x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Balance

This event occurred on
May 7, 2016
9:00am - 6:00pm CST
(UTC +8hrs)
Shanghai, Shanghai

We live in a great time of dualities: digital and handmade, science and art, artificial intelligence and humanism, rural and urban, haves and have-nots, basic and abstract, internal and external, east and west, past and future. Openness and mindfulness is needed now more than ever to bring both sides of the equation together rather than choosing one over the other. This year TEDxShanghai will show the poetic Balance between these interconnected opposites, creating and fostering long-lasting collaborative conversations. 

Shanghai Tower
501 Yincheng Middle Rd, Lujiazui
Shanghai, Shanghai, 100818
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Burning Man (Ting, Carson, Doc)

Burning Man (Ting, Carson, Doc) PAN Pacific Expedition: A curated group of entrepreneurs, artists, community builders who are deeply curious about colliding and learning from the East in meaningful ways. They engage at the intersection of cutting edge technology, human-centered design, and social impact. The vision is for these expeditions to serve as environments for cultural exchange, collective problem solving, and empty building.

Datuk Ramli Ibrahim

Datuk Ramli Ibrahim Dancer / Choreographer / Artistic Director / Chairman of Sutra Foundation Accomplished in ballet, modern and Indian classical dances, Ramli Ibrahim is a cultural icon who has performed internationally for four decades. Since his return to Malaysia more than thirty years ago, this prodigal son of the Malaysian soil has been instrumental in transforming the dance scene in Malaysia by boldly charting new paths. As the country’s champion of dance, be it odissi, bharatanatyam, makyong or modern dance, Ramli has endeavored to present compelling insights to these exquisite art forms. Described as the best male odissi dancer of his generation in India, Ramli singlehandedly established odissi as a widely appreciated dance form in Malaysia. Besides odissi, Ramli has also simultaneously contributed to the establishment of Malaysian contemporary modern dance through the creation of a strong body of original works, which define ‘modernity’ from Asian perspectives.


Traveller, Storyteller
Gábor Rural Explorer Gábor began his expedition in 2009 which slowly converted into a personal mission to photographically document and record the stories of the people he meets along his path. This is a memoir of a long term project that shares the acts of random kindness while sharing an aspect of humanity through personal stories of people in their environments. He is currently wandering around the remotest parts of China. Trying to understand the struggles and hardships that majority of the world undertakes on a day to day basis PEOPLEIMEET is to act as a mirror, or an exchange of culture, where a viewer can look at the face that shares a story of love, kindness, bravery, isolation or even unimportant facts. The project promotes an online world without borders in hopes to share cultures, promote overall tolerance and unite the world as one.

Alfie Lin 凌宗湧

Flower Installation Artist
Alfie Lin 凌宗湧 Flower Installation Artist Since the first day he began to create floral art designs, he sensed that florals are a part of small and great moments, as well as each and every stage of our lives. Contained within are not only visual impressions, but a beauty which exists in the glimpse it takes to touch one’s heart. Most of his creative inspiration stems from observations of the environment around him. Through his eyes, he discovers the natural contours and patterns of each location.In his works, his techniques are crystallized and presented through the designs which accentuate the latent loveliness of the natural materials’ original form, resulting in distinctively natural floral design styles that are simplistic, refreshing, and imbued with elegance and passion.

Ami Vitale

National Geographic Photographer
Ami Vitale National Geographic Photographer Ami Vitale has explored the world from temples to war zones and has recently turned her lens to compelling wildlife stories such as returning critically endangered species, like the giant panda and the northern white rhino, back to the wild. She has traveled to more than 90 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and to the enduring power of the human spirit. Travel with Ami on her fascinating personal odyssey that reveals what unites us as human beings.

Calvin Tsao 曹慰祖

Wellness Architect
Calvin Tsao 曹慰祖 Architect In his roles at Tsao & McKown and Octave, Calvin Tsao seeks to create buildings and environments that actively participate in their ever-changing contexts. Through a synthesis of science and philosophy, design and culture, technology and ecology, business and non-profit sectors, he forges a multidisciplinary approach to architecture and development that works toward a harmonious, purposeful, and sustainable society. This wealth of inspiration informs what Calvin believes to be a central purpose of architecture: to create physical spaces that provide utility and shape psychologies, behaviors, and values. The functions and forms of architecture constantly rebalance according to the needs, identities, and contexts that shape our dynamic world – past, present, and future.

Cesar Jung-Harada

Inventor, Environmentalist, Entrepreneur
Cesar Jung-Harada Ocean Roboticist, Educator Cesar Jung-Harada is a French-Japanese environmentalist, inventor and entrepreneur based in Hong Kong. Founder of MakerBay (Hong Kong MakerSpace for Social and Environmental Impact), Scoutbots and Protei INC (Ocean Robotics). Cesar is dedicating his life to explore and protect oceans with open technologies. Protei is a shape-shifting sailing robot, a wind-powered maritime drone that is aimed at collect ocean data or transport equipment. Cesar is a Former MIT Project Leader, TED Senior Fellow, GOOD 100, IBM Figure of Progress, Unreasonable at Sea Fellow. Cesar believes that nature, human and technology can thrive in harmony.

Chris Chang 张文轩

Fashion Designer
Chris Chang 张文轩 Fashion Designer / Artist Chris Chang is China's premier maximalist - more is more is more for this trailblazing designer. After attending Parson's School of Design and heading Prada in Taiwan for eight years, Chang launched her own brand -- Poesia by Chris Chang. Poesia (an ancient word meaning "poetry") is womenswear elevated to art form, and has won a loyal following from women who embrace self-expression, color and maximal glamor.

Dana Leong

Dana Leong Music Without Borders Dana Leong is a two-time Grammy award winning musician, composer, and producer. Considered by many to be the world’s top electric cellist, he has also been referred to as world’s top trombone player by members of the world renowned Balkan Beat Box. Dana’s music spans across multiple genres. His distinctive sound is an emotionally mesmerizing combination of jazz, healing music, electronic dance and hip hop.

Daniel Zhang 张贤铭

Disruptive Architect, Broad Group
Daniel Zhang 张贤铭 Modular Architect and Community Storyteller With his productions of a series of viral internet videos of Broad Sustainable Buildings, Daniel Zhang introduced to the world his father's invention: the world's fastest, largest, and tallest steel modular housing constructions to date. With sustainability as the key message, together they believe these are the only solutions to the challenges of human urbanization on every continent. Having been trained as an architect at Carnegie Mellon University, Zhang continued his doctorates in India and Germany. Since 2016 he and his life-long partner, Angela, had begun an experimental intentional community for 100 which continued to grow. It began with an eight-story vertical community in Changsha named P8, a second-tier Chinese city of 7 million residents.

Datuk Ramli Ibrahim

Indian Dance Master

David Nieh 聂耀中

Architecture x Business x Environmentalist
David Nieh 聂耀中 Sustainable / Sustainability Developer David was appointed Head of China for Lend Lease in April 2012 and is based in Shanghai, China. David is responsible for growing the company’s footprint in China and introducing Lend Lease’s unique integrated model into China, offering property services spanning the entire property value chain including investment, development, project management, construction and asset management. David brings vast experience in development and is a renowned thought leader on sustainability in the built environment. David previously served as General Manager for Shui On Land, one of China’s preeminent and most sustainable property developers. He was responsible for the planning, entitlements, business development, project management and development of their Knowledge Communities, working closely with government, venture capital, banking partners, and top Chinese and international institutions.

Dong Tian Guan

Peking Opera Performer

Dong Tian Guan 关栋天

Guan Dong Tian 关栋天 Nation’s Top-Class Performer, Peking Opera Guan Dong Tian, formerly known as Guan Huai, is our generation’s top class Peking Opera performer. He has been acknowledged as the inheritor of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage (Peking Opera) in 2008. Peking Opera which is deemed as the Nation Opera of China, is a fascinating art form combing the elements of historical stories, graceful gestures, beautiful singing, and extravagant garments. His father, Guan Zheng Ming, is a performer in the Wuhan Peking Opera Troupe. Guan Dong Tian has had an immense passion for the Peking Opera since childhood and has a remarkable talent for it. He followed his father’s footsteps and played the role of “Lao Sheng” in the Peking Opera. Guan joined Wuhan Peking Opera Troupe in 1978 and was transferred to Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre in 1984. Now he has become the best “Lao Sheng” performer nationwide.

Dr. Mike North

Skunkworks Creator, Discovery Host
Dr. Mike North Skunkworks Creator Dr. North holds bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in science and engineering with focuses on mechanical design, rapid prototyping, biomimetics, and nanotechnology. He has been published in a half a dozen major scientific journals, including the journal Nature, and continues to speak internationally on design and innovation. Mike masterminded builds on the Discovery Channel show ‘Prototype This!’, where he led teams of scientists, builders, and engineers to invent the future. He’s taught innovation at UC Berkeley, is creating systems for a more equitable planet as the founder of ReAllocate, co-founded the Burning Man camp IDEATE, and has a rapid prototyping and storytelling firm with clients ranging from Intel to Tesla to USAID. North is currently producing and hosting his own Discovery Digital Show called ‘In The Making’, hosts the Discovery VR show ‘The Potentialists’, and co-hosts The Science Channel Show ‘Outrageous Acts of Science’.

Dr. Roger King 金乐琦博士

Director, Tanoto Centre for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies, HKUST
Dr. Roger King 金乐琦博士 Entrepreneur, Board Director, Professor of familial business, finance and governance Professor Roger King devotes his “second career” to bridge the knowledge gap between academics, practitioners as well as policymakers, especially in the understanding of ethnic Chinese family businesses. He is the Founder and Director of the HKUST Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies, a leading institution to research and education in family businesses and entrepreneurship in Asia. Drawing from his unique experience as a family member of a global family business, an outsider CEO working for other families and a serial entrepreneur creating multifarious ventures, Roger’s research presents powerful and down-to-the-earth implications to the real world. His recent work unfolds secrets of how ethnic Chinese family businesses break the curse of “wealth does not go beyond three generations” and how they differ from other ethnic groups.

Huan Zhang 张洹

Zhang Huan 张洹 Artist Zhang Huan, the face of Chinese modern arts, was an active figure in Beijing in 1990s before he moved to New York in 1998 where he began to earn worldwide acclaim. He started his studio in Shanghai in 2005. In 2014 he was awarded Legion of Honor (Chevalier) for his contribution as an artist to promote Chinese culture and advance Sino-French culture and art exchanges. In March 2015, the opera Semele directed by Zhang was successfully performed in Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York. His works have been collected by over a hundred top museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museums, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Pompidu in Paris, and Shanghai Art Museum. He has so far thrown more than 60 solo exhibitions in world-renowned galleries and museums. In 2006 Zhang Huan and his wife, Ms. Hu Junjun, instituted Gao’an Foundation in Shanghai, extending aids to organizations engaged in education, culture and art, and Buddhism.

Jian Ping Gu 顾建平

City Tallest Skyscraper Custodian
Gu Jian Ping 顾建平 City's Tallest Building Master Planner Gu Jian Ping started his career in the General Office of Shanghai Municipal People's Government after graduation from college. He was appointed as the operating manager of Shanghai Chengtou Corporation as well as the General Manager of Shanghai Chengtou Real Estate Co.,Ltd. in 1992. He also explored both residential and commercial properties development with a total floor space up to one million square meters. Gu Jian Ping has been involved in the planning, launch and execution of the Shanghai Tower project ever since 2006. Shanghai Tower, located at the core of Pudong’s Lujiazui Finance and Trade Area in Shanghai, is 632 meters tall, with a total construction area of 575,000 square meters. The construction of Shanghai Tower broke ground in November 2008 and it civil construction completed in the end of 2014.

Magda Sayeg

City Yarn Bomber
Magda Sayeg Fiber Artist, Founder Yarn Art Movement My passion is with the material: I love displacing hand made, mostly knitted, material in environments where it seemingly doesn’t belong…only to discover that they can coexist quite harmoniously. I understand the limitations of this medium intimately, and I continue to challenge it. There is a transformation that occurs when I cover an inanimate object with soft hand made material. This interaction changes the object with out taking away its identity or paralyzing it original function. It si this unplanned arrangement of the material that makes these objects come to life, become sculptural and even redefine or reinterpret a space. The exploration of environmental change drives me: provoking the world to be a more challenging, unconventional, and interesting place.

Master Li Tsuei Sun 孙丽翠

Body Culture
Sun Li Tsuei 孙丽翠 Theatre performance creator, director and performer, Teacher of Chi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan Are you conscious of your feet? Can you feel every single sensation of all your toes inside your shoes? My feet are like an electric plug which insert into the earth, which can absorb enormous amounts of energy from underneath. In Chinese, it is called 地氣 (Di Chi), which means Chi of Earth. Feet are like a foundation to the body, they need to be aligned correctly. Feet not only keep balance for our body, but each toe is an exit of our meridian energy in Chinese medicine respect. Most of all, they connect us to the earth and help us to move and to be.

Nina Bianchi

Nina Bianchi Founder and Partner at The Work Department Nina is an ecosystem designer and focuses on identifying opportunities, cultivating relationships, and building partnerships both locally in Detroit and internationally. She serves her vast communities in various capacities that range from advocating for economic innovation to the equitable development of our built and virtual environments. She is the founder and partner of The Work Department, a women-led social innovation firm that is building stronger communities with better design. Drawn to complex systems, she is dedicated to unlocking more ways that people can learn, grow, and shape the future together.

Patricia Field

Patricia Field Fashion Icon My original career motivation was to develop an independent career. One which would allow me the freedom to express my believes and philosophies, and at the same time create a comfortable living. My vision and philosophy go hand-in-hand. I would describe my philosophy as one which encourages creativity, which expresses the zeitgeist of the culture we all share. My vision is to express myself and my work in a positive, enjoyable and intelligent way, and to communicate this with all people that I come in contact with on a professional basis. For me, a bit of comedy and light-heartedness is also a part of my equation. I consider myself to be a Fashion collage artist, in that I enjoy mixing unexpected elements together to create examples of uniqueness. The baseline of my work extends beyond Fashion as my philosophy.

Shu Wang 王澍

Wang Shu 王澍 Pritzker Prize-Winning Architect Wang Shu is head of the architecture department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou and founder of Amateur Architecture Studio which he runs with his wife, Lu Wenyu. Wang won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2012 and became the first Chinese citizen to win this prize. It is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture. In 2010, Wang and Lu Wenyu won the German Schelling Architecture Prize together, and in 2011 he received the gold medal from the French Academy of Architecture. His architecture has been described as "opening new horizons while at the same time resonating with place and memory" by the Pritzker Prize jury. Wang Shu’s signature work included the Ningbo Contemporary Art Museum, the Ningbo History Museum.

Yuan Yuan Tan 谭元元

Tan Yuan Yuan 谭元元 Prima Ballerina From child prodigy to the youngest principal dancer of the San Francisco Ballet, Tan Yuan Yuan's celebrated career spans twenty years of poise and perfection. Her ethereal grace and unique style of dancing has astonished audiences and fans around the world. Beginning as a ballet student in Shanghai to becoming the star of the San Francisco Ballet, the oldest company in the United States, Tan Yuan Yuan is hailed as one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation and certainly the most accomplished from China. Tan’s storied career has brought her international recognition for excellence in a demanding and unforgiving art form requiring immense physical and mental discipline. One out of a billion, she chronicles her meteoric rise to the top, her pursuit of perfection, and maintaining balance while staying on pointe.

Zhang Lei 张雷

Crafts Curator, Designer
Zhang Lei 张雷 Designer, Researcher, Curator Zhang Lei, founder of PINWU Design Studio and "From Yuhang Rong Design Library", curator of “Rong-Handmade in Hangzhou” and “From Yuhang” Project. He graduated from Zhejiang University with a major in Industrial Design and DUMUS Academy with a major in Automobile Design. Zhang Lei, Jovana Lei, and Christoph John are the chief designers of PINWU design studio. PINWU focuses on Chinese traditional material while making contemporary design out of traditional craft. The signature design “Tie” chair won the Design Report Award of Salona Satellite 2011 in Milan, the first for a Chinese designer. “Rong-Handmade in Hangzhou”focused on five Chinese traditional materials (bamboo, silk, mud, copper and paper), and exhibited around the world from 2013 to 2017 including The Louver. “From Yuhang Rong Design Library”opened in 2015, the first traditional Chinese material library.

Organizing team


Shanghai , China