UNNC alumnus develops critical thinking with life-long benefits

25 June 2021

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Zhongliu Xie, an alumnus that graduated with a Computer Science degree, is now a leading expert in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) and the youngest member in the Vice-President rank at Migu Co., Ltd., a professional subsidiary of China Mobile.

He thinks the critical thinking skills and rigorous research attitude developed during undergraduate study at UNNC and the University of Nottingham (UoN) were the key factors making his postgraduate study and professional work efficient and effective.

"The first class of UNNC students had not yet graduated at that time. Therefore, it was quite a bold choice to choose UNNC, but was later proven to be one of the best choices in my life!" Zhongliu said.

Zhongliu graduated with First-Class Honours from UNNC for Bachelor’s in 2010 and high Distinction from Imperial College London for his Master’s in 2011. He then went on pursuing a PhD at Imperial, during which he published over ten high-quality academic papers and was invited to Japan’s National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo as a visiting scholar for a 6-month research exchange in 2014.

Aside from academic achievements, Zhongliu has exceptional leadership skills.

In 2012, he co-founded the UK Chapter of the UNNC Alumni Association, aiming to establish a social and career platform to serve UNNC alumni who study or work in the UK. During his term as the president of the chapter, he was dedicated to alumni network development in the UK and organised a series of events to help enrich social life and boost career development. Zhongliu was later awarded the Nottingham Alumni Laureate Award for his remarkable contributions to the alumni community.

During President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in 2015, Zhongliu was appointed by the Chinese embassy in the UK to lead a group of 15 to support the visit. “It was quite demanding, but thanks to the deep understanding of Chinese and British cultures developed during university life, inter-cultural communication was smooth and effective,” he said.

In 2017, Zhongliu returned to China through an overseas high-level talent programme initiated by the Shenzhen Government, and joined Huawei as an AI specialist at the Shenzhen headquarters. He was quickly promoted to the post of AI director a year later, responsible for the design, development and commercialisation of a number of AI products, which generated tens of millions in revenue.

He currently serves as the Chief AI Scientist (Vice-President rank) of the core digital innovation centre at Migu, focusing on the R&D of short video AI technologies and products.

“Critical thinking emphasises independent thinking, which is about daring to challenge authority, and make rational inferences based on factual research. This is the core of innovation,” Zhongliu said.