Tencent’s SY Lau Unveils the Human Face behind the Device

Media Person of the Year awardee SY Lau, delivered his keynote speech at Cannes Lions

The first Chinese to be named 2015 Cannes Lions’ Media Person of the Year maps out the future of digital connectivity.

During an opening day keynote at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Tencent Online Media Group (OMG) President SY Lau and Media Person of the Year awardee; shared how the group has become a global industry game-changer and predicted today’s spectacular technological revolution will continuously be about people, as it is people who benefit from the technology. The meaning of technological revolution, and the profound changes brought by expanded connectivity will only become relevant, he said, when we see the actual human face behind the device.

During his keynote, themed The Human Face behind the Device, Lau articulated his vision of harnessing connectivity to unleash individual potential and drive societal change.

He also shared observations of millennial behaviour and how they view the world as an integrated and interrelated whole where not only everyone but everything is connected. Based on this observation, he has focused on user-centric innovation to drive adoption.

Lau also highlighted the Chinese people’s willingness to integrate traditional lifestyles with modern technology. “There were hundreds of million or even more virtual red envelopes, or Hong Bao, were exchanged using Tencent’s WeChat on the eve of this year’s Chinese New Year. While Hong Bao is still a good-will gesture that we give to loved ones, the delivery of Hong Bao has been changed,” he said. “Ancient customs can be enhanced, through connectivity, every aspect of our lives will be altered, for the better. ”

“Just as electricity was during the Second Industrial Revolution, and the steam engine for the first Industrial Revolution, same as the power of internet for now, when mankind applied the power of imagination to productions, innovations in many industries, the value they were able to produce grew exponentially,” said Lau.

Tencent was among the first to propose and champion “Internet Plus”, a national digital blueprint in China to integrate the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing.

At the same time, internet connectivity starts embracing and changing the life of people left behind of modern technology in the remote area of China. Lau also delved into an experimental CSR project undertaken by Tencent in a small village of Guizhou province, 2000 miles away from Beijing, where the establishment of the essential information nodes connected a normally isolated community by offering them a free flow of information, access to social media and opportunity to create e-commerce platforms previously unavailable. SY commented, “These changes are especially important for the future of a large country like China: bringing modernity to remote areas as fast as possible, while driving economic development.”

When it comes to approaching China in the digital age, SY Lau advises business professionals to adopt a wholesome, concrete sets of changes in mindset and spirit.

  • “Firstly, be an imaginative seeker by thinking “Math Man,” not just “Mad Man.” Creative individuals need to stretch themselves to use technology to amplify the power of their imaginations.
  • Secondly, embrace the adventurous entrepreneurial spirit by thinking explorations, not just exploitation. “Come to China and explore the opportunity whole-heartedly, but don’t be too hasty to exploit the returns. Return on investment in China is often created by the eyes of the curious, not the minds of the calculus,” explained Lau.
  • And finally, they must learn more about the mindset of the global citizen, by thinking cooperation, but competition. Competition is not the only pathway to success. Long Tail or crowd-funding are game changers. We are no longer living in a zero sum world – we now have better ways to allocate them, manage them, and even maximize them,” said SY Lau.

The keynote speech was delivered by SY Lau on the opening day of 62th Cannes Lions international Festival of Creativity which takes place from 21-27 June in Cannes. The speech was welcomed by more than 1,500 advertising and marketing professionals from the world.

Tencent Online Media Group has grown into a global pioneer in the mobile internet market with extraordinary prowess in technological innovation and inspiration under the leadership of SY Lau. The company’s continuously growing user base gives it the ability to experiment and push the boundaries of innovation, setting a new industry standard that has completely changed the way that Chinese people utilize media.

A feat that has not gone unnoticed by the industry as SY Lau will be honoured with the Media Person of the Year award on Wednesday, June 24, during Cannes Lions.

Terry Savage, CEO of Cannes Lions commented on SY Lau’s award win, “He is an influential figure in today’s media landscape having transformed Tencent Online Media Group into one of the largest and most successful integrated Internet media platforms in the world, and we were delighted that he accepted the award in recognition of his many achievements.”