Xiong Wei

UMKC visiting Fulbright scholar researches high technology's role in China

Visiting Fulbright scholar Vera "Wei" Xiong sees a high-tech China approaching.

Xiong, whose year-long assignment as a professor in UMKC's Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation began last September, continues to study how fledgling technology-based companies in China can maintain their success and market performance. 

In recent decades, China has moved in the direction of high-tech businesses instead of the traditional focus on manufacturing.

"Manufacturing is only a portion of the world economic system," Xiong said. "If China is only good at manufacturing, its workers can only earn a small amount. We want to be more prosperous. We have to do something more creative."

The Fulbright Scholar Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, with additional funding coming from participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad. Xiong, who brought her 11-year-old daughter to the U.S. to give her a multi-cultural experience and background.

"Before this time last year, I'd never heard of the Fulbright Program," said Xiong, one of 40 Chinese professors chosen for exchange this year. "The president and dean at my university said, 'Why not apply for it. It's an honor. It means you're doing great work, and it's a good opportunity to establish an academic relationship with U.S. schools and professors.'"

After a rigorous application and interview process, she was chosen for the program.

Although she'd never met him, Xiong listed UMKC Bloch School professor Mark Parry, Ph.D., as her top choice for host professor.

From reading his research on high-tech entrepreneurship, she believed she could pursue breakthrough research studying with his team.

"As I imagined, Professor Parry is very friendly, helpful and productive," Xiong said. "His work is featured in dozens of publications each year. I think that's incredible. I'm sure I can learn a lot from him."

Xiong's research is titled "A Comparative Study of Marketing Competence of High Tech Firms: China and the United States."

She has surveyed over 100 hi-tech companies in China to determine their new product performance and the resources they invest on research and development.

"China is becoming more modernized," Xiong said. "It is a must to think about how to be more innovative and become more profitable."

In 2000, just as buzz words such as "innovation" began floating, Xiong switched her focus from regular marketing to her doctoral study on industrial innovation, the impact of new technologies on companies.

The Chinese government had begun to set up policies such as tax breaks to encourage progress in technology as well as manufacturing.

"China is a developing country, so there's still a long way to go," Xiong said. "The research of people like me will be helpful. I hope to help shape appropriate policy to make countries prosperous."






"China is becoming more modernized. It is a must to think about how to be more innovative and become more profitable."

-- Vera Xiong