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Richmond conference discovers opportunities to invest in new tech industries

Blockchain, cannabis and virtual reality are believed to be emerging tech trends in 2018
The Global Chinese Financial Forum aims to explore investment opportunities in emerging sectors. File photo

New technologies such as Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) may seem far from people’s ordinary lives, but a conference is bringing global leaders in those industries to Richmond residents.

Founders and executives from more than 10 companies in areas such as virtual reality (VR) cannabis and gaming, will share the latest trends and investment opportunities at the Global Chinese Financial Forum on Saturday, April 28 in Richmond.

“The technology innovation sector is the best performing sector in the past two years in the whole stock market,” said Gilbert Chan, Richmond resident and president of NAI Interactive Ltd. who will host the conference.

“For example, the best-performing companies are Amazon, Netflix, and Canada’s e-commerce platform Shopify.

“Investors in these technology companies have made a lot of money in the past two years, so we think this will be a good time for us to think, hey, what’s the next opportunity.”

Chan believes that one of the hottest trends right now is Blockchain, a software platform for digital assets. The conference will discover the technology behind it and its latest applications.

“Most of the old systems are centralized. For instance, all transactions going through the bank are within a centralized system. Someone can hack the system and steal all your private data,” said Chan.

However, Blockchain is a spot-to-spot network platform on which the data travels directly between two parties that are involved, he explained.

“So there is no centralized place where we store all the data; all transactions go through multiple systems. Even if someone hacks one system, they can only get one copy of data. So it’s safer that way,” said Chan.

Blockchain technology is now being applied in multiple areas, including money transactions, medical systems and insurance claims that require information sharing, according to Chan.

Apart from this, the conference will also cover trends in AI, VR, eSports, fintech, mobile apps and marijuana, which Chan believes are emerging tech trends to watch in 2018.

“Many medical cannabis facilities are getting ready to expand to the recreational marijuana business – this will be the next booming industry,” said Chan.

However, though investing in new ideas and innovations can bring investors the most money, these investments also come with higher risks, he added.

“When you invest in something early on that is fairly new, and you don’t study diligently on the company’s background, management and how they operate, you might lose your money,” said Chan.

“The whole point of the conference is for investors to learn the pros and cons of companies and industries and seek advice from others before they actually invest. In the end, it’s the investors that make the decisions.”

There will be a special section for local start-up companies who haven’t made it to the stock market to pitch their ideas on the stage, in the hope of attracting some investment from the audience, according to Chan.

The conference will take place in both English and Mandarin at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel. Admission is free, and registration is required on the conference website.