Asia Alumnus of the Year and Honorary Graduate

ricky jo

This year has been full of achievements with the highlight being winning the Times Higher Education University of the Year Award.

We’re incredibly proud and excited to share the names of our Asia Alumnus of the Year and Honorary Graduate who have been selected for their outstanding contribution to society.

Ruijao Li (Ricky) is a leader in his field and an Essex alumnus.

Ricky started his Essex journey when he joined the robotics research group within our School of Computer Electronic Engineering School to study and MRes Computer Science in Robotics under the expert guidance of our Professor Huosheng Hu. This was the first intelligent robotics lab in the UK.

His Essex journey didn’t end there.

Ricky is not only a technology entrepreneur but also owns a company ranked number three in Intel’s International Robotics innovation Challenge, the Best Growth Award. Ricky doesn’t let this stop him supporting Essex, he regularly finds time to speak to students in China considering studying in the UK about his experiences. He says “I usually tell people that they can expect an excellent research environment, where you can learn all about cutting-edge technology, in an outstanding scientific and cultural atmosphere – and one where you can learn from the ‘big-name professors’ of the likes of Professor Huosheng Hu, and Professor Guangzhong Yang.

“For me, my time at Essex was an excellent experience of student life more generally, too – from employment support, to training and practical workshops, all of which has been a very positive influence on my life. At Essex I developed essential skills that have helped me contribute to our company, from product development, to management and dealing with suppliers. I also tell younger people who want to study in the UK to stay creative, and remain focused on their studies, and stay determined to succeed

Ricky is pushing forward in technological boundaries, asking questions and applying thought and tenacity to his studies, when reading about and talking to Ricky we can see ‘the Essex Spirit’ embodied. He takes complexity and from it builds life-enhancing, intuitive technology. And, he is happy to take time of out his bus schedule to share his knowledge, helping others understand how they too can gain from all the benefits of studying in the UK, and sharing what he’s learned.

Ricky is an inspiration and an excellent ambassador for Essex – and we are proud to name him our Alumnus of the Year.

Yiping Xia cofounded bike-sharing company Mobike in 2015, the bikes that are now ubiquitous in the city of Singapore and have helped improve the transport system.

Yiping, a software engineer graduated from University of Essex with an MSC specialising in telecommunications and information systems.

Mobike hopes to help resolve one of Singapore’s most stubborn transport problems – that of connecting people with other forms of public transport like bus and MRT series, aka the “last-mile” problem. Yiping is Mobike’s co-founder and CTO, he saw an opportunity and quit his job at Fiat Chrysler to launch the first private bicycle-sharing company using technologies to remove the barrier between people and transport. Using Mobike’s app on their phone, people can register for its service in a minute and discover where they can find the nearest bicycle, they scan a QR code on their phone, the bike unlocks, and they ride to their destination, lock the bike and walk away. No docking stations required.

“Mobikes are equipped with a series of proprietary high-tech features that benefit user sand partner cities. Every Mobike is equipped with unique smart-lock technology and built-in GPS connected via the Mobike IoT network, which no other bike-sharing company provides.”

Despite his company’s already impressive geographical coverage, Joe believes that he has only just begun his mission to revolutionise urban transportation.

This appetite for changing the transport world has lead us to recognise Yiping as an Honorary Graduate of The University of Essex.

We will be recognising these awards at our prestigious ceremony in Beijing on 23 February and it will be a great opportunity to hear directly from these inspiring individuals. This is an opportunity for alumni from the 1960s through to 2018 to join us and celebrate the amazing achievements of all you. You can find out more information and purchase your tickets here

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