduce poverty—through better nutrition and
healthcare in rural areas, and by increasing access to financial
services for the poor.
China isn’t just striving to reach new heights at home. It is using its
own experience fighting poverty and disease to help other countries
tackle similar challenges. When I was in Beijing a few years ago, Vice
Premier Wang Yang said something that stayed with me. He said: “Africa
today is our yesterday.”Now, China is using the lessons it has learned
to usher in a new tomorrow for Africa, too.
This is a pretty incredible time to be a young person in China. Your
generation’s entrance into the workforce will coincide with your
country’s rise as a center of global progress and innovation. The
world’s eyes are on China . . . and as the generation now coming of age,
the world’s eyes are specifically on all of you.
So, I’d like to spend the rest of my time with you today talking about
four areas where I think there are exciting opportunities to use your
education, your passion, and your opportunities to unlock more amazing
progress—for both China and for the world. Specifically, health,
agriculture, energy, and technology.
First, health. When Melinda and I started our foundation 17 years ago,
we asked ourselves: how can we use our financial resources to make the
greatest impact? It didn’t take long to realize that improving health
was at the top of the list.
When people aren’t healthy, they can’t learn in school or be productive
at work. They’re unable to seize economic opportunities or do any of the
things they need to do to lift themselves out of poverty.
Melinda and I saw the example of China creating a better life for its
people, and it inspired us to see if there was a way to support China’s
progress. Over the last decade, our work in China has focused on several
of the most persistent domestic health challenges — specifically
reducing the incidence of tuberculosis and tobacco-related diseases,
preventing HIV transmission, and improving treatment and care for people
living with AIDS.
While we are continuing to support progress in these areas, our work in
China is evolving along with China’s new priorities. For example, China
has a great opportunity to be a global leader in health innovation.
No one exemplifies this better than Professor Tu Youyou. As I’m sure
most of you know, Professor Tu is a Beida graduate and the first woman
in China to win a Nobel Prize.
Professor Tu was recognized for her discovery of artemisinin, a powerful
medicine used to treat malaria. This was one of the most significant
breakthroughs in tropical medicine in the 20th century and it has saved
millions of lives.
With its rich pool of talented scientists and its capacity to develop
new drugs and vaccines, China was a clear choice for us to locate a new
Global Health Drug Discovery Institute. This institute—a collaboration
between our foundation, the Beijing Municipal Government, and Tsinghua
University—will help speed the discovery and development of new
I had a chance earlier today to meet with some of the Chinese scientists
who are driving cutting edge research. For instance, Dr. He Ruyi is the
Chief Scientist at the Center for Drug Evaluation of the Chinese Food
and Drug Administration (CFDA). His work—and the reforms being carried
out by his agency—will create an environment where innovation can
thrive. We are working with the CFDA to bring in more experts like Dr.
Ruyi to help improve its regulatory capacity so more Chinese health
products can be made accessible to the entire world, including
One area that China has an incredible chance to lead in is in reducing
and eventually eradicating malaria. With China’s leadership, we stand a
chance to make malaria the third human disease—after smallpox and, soon,
polio—to be wiped off the face of the earth.
A little more than a century ago, malaria was a leading cause of death
in nearly every country on earth. There has been great progress since
then, and China is on track to eliminate malaria completely in the next
few years. But more than 3.2 billion people around the world still live
in areas where there’s a risk of malaria infection.
To achieve the goal of global eradication, we need to build on Professor
Tu’s discovery of artemisinin and develop more powerful tools—like a
single-dose cure and better ways to block transmission of malaria from
mosquitos to humans.
China has the potential to develop these new high-impact solutions at a
cost that developing countries can afford. We can start today by
controlling and eliminating malaria in places like the Mekong River
basin and in Africa. Drawing on lessons learned from its own experience,
China can help ensure that every family has bed nets to protect them
from infection. And it can help countries strengthen their health and
disease surveillance systems to better diagnose, treat, and prevent
future cases of malaria.
That’s health. The second area where I believe China can drive global
progress is agriculture. Since 1975, Chinese agricultural productivity
has grown at a rate of 12 percent per year—four times the annual rate of
growth in Africa. That hasn’t just fed a large and growing population.
It has led to better nutrition and health, higher rural incomes, falling
poverty rates, and more labor available to other sectors to drive
China’s economic development.
There are many factors that accounted for China’s recent green
revolution. One of the most significant is its commitment to
agricultural innovation and the work of people like Professor Yuan
Longping. A crop scientist at Hunan Agricultural University, Professor
Yuan developed hybrid rice varieties that increased crop yields by 20
China’s continuing advances in rice could be of enormous benefit to
millions of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom
today are barely growing enough to feed their families and who will face
more difficult weather conditions in the decades ahead.
Since 2008, we have been supporting work by the Chinese Academy of
Agricultural Sciences and others to develop new varieties of rice
that—when crossed with domestic varieties in countries like Senegal,
Tanzania, and Rwanda—will result in high-yielding, stress-tolerant crops
that will boost farmer yields and income.
But to feed a growing planet, we need to do more.
One of the most exciting efforts is research by Chinese scientists to
supercharge the process of photosynthesis in grains. This would
significantly increase crop yields while reducing the demand for
irrigation and fertilizer.
We also are supporting research by Chinese scientists to improve the
health of livestock, which plays a vital role in food security and the
rural economy of developing countries. And we are working with the
Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Agriculture to promote
sustainable agricultural development throughout Africa.
This brings me to what I think of as China’s third global opportunity:
energy innovation. China already is one of the world leaders in
renewable energy. And it recently announced that it will spend $360
billion on renewable power sources by 2020. This will pay off handsomely
for China domestically, and as a long-term global business opportunity.
It won’t be easy. China faces a big challenge domestically sorting out
the right mix of existing and new energy technologies. Many forms of
energy will be needed to reduce greenhouse gases and meet energy needs.
One of the things China could do is pioneer next-generation nuclear
technology. It will be dramatically safer and substantially cheaper and
solve a lot of the challenges with today’s nuclear energy. I have a
company, TerraPower, that is partnering with China National Nuclear
Corporation and other Chinese companies to make this a reality.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet several times with President Xi and am
encouraged by his commitment— and by his leadership at the Paris Climate
talks. China was one of the 22 countries that committed to doubling
their investments in clean energy innovation over the next five years.
I’m also working with Jack Ma and other investors who have pledged to
invest $1 billion in the development of early stage energy technology so
we can move the best ideas from the research lab to the marketplace.
A fourth area where I see great potential for China is software. When I
was at Microsoft, we were so impressed by the quality of computer
scientists and developers coming out of universities in China that we
established one of our first research labs in Beijing. That was almost
20 years ago.
Today, it is Microsoft’s largest research center outside the U.S.. It’s
a phenomenal place, with 200 of the world’s top researchers and
developers and more than 300 visiting scientists and fellows.
The best thing about it is that researchers are free to explore what
they’re most passionate about, which leads to breakthroughs like
Xiaoice, a natural-language chat bot that simulates human conversation.
Some of you may have had conversations with Xiaoice on Weibo, or seen
her weather forecasts on TV, or read her column in the Qianjiang Evening
Xiaoice has attracted 45 million followers and is quite skilled at
multitasking. And I’ve heard she’s gotten good enough at sensing a
user’s emotional state that she can even help with relationship
Besides developing new technologies for Microsoft, the Beijing lab also
helps software entrepreneurs who have a great product ideas and need
help scaling their business. In the last two years, most of the 125
companies that graduated from the Microsoft Accelerator program were
able to secure additional funding. And three of the startups have gone
The Beijing lab also supports up-and-coming software developers. We’ve
hired more than 5,000 interns in China. And you’ll be happy to know that
we’ve recruited more students in the last three years from Beida than
from Tsinghua University. But it’s a slim lead, so those of you here in
computer science, will have to keep up your good work!
Technology is also helping to power the philanthropic sector in China.
It’s a growing sector and one with tremendous potential. In 2015, people
contributed 966 million RMB to causes they care about using the four
largest online donation platforms.
And the success of 9/9 Charity Day, started a few years ago by the
Tencent Foundation, shows what is possible when people have an easy way
to get involved and give back. In just three days last year, 6 million
people—people like you—raised 305 million RMB in support of more than
3,600 projects. This is just one example of how philanthropy is
beginning to blossom here in China.
A lot of the most successful entrepreneurs, like Jack Ma, Pony Ma,
Charles Chen Yidan and Niu Gensheng, have helped create the world’s
second largest pool of individual wealth. And now they’re taking steps
to get involved and give back.
The new charity law that took effect last September opens up more
opportunities for people to get engaged. People are coming together at
events like the sixth China Social Good Summit held at Beida last fall.
Some of you may decide to work for NGOs that are making life better for
the most vulnerable in society. But even if you don’t end up doing that,
or to make big financial donations, there are other ways of getting
involved. Just the fact that you’re learning about a topic, lending your
voice to an issue, or volunteering your time, is important.
What an incredible, motivating thing that is—the belief that you can
make the world a better place. There has never been a better moment.
As the geopolitical currents shifts, China has an opportunity to advance
progress on the most urgent challenges the world faces. China’s leaders
are embracing this opportunity, but it will be up to China’s youth to
carry this forward.
能源公司，In the last few decades, millions of people in China have achieved
professional and financial success. I’m sure all of you will too, and
that’s a great thing. I certainly enjoyed every moment at Microsoft and
wouldn’t trade it for anything.
But now I’ve also had the opportunity in my philanthropic work to meet
people who apply their talents and passion in other ways. Many of these
people are impatient optimists. People who believe in the possibility of
change and are eager to do something about it.
Doctors courageous enough to risk their own lives to save the lives of
others suffering from Ebola. Entrepreneurs using their ingenuity to
deliver life-saving drugs to remote villages by drone. And people of all
walks of life who volunteer their time to help the homeless or mentor a
child at risk.
Maybe you are the person who wants to ensure that every child growing up
in poverty has the nutrition they need to do their best in school. Maybe
you want to develop the next vaccine that protects everyone from
malaria. Maybe you want to design the battery that lights people’s desks
at night, or the mobile technology that will allow people to start new
No matter what your ambition is to improve the world, this is the best
time and the best place to do it, and all of you have a great
opportunity. I look forward to seeing what you’ll achieve. Thank you!