Chen Ping, the founder of the TIDEiSun group, is unique among investors: at once a scholar, entrepreneur and owner of independent media.

Chen Ping, the founder of the TIDEiSun group, is unique among investors: at once a scholar, entrepreneur and owner of independent media.

In earlier years, he was one of the architects of China’s economic reform and opening up to the outside world. As one of the young economic and scientific experts at the 1984 Moganshan Meeting he promoted China’s restructuring. After the Tiananmen event in 1989, he left his homeland for business overseas. In 1992, he established the TIDETIME group in Hong Kong, and in 2005, the TIDEiSun group obtained equity in SunTV and transformed it into a channel dedicated to historical documentaries and in-depth talk shows. Launching in 2011, his publication iSunAffairsWeekly soon became one of Asia’s brightest bastions of independence, knowledge and truth, with four awards from the Asian Publishing Association.

Since 2009, Chen Ping began to invest in iSunCloud, a secure and efficient decentralized cloud storage structure, aiming to realize a future of information equality, mutual assistance and autonomy for everyone who creates, provides or uses information. This decentralized storage, computing and communications network began the development of blockchain technology at the TIDEiSun group today.

Chen Ping, His Life Trajectory and Ideological Development

If you try to trace back Chen Ping’s life over the past sixty years, you will find a long drama that is full of ups and downs. The backdrop of all his joys and sorrows is his home country, China, which experienced an unprecedented era of turbulence, transformation, economic development, ideological surges, and social transformation in the past decades. Chen Ping’s life, from his turbulent early years, to the upswing of his youth, to an adulthood making his way into the wider world, is a microcosm of this great era.

Chen Ping, His Life Trajectory and Ideological Development

If you try to trace back Chen Ping’s life over the past sixty years, you will find a long drama that is full of ups and downs. The backdrop of all his joys and sorrows is his home country, China, which experienced an unprecedented era of turbulence, transformation, economic development, ideological surges, and social transformation in the past decades. Chen Ping’s life, from his turbulent early years, to the upswing of his youth, to an adulthood making his way into the wider world, is a microcosm of this great era.

Childhood

A driver of technological and business innovation, Chen Ping’s ability to predict long-term macroeconomic trends and explore large-scale business opportunities is unparalleled. The blockchain reflects Chen Ping’s pursuit of a sustainable society, redefining the relationship of production and changing the relationship between people.

Chen Ping was born in 1955 in the compound of the Chinese army in Shanghai. His parents both came from prominent modern Chinese families and were devoted to the left-wing revolution when they were young. Both participated in the Chinese Communist Party. However, Chen Ping had a different destiny from the fate of his peers of the “Red generation” from childhood. When he was ten months old, his officer father was sent to the former Soviet Union’s Leningrad Academy of Military Sciences for training.

Chen left his busy parents and his birthplace—Shanghai, the largest industrial and commercial city in China—and was brought to the historic commercial port Wuhu in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in Anhui Province by his grandparents. Chen Ping grew up in this city full of the atmosphere of Anhui business, drinking the water of the Yangtze River. He returned to his mother in Shanghai several times during that period of five years, spending each summer and winter vacation in the city. From 1969 to 1970, he moved to Xi An for more than a year as his mother’s troops were transferred to the ancient capital. When he returned to Shanghai in 1978, it was as a full-grown man.

Chen Ping’s youth coincided with the most turbulent, dark, barbaric and cruel days of the “Cultural Revolution” in China. Due to his wealthy family background, his grandfather’s status as a capitalist, and the fact that his father went to study in the Soviet Union but did not return, during his teenage years he received “revolution bullying” and tasted the hardships of life. At the same time, at the young age of 12 years old, he had also assembled a “Young Flying Tiger Group” in Wuhu to fight against the rebel faction’s endless denunciations of his grandparents and of himself, a young child labeled the son of a traitor. He proclaimed himself as the head of the group, leading them in the dangerous street battles of the time.

Chen Ping, who uses his mother’s surname, inherited his Anhui family’s legacy of upturning tradition and shaping modern China. His mother’s family comes from Huaining, Anhui Province, which is both an industrial and commercial powerhouse and home to the scholars of Jiangnan. His maternal grandfather, in addition to commercial work in the rice industry, successfully entered the Shanghai business sphere by establishing the Shanghai Oil and Fat Company, the predecessor to today’s Shanghai Daily Chemical Group.

His mother was inspired by the Chinese revolution led by the Communist Party, which at the time was recognized as a progressive force. She joined the Communist Party when she was a student in Shanghai and escaped the massacre before the Kuomintang (KMT) withdrawal due to timely information from Chen Ping’s grandfather, eventually becoming an army doctor for the cause. At the time, Chen Ping’s grandfather chose to side with the CCP and stayed in Shanghai because of his disillusionment with corruption in the Kuomintang, only realizing his mistake after it was already too late. In what was deemed a “public-private partnership,” he donated all his property, evacuated to the city of Wuhu, and took a meager salary as an accountant at a state-owned company.

In Wuhu, before leaving to study in the Soviet Union, his father amassed a rich collection of books, lending the philosophy of his forefathers to a young Chen Ping. His grandfather’s words, “though you must live in poverty, never forget your dignity” have always stayed with him, fueling the cultivation of his mind. Reading allowed Chen Ping to realize his ideological and cultural heritage. Chen Ping’s consistent pursuit of freedom, equality, democracy and justice in the past 50 years has stemmed from the lessons he learned during his youth.

Chen Ping’s father’s surname is Zhang, with a family stemming from Jiangsu Nantong. His family background is not just scholarly: his father’s branch was historically and politically indispensable to the Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China. His paternal grandfather was a lawyer – a rare and emerging profession in the Republic of China with social status – during the introduction into China of the western legal system.

Chen Ping’s father’s family was killed by Japanese bombing at the time of the second world war. At the age of 12, his father went alone with other refugees to join the New Fourth Army in Tianchang, Anhui Province. He was sent to the Soviet Union to study in 1955, something that indicated a bright future for the family anticipating his return, before changes in the Communist Party changed circumstances for the family as well.

Before the open break between China and the USSR in 1960, Chen Ping’s father made major contributions to the field of military science. When political winds shifted, the CCP decided to prevent him from returning to China. This series of measures meant that Chen Ping’s father disappeared from Moscow (then Leningrad) in the summer of 1961, sparking a major diplomatic incident between China and the Soviet Union. He would not see his family again for thirty-three years.

At the time, Chen Ping was six years old. He had pretended to have fallen asleep in order to overhear the truth of the matter, listening with tears in his eyes as his mother and grandparents consoled each other. The family would attempt to hide the family scandal until his mother’s remarriage during the cultural revolution. This early life experience inspired Chen Ping to think independently, realizing that he must make his own way in the world.

Youth as a Scholar

After his graduation from a local professional school in Anhui province, Chen Ping left his childhood with an experience of integrity and morality shaped by both sides of his family, ready to enter the working world.

1976 was an important year in the history of the People’s Republic of China. That was the year that the people’s dissatisfaction with the cultural revolution, and indeed with the entire state, reached a critical point. Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, passed away on January 8th of that year. Through the national mourning for the premier, the people found a way to vent their dissatisfaction, expressing themselves in a large-scale demonstration disguised as a patriotic display.

During that year’s Qing Ming festival, a group of brave young people in Beijing and Nanjing took the lead and began to express dissatisfaction with Mao’s autocratic rule in the form of slogans, broadsheets and speeches. The memorial activities for Premier Zhou evolved into demonstrations of millions of people, and Chen Ping was part of the backbone of this brave group of youths.

The outcome of the incident was that authorities used force to suppress the burgeoning mass movement, but Mao’s rule had already been challenged like never before. Mao’s reputation and that of the People’s Republic of China had been called into question, and the response was a great historical turn of policy and public opinion. Two years later, in 1978, the PRC began a new era of reform and opening up to the rest of the world that would come to define Chen Ping’s youth. The passion of his student years thus fueled his reflection and study of social issues.

During this period, he entered the Shanghai Institute of Machinery Manufacturing Technology to become an assistant engineer, and then began to turn his sights to a wider area, working with the Shanghai Research Institute, Shanghai Science and Technology Economic and Social Strategy Research Center, China Enterprise Development Institute and other government research organizations engaged in research. Eventually, Chen Ping entered the CITIC International Research Institute – an advanced think tank with a direct line to the decision-makers behind China’s reform.

Chen Ping’s research during this time period was focused on effectively encouraging and implementing China’s reform, including topics like “China’s countermeasures for a new technological revolution”, “Building an Eurasian diplomatic bridge”, “Establishing policies to support high-tech development districts”, China’s Industrial Vision”, “Shenzhen Economic Zone Special Inspection Report”, “Social Ecology” and so on. Many of these solutions and suggestions have been incorporated into recent advances in China’s rapid social practice and development, such as “The Belt and Road Initiative.”

In 1984, at the height of Chinese reform, a national symposium for young economic scientists was held in Moganshan, Huzhou, Zhejiang Province. The famous symposium was later called the Moganshan Conference, and there Chen Ping led the East China team as the deputy of the Open Strategy Group. The in-depth strategic reform he proposed at the conference was taken under serious consideration by state leaders at the time and later became a pillar of modern Chinese development, from academic thinking to the frontiers of reform.

Above: 1984 Moganshan Conference
Below: 1980 China’s first Science Policy Conference, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province

The subsequent June 4 incident in Tiananmen Square marked a major setback in China’s reform efforts and once again changed Chen Ping’s life. The suppression of the student movement and elimination of reformers at central and local levels prompted him to resign from public office, find his own way out, reinforce his own independence and reconsider his perspective on history, society and development.

As Eastern Europe began its own tumultuous transformation, Chen Ping underwent a transformation of his own, as he left political and economic study to conduct business. Influenced by the reforms in China and USSR, as well as the changes in the United States’ foreign policy, the Soviet Union began to collapse like dominoes, beginning with Poland in 1989. By July 1991, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and a summit between the US and USSR announced the end of the Cold War. On August 19, conservatives of the CPSR incited soldiers to launch a coup d’état, and tanks took to the streets of the Red Square in Moscow. Chen Ping was among the crowds witnessing that moment, and even put a bouquet of roses in the barrel of a tank. In the end, the Soviet Army retreated, signaling the failure of the coup and the eventual disintegration of the Soviet Union. Chen Ping would always remember how he bore witness to that historic moment.

Below: Chen Ping bore witness to the historic moment in Moscow.

Adulthood as a Businessman

The most difficult stage of wealth and life is the initial period of accumulation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Chen Ping made his living in China, the China-Myanmar (later Burma) border area, the former Soviet Union (later Russia), various Eastern European countries, the Federal Republic of Germany (later Germany), the United States, and Hong Kong. His business interests spanned multiple fields, including wholesale apparel, material trade, real estate, financial services and various technologies. After entering the new millennium, Chen Ping’s business concerns also expanded to the fields of agriculture, electricity, energy, and other areas, and his geographic scope expanded to Southeast Asia, Japan, and Taiwan.

Of all the businesses Chen Ping has had experience in, by far the most notable are his dealings in asset management and capital operations and in the media industry. The former includes assistance in the restructuring of businesses, mergers and acquisitions, listing and delisting, and corporate finance. The latter includes the creation and successful breakthrough of a series of traditional media and new media companies. Chen Ping’s impressive success in capital operations accumulated the assets that allowed him to develop and expand into new business areas.

In the past ten years, TIDETIME Technology Group, the operations of which are dominated by media software and hardware systems and services, has been a leader in the field of distance education, e-books, online games, data storage and mobile value-added services. Sun TV, which Chen Ping acquired in 2005, and the all-media digital magazine “iSun Affairs Weekly,” which he founded in August 2011, have been massively influential in the global Chinese diaspora.

“iSun Affairs” was Hong Kong’s first comprehensive digital media entity. It broke through the limitations of traditional media, with a cohesive implementation of technology, content and aesthetics that caused a sensation amongst Hong Kong readers and led to a print publication of the same name. Sun TV is now the only mainstream media channel that is completely independent of government or religious affiliations.


Above: Chen Ping with iSun Affair team in Hong Kong

In recent years, Chen Ping has begun to focus on the development of financial technology, investing in “iSunCrowdfund” and “iSunCloud” to make breakthroughs in an emerging field. This new move is built completely off his philosophical ideals.

The following sections will elaborate on how his upbringing and unique perspective have shaped the development of his career.

Development of Ideology

Chen Ping’s ideological development can be divided into many stages: the education of his childhood, the government think tank experience of his youth, the business experience in a broader global field of his adulthood and middle age and now a systematic maturity born of reflection.

What initiated the broadening of Chen Ping’s thoughts was first and foremost an unprecedented opportunity for him to travel through business activities. His travels include not only extensive exchanges with all kinds of people, but also an experience of the entire world. This kind of life gives a taste of various cultures and chances to verify theories learned in the past. It also reveals where there are theoretical shortcomings and even fallacies in one’s own mind. Travel stimulates people’s more critical reflections and the higher levels of theoretical reconstruction.

Chen Ping was directed from extensive travel to focus on deep analysis when he led SunTV’s “Lun-Heng” and “Midnight” programs, where he talked with more than 300 Chinese intellectuals and thinkers. In the program, a wide range of topics and diversified viewpoints directly inspired the development of Chen Ping’s thoughts. He then began to put together a series of topics on the program, an accessible introduction to thinking itself: reflecting on history, criticizing reality, and building the future.

In 2008, as the world financial crisis devastated the economy and on the eve of a larger socioeconomic crisis, Chen Ping keenly observed and pointed out that the 2008 crash was not the same as previous capitalist cyclical economic crises. Rather, it was the crash of a global development model that plunged its corresponding values and social systems into a deep dilemma. In other words, since the crisis of the US subprime mortgage system, the growth model of the globalized modern industrial civilization has come to an end.

He further pointed out that there are two deeper basic contradictions below this rampant state of globalized capitalist development. The first layer is a Western value system that has taken Social Darwinism as its main axis since the 18th century, resulting in a mainstream culture that has been led astray on the relationship between man and nature. Social Darwinism is reflected in the mode of production and social systems most prevalent today. The other layer is the system of globalization. Under the current distribution mechanism, those who are stronger are able to take more; reinforcing, continuing and multiplying their strength. The drawbacks of this system have become apparent. Because our environment and resources cannot support such development, and science and technology have not created new demands for consumption in time, the outbreak of a major crisis is unavoidable.

Facing such a big crisis, Chen Ping proposes that human society urgently needs a new ideological liberation movement, something that breaks existing mainstream values, seeks a balance between material and spiritual satisfaction and cultivates a new culture, a new way of life. We need to build a sustainable economy and growth model, and a more idealistic, fair and equitable democratic capitalist society. He boldly predicted and called for a new form of civilization after the revitalization of industrial civilization, and believes that this is how human beings can survive the crisis state we currently find ourselves in.

Path of Action: Knowledge and Schedule

Recognizing this, what people should do and how should they do it? Chen Ping proposes that though it is already in crisis, human society can still have a bright future for further development. One of his important observations is that the rise of the Internet has technically provided a decisive condition for the equality of human beings by making information symmetry possible. In a civilized society, the equality of each individual in basic rights is one of the core universal values. Developed countries have adopted this to formulate strict laws and regulations. However, due to the inequality of information under technical conditions (in the case of industry and commerce, for example, there is often an inequality of transaction information), many people may actually encounter inequality in the (transaction) process, which ultimately severely affects the (transaction) results.

This means that although people can build the best social systems at the institutional level, the cultural level, the legal level, and the moral and ethical level, huge social inequality is still inevitable. This inequality will also hinder the healthy development of industrialized countries in Europe and the Americas. This, in large part, is due to the appearance of inequality or unequal conditions in the development process. The imbalance of this condition is often difficult to solve at the institutional and legal level. The legal aspect of the system seems to want to adjust levels of inequality, often at a price: for example, the use of taxation as adjustment, such as income tax, progressive income tax, inheritance tax, and real estate tax. These taxes, especially income taxes, have caused social development to pay a price, leading to another unfairness.

In recent years, the book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, once again takes the difference between capital and labor income as the main consideration in analyzing social inequality, and attributes the economic crisis of capitalist society to this inequality. The viewpoint elaborated in that book triggered a worldwide discussion under the current environment of a global economic crisis. Chen Ping pointed out that the difference between salary income and capital gains is not only a difference in amount, but also a qualitative difference. Transaction costs become a barrier for members of the working class to become investors. He further analyzed that the information technology revolution may reduce or even level that high threshold, so that every person with a little extra money can make meaningful investments past the threshold needed to make a profit in capital appreciation and thus become investors and capitalists themselves.

However, a more equitable, more inclusive, and sustainable development society will not arrive naturally with the advent of technological advancement. True change requires people to respect the equality of life, practice equality in the process, balance the results of a set of universal values and pave the way for the democratization of economic life, especially the democratization of investment. Chen Ping, with great enthusiasm, paid attention to the rise of micro-business environments in crowdfunding and crowd investment. He devoted his energy and capital to that progress, spending eight years to create “iSunCloud” and “iSunCrowdfund” projects. The central idea of these two projects is to apply blockchain technology to create a decentralized, trustworthy, collectively maintained, and reliable community. These large commercial communities subvert the existing business and financial order in a fundamental sense, greatly promote the democratization of economic life, and promote the development of human society in a more equal, more diverse, more balanced, more sustainable, and more promising direction.

Yes, we can put our ideals into practice starting now. The slogans and messaging of “iSunCloud” and “iSun Crowdfund” include “I am a user, I am a cloud”, “Everyone for me, I’m for everyone”, “Unity is strength; mutual assistance for the sharing economy”, “Democratic investment, autonomous lending,” and “everyone can become capitalists” and other statements that reveal the essential democracy of Chen Ping’s mission. Chen Ping believes that with the advancement of technology and ever-improving values, more and more people have taken the initiative to participate in technological democratization. As time goes by, the democratic inclusive capitalistic system will naturally mature, bringing human society into an utopian future.

Childhood

A driver of technological and business innovation, Chen Ping’s ability to predict long-term macroeconomic trends and explore large-scale business opportunities is unparalleled. The blockchain reflects Chen Ping’s pursuit of a sustainable society, redefining the relationship of production and changing the relationship between people.

Chen Ping was born in 1955 in the compound of the Chinese army in Shanghai. His parents both came from prominent modern Chinese families and were devoted to the left-wing revolution when they were young. Both participated in the Chinese Communist Party. However, Chen Ping had a different destiny from the fate of his peers of the “Red generation” from childhood. When he was ten months old, his officer father was sent to the former Soviet Union’s Leningrad Academy of Military Sciences for training.

Chen left his busy parents and his birthplace—Shanghai, the largest industrial and commercial city in China—and was brought to the historic commercial port Wuhu in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in Anhui Province by his grandparents. Chen Ping grew up in this city full of the atmosphere of Anhui business, drinking the water of the Yangtze River. He returned to his mother in Shanghai several times during that period of five years, spending each summer and winter vacation in the city. From 1969 to 1970, he moved to Xi An for more than a year as his mother’s troops were transferred to the ancient capital. When he returned to Shanghai in 1978, it was as a full-grown man.

Chen Ping’s youth coincided with the most turbulent, dark, barbaric and cruel days of the “Cultural Revolution” in China. Due to his wealthy family background, his grandfather’s status as a capitalist, and the fact that his father went to study in the Soviet Union but did not return, during his teenage years he received “revolution bullying” and tasted the hardships of life. At the same time, at the young age of 12 years old, he had also assembled a “Young Flying Tiger Group” in Wuhu to fight against the rebel faction’s endless denunciations of his grandparents and of himself, a young child labeled the son of a traitor. He proclaimed himself as the head of the group, leading them in the dangerous street battles of the time.

Chen Ping, who uses his mother’s surname, inherited his Anhui family’s legacy of upturning tradition and shaping modern China. His mother’s family comes from Huaining, Anhui Province, which is both an industrial and commercial powerhouse and home to the scholars of Jiangnan. His maternal grandfather, in addition to commercial work in the rice industry, successfully entered the Shanghai business sphere by establishing the Shanghai Oil and Fat Company, the predecessor to today’s Shanghai Daily Chemical Group.

His mother was inspired by the Chinese revolution led by the Communist Party, which at the time was recognized as a progressive force. She joined the Communist Party when she was a student in Shanghai and escaped the massacre before the Kuomintang (KMT) withdrawal due to timely information from Chen Ping’s grandfather, eventually becoming an army doctor for the cause. At the time, Chen Ping’s grandfather chose to side with the CCP and stayed in Shanghai because of his disillusionment with corruption in the Kuomintang, only realizing his mistake after it was already too late. In what was deemed a “public-private partnership,” he donated all his property, evacuated to the city of Wuhu, and took a meager salary as an accountant at a state-owned company.

In Wuhu, before leaving to study in the Soviet Union, his father amassed a rich collection of books, lending the philosophy of his forefathers to a young Chen Ping. His grandfather’s words, “though you must live in poverty, never forget your dignity” have always stayed with him, fueling the cultivation of his mind. Reading allowed Chen Ping to realize his ideological and cultural heritage. Chen Ping’s consistent pursuit of freedom, equality, democracy and justice in the past 50 years has stemmed from the lessons he learned during his youth.

Chen Ping’s father’s surname is Zhang, with a family stemming from Jiangsu Nantong. His family background is not just scholarly: his father’s branch was historically and politically indispensable to the Qing Dynasty and early Republic of China. His paternal grandfather was a lawyer – a rare and emerging profession in the Republic of China with social status – during the introduction into China of the western legal system.

Chen Ping’s father’s family was killed by Japanese bombing at the time of the second world war. At the age of 12, his father went alone with other refugees to join the New Fourth Army in Tianchang, Anhui Province. He was sent to the Soviet Union to study in 1955, something that indicated a bright future for the family anticipating his return, before changes in the Communist Party changed circumstances for the family as well.

Before the open break between China and the USSR in 1960, Chen Ping’s father made major contributions to the field of military science. When political winds shifted, the CCP decided to prevent him from returning to China. This series of measures meant that Chen Ping’s father disappeared from Moscow (then Leningrad) in the summer of 1961, sparking a major diplomatic incident between China and the Soviet Union. He would not see his family again for thirty-three years.

At the time, Chen Ping was six years old. He had pretended to have fallen asleep in order to overhear the truth of the matter, listening with tears in his eyes as his mother and grandparents consoled each other. The family would attempt to hide the family scandal until his mother’s remarriage during the cultural revolution. This early life experience inspired Chen Ping to think independently, realizing that he must make his own way in the world.

Youth as a Scholar

After his graduation from a local professional school in Anhui province, Chen Ping left his childhood with an experience of integrity and morality shaped by both sides of his family, ready to enter the working world.

1976 was an important year in the history of the People’s Republic of China. That was the year that the people’s dissatisfaction with the cultural revolution, and indeed with the entire state, reached a critical point. Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, passed away on January 8th of that year. Through the national mourning for the premier, the people found a way to vent their dissatisfaction, expressing themselves in a large-scale demonstration disguised as a patriotic display.

During that year’s Qing Ming festival, a group of brave young people in Beijing and Nanjing took the lead and began to express dissatisfaction with Mao’s autocratic rule in the form of slogans, broadsheets and speeches. The memorial activities for Premier Zhou evolved into demonstrations of millions of people, and Chen Ping was part of the backbone of this brave group of youths.

The outcome of the incident was that authorities used force to suppress the burgeoning mass movement, but Mao’s rule had already been challenged like never before. Mao’s reputation and that of the People’s Republic of China had been called into question, and the response was a great historical turn of policy and public opinion. Two years later, in 1978, the PRC began a new era of reform and opening up to the rest of the world that would come to define Chen Ping’s youth. The passion of his student years thus fueled his reflection and study of social issues.

During this period, he entered the Shanghai Institute of Machinery Manufacturing Technology to become an assistant engineer, and then began to turn his sights to a wider area, working with the Shanghai Research Institute, Shanghai Science and Technology Economic and Social Strategy Research Center, China Enterprise Development Institute and other government research organizations engaged in research. Eventually, Chen Ping entered the CITIC International Research Institute – an advanced think tank with a direct line to the decision-makers behind China’s reform.

Chen Ping’s research during this time period was focused on effectively encouraging and implementing China’s reform, including topics like “China’s countermeasures for a new technological revolution”, “Building an Eurasian diplomatic bridge”, “Establishing policies to support high-tech development districts”, China’s Industrial Vision”, “Shenzhen Economic Zone Special Inspection Report”, “Social Ecology” and so on. Many of these solutions and suggestions have been incorporated into recent advances in China’s rapid social practice and development, such as “The Belt and Road Initiative.”

In 1984, at the height of Chinese reform, a national symposium for young economic scientists was held in Moganshan, Huzhou, Zhejiang Province. The famous symposium was later called the Moganshan Conference, and there Chen Ping led the East China team as the deputy of the Open Strategy Group. The in-depth strategic reform he proposed at the conference was taken under serious consideration by state leaders at the time and later became a pillar of modern Chinese development, from academic thinking to the frontiers of reform.

Above: 1984 Moganshan Conference
Below: 1980 China’s first Science Policy Conference, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province

The subsequent June 4 incident in Tiananmen Square marked a major setback in China’s reform efforts and once again changed Chen Ping’s life. The suppression of the student movement and elimination of reformers at central and local levels prompted him to resign from public office, find his own way out, reinforce his own independence and reconsider his perspective on history, society and development.

As Eastern Europe began its own tumultuous transformation, Chen Ping underwent a transformation of his own, as he left political and economic study to conduct business. Influenced by the reforms in China and USSR, as well as the changes in the United States’ foreign policy, the Soviet Union began to collapse like dominoes, beginning with Poland in 1989. By July 1991, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and a summit between the US and USSR announced the end of the Cold War. On August 19, conservatives of the CPSR incited soldiers to launch a coup d’état, and tanks took to the streets of the Red Square in Moscow. Chen Ping was among the crowds witnessing that moment, and even put a bouquet of roses in the barrel of a tank. In the end, the Soviet Army retreated, signaling the failure of the coup and the eventual disintegration of the Soviet Union. Chen Ping would always remember how he bore witness to that historic moment.

Below: Chen Ping bore witness to the historic moment in Moscow.

Adulthood as a Businessman

The most difficult stage of wealth and life is the initial period of accumulation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Chen Ping made his living in China, the China-Myanmar (later Burma) border area, the former Soviet Union (later Russia), various Eastern European countries, the Federal Republic of Germany (later Germany), the United States, and Hong Kong. His business interests spanned multiple fields, including wholesale apparel, material trade, real estate, financial services and various technologies. After entering the new millennium, Chen Ping’s business concerns also expanded to the fields of agriculture, electricity, energy, and other areas, and his geographic scope expanded to Southeast Asia, Japan, and Taiwan.

Of all the businesses Chen Ping has had experience in, by far the most notable are his dealings in asset management and capital operations and in the media industry. The former includes assistance in the restructuring of businesses, mergers and acquisitions, listing and delisting, and corporate finance. The latter includes the creation and successful breakthrough of a series of traditional media and new media companies. Chen Ping’s impressive success in capital operations accumulated the assets that allowed him to develop and expand into new business areas.

In the past ten years, TIDETIME Technology Group, the operations of which are dominated by media software and hardware systems and services, has been a leader in the field of distance education, e-books, online games, data storage and mobile value-added services. Sun TV, which Chen Ping acquired in 2005, and the all-media digital magazine “iSun Affairs Weekly,” which he founded in August 2011, have been massively influential in the global Chinese diaspora.

“iSun Affairs” was Hong Kong’s first comprehensive digital media entity. It broke through the limitations of traditional media, with a cohesive implementation of technology, content and aesthetics that caused a sensation amongst Hong Kong readers and led to a print publication of the same name. Sun TV is now the only mainstream media channel that is completely independent of government or religious affiliations.


Above: Chen Ping with iSun Affair team in Hong Kong

In recent years, Chen Ping has begun to focus on the development of financial technology, investing in “iSunCrowdfund” and “iSunCloud” to make breakthroughs in an emerging field. This new move is built completely off his philosophical ideals.

The following sections will elaborate on how his upbringing and unique perspective have shaped the development of his career.

Development of Ideology

Chen Ping’s ideological development can be divided into many stages: the education of his childhood, the government think tank experience of his youth, the business experience in a broader global field of his adulthood and middle age and now a systematic maturity born of reflection.

What initiated the broadening of Chen Ping’s thoughts was first and foremost an unprecedented opportunity for him to travel through business activities. His travels include not only extensive exchanges with all kinds of people, but also an experience of the entire world. This kind of life gives a taste of various cultures and chances to verify theories learned in the past. It also reveals where there are theoretical shortcomings and even fallacies in one’s own mind. Travel stimulates people’s more critical reflections and the higher levels of theoretical reconstruction.

Chen Ping was directed from extensive travel to focus on deep analysis when he led SunTV’s “Lun-Heng” and “Midnight” programs, where he talked with more than 300 Chinese intellectuals and thinkers. In the program, a wide range of topics and diversified viewpoints directly inspired the development of Chen Ping’s thoughts. He then began to put together a series of topics on the program, an accessible introduction to thinking itself: reflecting on history, criticizing reality, and building the future.

In 2008, as the world financial crisis devastated the economy and on the eve of a larger socioeconomic crisis, Chen Ping keenly observed and pointed out that the 2008 crash was not the same as previous capitalist cyclical economic crises. Rather, it was the crash of a global development model that plunged its corresponding values and social systems into a deep dilemma. In other words, since the crisis of the US subprime mortgage system, the growth model of the globalized modern industrial civilization has come to an end.

He further pointed out that there are two deeper basic contradictions below this rampant state of globalized capitalist development. The first layer is a Western value system that has taken Social Darwinism as its main axis since the 18th century, resulting in a mainstream culture that has been led astray on the relationship between man and nature. Social Darwinism is reflected in the mode of production and social systems most prevalent today. The other layer is the system of globalization. Under the current distribution mechanism, those who are stronger are able to take more; reinforcing, continuing and multiplying their strength. The drawbacks of this system have become apparent. Because our environment and resources cannot support such development, and science and technology have not created new demands for consumption in time, the outbreak of a major crisis is unavoidable.

Facing such a big crisis, Chen Ping proposes that human society urgently needs a new ideological liberation movement, something that breaks existing mainstream values, seeks a balance between material and spiritual satisfaction and cultivates a new culture, a new way of life. We need to build a sustainable economy and growth model, and a more idealistic, fair and equitable democratic capitalist society. He boldly predicted and called for a new form of civilization after the revitalization of industrial civilization, and believes that this is how human beings can survive the crisis state we currently find ourselves in.

Path of Action: Knowledge and Schedule

Recognizing this, what people should do and how should they do it? Chen Ping proposes that though it is already in crisis, human society can still have a bright future for further development. One of his important observations is that the rise of the Internet has technically provided a decisive condition for the equality of human beings by making information symmetry possible. In a civilized society, the equality of each individual in basic rights is one of the core universal values. Developed countries have adopted this to formulate strict laws and regulations. However, due to the inequality of information under technical conditions (in the case of industry and commerce, for example, there is often an inequality of transaction information), many people may actually encounter inequality in the (transaction) process, which ultimately severely affects the (transaction) results.

This means that although people can build the best social systems at the institutional level, the cultural level, the legal level, and the moral and ethical level, huge social inequality is still inevitable. This inequality will also hinder the healthy development of industrialized countries in Europe and the Americas. This, in large part, is due to the appearance of inequality or unequal conditions in the development process. The imbalance of this condition is often difficult to solve at the institutional and legal level. The legal aspect of the system seems to want to adjust levels of inequality, often at a price: for example, the use of taxation as adjustment, such as income tax, progressive income tax, inheritance tax, and real estate tax. These taxes, especially income taxes, have caused social development to pay a price, leading to another unfairness.

In recent years, the book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, once again takes the difference between capital and labor income as the main consideration in analyzing social inequality, and attributes the economic crisis of capitalist society to this inequality. The viewpoint elaborated in that book triggered a worldwide discussion under the current environment of a global economic crisis. Chen Ping pointed out that the difference between salary income and capital gains is not only a difference in amount, but also a qualitative difference. Transaction costs become a barrier for members of the working class to become investors. He further analyzed that the information technology revolution may reduce or even level that high threshold, so that every person with a little extra money can make meaningful investments past the threshold needed to make a profit in capital appreciation and thus become investors and capitalists themselves.

However, a more equitable, more inclusive, and sustainable development society will not arrive naturally with the advent of technological advancement. True change requires people to respect the equality of life, practice equality in the process, balance the results of a set of universal values and pave the way for the democratization of economic life, especially the democratization of investment. Chen Ping, with great enthusiasm, paid attention to the rise of micro-business environments in crowdfunding and crowd investment. He devoted his energy and capital to that progress, spending eight years to create “iSunCloud” and “iSunCrowdfund” projects. The central idea of these two projects is to apply blockchain technology to create a decentralized, trustworthy, collectively maintained, and reliable community. These large commercial communities subvert the existing business and financial order in a fundamental sense, greatly promote the democratization of economic life, and promote the development of human society in a more equal, more diverse, more balanced, more sustainable, and more promising direction.

Yes, we can put our ideals into practice starting now. The slogans and messaging of “iSunCloud” and “iSun Crowdfund” include “I am a user, I am a cloud”, “Everyone for me, I’m for everyone”, “Unity is strength; mutual assistance for the sharing economy”, “Democratic investment, autonomous lending,” and “everyone can become capitalists” and other statements that reveal the essential democracy of Chen Ping’s mission. Chen Ping believes that with the advancement of technology and ever-improving values, more and more people have taken the initiative to participate in technological democratization. As time goes by, the democratic inclusive capitalistic system will naturally mature, bringing human society into an utopian future.