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Chinese TED Talk Speakers: Introducing Chinese Culture to the World

TED Talks, originally starting as Technology, Entertainment and Design talks, is now internationally known to hold educational and informative conferences on a wide range of topics, giving the stage to people with brilliant ideas that could inspire and bring new knowledge to its audiences. 

Here are Chinese TED Talk speakers who have shared perspectives on bridging the East to the West:


1. ShaoLan Hsueh

Working as a technologist and entrepreneur, ShaoLan Hsueh, gave TED talks that aimed to help the West understand China’s culture and language. Both of her TED talks, “Learn to read Chinese … with ease!” and “The Chinese Zodiac explained” provide easy-to-assess information presented in a friendly manner. For her first TED talk, “Learn to read Chinese … with ease!” Hsueh walked through a simple lesson that helped people who are trying to learn the language recognize the ideas and meaning behind the Chinese characters. 

In Hsueh’s second TED talk, she explained how the Chinese zodiac works, its beliefs and traditions, and that practitioners believe it to influence one’s personality, career, love matches, and luck for the current year. 

2. Fang Ruan

Management consultant Fang Ruan gave a TED talk called, “Management lessons from Chinese business and philosophy,” wherein she discussed how and why business management in China is changing. Ruan is a co-lead of the BCG Henderson Institute in China and a regional leader of the People and Organization practice in the Asia-Pacific. 

Although they have been previously guided by the Chinese philosophy of Confucianism, Chinese entrepreneurs are now geared towards looking into Taoism that gives them a brand new perspective of how leadership should be. According to Taoism principles for businesses, leaders should support, and not manipulate, how things evolve, transform, and naturally achieve perfection in their business. Practitioners believe this will enable to achieve success.



3. Jennifer 8. Lee

Jennifer 8. Lee, an author and a reporter for the New York Times, shared ideas on culture and city life that are inspired by the Chinese and her personal experiences through her two TED talks, “The Hunt for General Tso” and “Why 1.5 billion people eat with chopsticks.”

In her TED talk, “The Hunt for General Tso,” she talked about her pursuit in unraveling the origins of  common Chinese-American dishes. She shares her fascination with this cuisine that led her to research and write The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, which details the Chinese-American cuisine’s mysterious origins. 



4. Gene Luen Yang

As an American-born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang strongly advocated and reinforced the importance of diverse reading materials. The Library of Congress’s fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and multi-awarded comic book and graphic novel artist shares his belief that comic books and graphic novels should be reinforced in school through his TED talk, “Comics belong in the classroom.” As an educator himself, he said that it has been proven to increase the learning potential of kids in school in America. American cartoonists, in turn, began producing more “explicitly educational content for the K-12 market.”


5. Raymond Tang

Guangzhou-born Raymond Tang is the founder of the Cultural Leadership Toastmasters Club at Westpac that provides an online platform and opportunity for people to share their cultural experiences and relate them with a community. Through his TED talk, “Be humble — and other lessons from the philosophy of water,” he expressed his ideas on ancient Chinese philosophies and related them to modern experiences and ideas.

In his talk, he mainly focused on the Tao Te Ching, a Chinese classic text that is commonly credited to the Chinese sage Laozi. He found a passage comparing goodness to water which gave him the answer that he was seeking when he was lost and trying to find fulfillment in a world that is constantly changing.


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