On November 11, the Ministry of Education (MOE) held a press conference to introduce the Sixth China College Students’ “Internet+” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition (“the 2020 Competition”). The conference was hosted by the MOE spokesperson Xu Mei and attended by Wu Yan, Director-General of the MOE’s Higher Education Department; Jing Lihu, Director of the Guangdong Province Education Department; Zhang Xichun, Party Secretary of South China University of Technology;and Li Jingyang, champion of the 2019 Competition.
The 2020 Competition saw a record number of projects and contestants - 6.3 million students from 2,988 universities in China’s mainland and over 10,000 students from 1,158 foreign universities in 113 countries joined the event, submitting 1.47 million projects and over 3,000 projects, respectively. Half of the top 100 universities in the world signed up for the competition. Students from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also submitted 256 projects, surpassing last years record.
This year, the Competition is divided into four segments - higher education, vocational education, basic education and international education. The basic education segment aims to motivate senior high school students to engage in technological innovation and entrepreneurship activities, so as to promote all-round education. The vocational education segment aims to prepare students to become skilled professionals, forge stronger partnerships between industry, businesses, and educational institutions and promote reforms in vocational education. It is reported that there were more than 443,000 participating projects in the vocational education segment, up 78.2% from previous year. Among them, 142,000 projects focus on the areas of modern agriculture, modern manufacturing and information & technology service, accounting for 32% of the total projects in this segment.
To minimize the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and include as many contestants and viewers as possible, the 2020 Competition was held in both off-line and on-line settings. A digital platform was built specifically for the event, where people can sign up, check the latest news, visit the virtual exhibition, and watch live streams with AI-powered Chinese-English bilingual subtitling.
A special side-event was held as a way to achieve the goal of poverty alleviation through education, which attracted the participation of 1.32 million university students and 149,000 teachers. Aiming to help lift the 52 poorest counties in China out of poverty, this event connected 462,000 farm households with 13,000 businesses, facilitated signing of nearly 20,000 contracts and generated direct economic value of nearly RMB 10 billion. One of the highlights of this event is a series of livestream shopping campaigns. 600,000 students participated in the design and launch of these livestreaming events, which generated a sales volume of over RMB 430 million.
Since its launch in 2015, the Competition has attracted cumulatively 15.77 million university students or 3.75 million teams from more than 100 countries/regions, and become one of the world’s largest platforms for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among university students. According to Wu Yan, the Competition has incubated a number of high quality business projects, among which 50% have completed financial capital raising, and 19% raised more than RMB 50 million. More than 70,000 projects submitted to the Competition turned into companies, creating more than 600,000 jobs directly and more than 4 million jobs indirectly.
The final of the 2020 Competition is scheduled to be held at South China University of Technology on November 17.