Highlights From BEYOND Expo 2023: Flying Cars and a Changing Macau

The three-day tech conference returned this year, drawing hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees, as Macau leans into an identity of tech and innovation

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Hayley Zhao
9:40 AM HKT, Mon May 15, 2023 3 mins read

With pandemic-era restrictions out of the way, the BEYOND Expo officially returned to its full glory this year in Macau. The long-awaited emerging tech expo is the latest occurrence in a movement that sees the city expanding its identity beyond gambling.

Macau’s world-class casinos and luxury hotels earned it the nickname the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ – but a huge slump in tourism during the pandemic catalyzed a period of soul-searching for the Chinese special administrative region. A series of governmental crackdowns on the gaming industry solidified the city’s resolve to diversify its identity and economy.

Located in China’s Greater Bay Area, Macau is leaning into an identity around technology and innovation. Collaborating with established, tech-focused cities like Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Macau is looking to utilize its international free zone and visa-free status to attract more talent and investment in tech.

The BEYOND Expo is part of that effort, with this year’s conference focusing on innovation across healthcare, sustainability, and consumer tech. Here are four handpicked highlights.

1. Autonomous Vehicles

China is no stranger to the autonomous vehicle game, and domestic tech giants like Baidu and Didi are already piloting robotaxi fleets in multiple cities.

This year, Xpeng Aeroht, Qcraft, and Cowarobot were among the companies showcasing their latest autonomous vehicle products, from boats and buses, to street cleaning robots, to intelligent all-electric flying machines.

Additionally, experts from the Shenzhen Autonomous Driving Intelligence Research Centre moderated a discussion on the future of mobility.

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Xpeng Aeroht’s Traveler X2, a two-person intelligent electric flying machine

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Mogo’s autonomous bus prototype

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Cowarobot’s new cleaning robot design. Features include intelligent waste identification, fully autonomous path planning, adaptive sweeping and automatic parking

2. Sports

Attendees might be interested to know that the Venetian Hotel is not only the host of this year’s Expo, but also the host of the 2007 NBA China Game, as well as the first-ever UFC event to be held in greater China, back in 2014. Now, Macau is looking to boost its reputation as a major hub for sports.

The NBA booth was a fan favorite at this year’s conference, showcasing the NBA’s history in China and inviting guests to test their shooting skills. Its noticeable presence at BEYOND suggests that sports may play a significant role in the ongoing diversification of Macau’s entertainment sector.


The NBA booth at BEYOND



Memorabilia displayed at the NBA booth

3. Macau As Pan-Asian Center

This year, over 40% of expo exhibitors are international companies. Speakers, entrepreneurs, and representatives from across the Pan-Asian area made appearances at the conference. Seminars were held in Japanese, Bahasa, English, and Mandarin.

BEYOND’s co-organizer Lu Gang hopes the conference will eventually become the largest of its kind in Asia, putting Macau on the map as a pan-Asian technology hub.


CEO of TechNode and co-organizer of BEYOND Lu Gang speaking at the conference

Kishore Mahbubani, Former President of the United Nations Security Council, said that the 21st century will be the Asian century. He also offered a new meaning for the acronym CIA – China, India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The scope of technology is advancing quickly, says Mabhubani, and with around 3.5 billion people living in the CIA area, collaboration will be a crucial theme.

Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore Mahbubani giving a keynote speech on the rise of Asia

4. Gateway for Startups

The expo isn’t just for current industry leaders – it’s also a platform for startups to find investors and financing opportunities. This year featured international investment summits, as well as startup roadshows (including the first-ever roadshow from the Brazil-Portugal Innovation Company ).

The expo presents the perfect opportunity for eager young startups to network, learn, and show off what they’re working on.

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5. Healthcare and Sustainability

Healthcare and sustainability took center stage at this year’s Expo, sparking dynamic discussions among experts from both fields. Collaboratively, they explored the transformative potential of technology, particularly AI, and its impact on reshaping the industry’s landscape.

Although the integration of AI in healthcare and drug development is currently in its early stages, Zhang Wenze , CFO of Chinese pharmaceutical company Livzon, emphasized during the conference that AI is poised to become a formidable force in disrupting the healthcare system. He predicted that AI will significantly influence the development of biopharmaceuticals over the next decade, solidifying its heavyweight status in the industry.

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Zhang Wenze discussing the application of AI in the healthcare industry

The field of sustainability , on the other hand, has already experienced notable transformations as a result of technological advancements but more remains to be done. The Chinese government has been pushing for the application of renewable energy in recent years but replacing all coal plants is not an overnight job. This is when technology came into play, as Saifur Rahman , president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, highlighted the need to construct highly efficient coal plants equipped with carbon capture technologies.

While the past three years have been shaky ones for Macau, the future looks to be coming quickly, if the BEYOND Expo is any indicator.

All image courtesy of BEYOND Expo

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