If you had asked me several months ago how I felt about the prospects for the Fortune Global Tech Forum, which begins Thursday morning (China time) in the megalopolis of Guangzhou, up the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong, I would have told you I was quite concerned.
The talk then was of de-coupling: a separation of the U.S. and Chinese economies to match the already decoupled Western and Chinese versions of the Internet. Tensions were real. The chief financial officer of Huawei had been arrested on charges that sounded like an uncomfortable mix of trade, commercial, and national-security issues. Tariffs were escalating. Corporate sales in both directions were hurting. Hong Kong was boiling. Neither the government headed by China’s Xi Jinping nor the U.S.’s Donald Trump showed any sign of backing down.