Press+Blog

June 2017

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June 29, 2017

LISTEN: Monocle Radio – The Entrepreneurs

There are 2.5 billion people with uncorrected vision problems. James Chen is a Hong Kong-based venture philanthropist and entrepreneur who’s on a mission to help the world see better – and he’s marshalling start-ups, government and non-profits to make it happen. This week Chen explains how he’s doing it and what he’s learnt along the […]

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May 2017

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May 11, 2017

VIDEO: Alastair Campbell’s 2035 speech

Over the last year, the Labs travelled around the world – from New York to Nairobi, San Francisco to Shenzhen. Everywhere we went, we heard brilliant ideas for bringing vision correction to the 2.5 billion people who currently don’t have access to it. At our recent Clearly 2035 event, we brought together a group of […]

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April 2017

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April 15, 2017

The New European – Trump and Brexit disasters blur our vision; but there is so much more worth focusing on

Alastair Campbell writes: “Another day, another speech, another audience going broadly the same way as all the others – a majority pessimistic about Brexit, hugely pessimistic about Trump (just two out of 450 raised their hands for ‘optimistic’) and just one hand raised when I asked if they thought Jeremy Corbyn might be Prime Minister […]

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March 2017

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March 28, 2017

Clearly 2035: Our Mars Shot

Twelve months ago I set out to launch Clearly – a new campaign with a simple vision: to help the whole world see by 2035. Today, there are 2.5 billion people in the world suffering from poor vision, with no access to corrective treatment. That makes it the largest unaddressed disability in the world, and […]

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March 27, 2017

Forbes – Can Chinese Philanthropists Learn From The Rockefeller Legacy?

Last week, David Rockefeller, perhaps the most influential philanthropist in his generation, passed away. Rockefeller’s influence has been felt across the world — from the corridors of governments both foreign and domestic, to the art museums and universities he and his family have funded, and the environmental reserves he has protected…

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March 17, 2017

The Huffington Post – We Should Fight Gender Inequality In Healthcare Every Day Of The Year

Last week marked International Women’s Day – a date where we are reminded that gender inequality continues to pervade countless avenues of life, from employment opportunities and education through to voting rights. However, one of the most important areas of gender imbalance is often overlooked: healthcare.

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March 8, 2017

Life in Focus: Zaina

The story of a mother, a widow, a worker, and a woman whose life would be very different without glasses.

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February 2017

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February 8, 2017

Life in Focus: Felicien Senzoga

The story of a tailor with 5 children whose job was at risk when his vision started getting worse.

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December 2016

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December 29, 2016

Nikkei Asian Review – Wahum Chairman Chen brings business eye to philanthropy

James Chen credits his unorthodox approach to philanthropy to his late father, Robert Yet-Sen Chen, who gave heavily to educational causes in Hong Kong and China. “When he did his philanthropy, it was not just about writing the checks,” Chen told the Nikkei Asian Review. “He very much cared about what it was that he […]

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December 22, 2016

VIDEO: James Chen on SABC

Watch the video of Clearly founder James Chen’s interview on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

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November 2016

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November 21, 2016

Washington Post – Origami-style eye test could help millions around the world see clearly

The Folding Phoropter is a low-cost and easy-to-assemble eye test to quickly spot refractive errors, the largest cause of avoidable visual impairment in the developing world.

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November 14, 2016

African Business Review – Welcome to the health-tech revolution

It is a little known fact that diabetes is one of the biggest causes of poor vision. With the condition on the rise globally, associated eye problems are set to grow exponentially, compounding the already endemic problem of poor vision in Africa…

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November 1, 2016

The Chronicle of Philanthropy – A Hong Kong Philanthropist with a Vision

[PAYWALL]

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October 2016

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October 14, 2016

China Xinhua News – Public awareness of vision problems still needs to be enhanced, experts say on World Sight Day

The second Thursday of October every year is the World Sight Day, which was introduced to help focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. According to a report released by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, 285 million people around the world are visually impaired.

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October 13, 2016

Raconteur – James Chen’s moonshoot

Over tea and dim sum in a rain-lashed tower in his native Hong Kong, James Chen rattles through a list of the 21st century’s buzziest tech obsessions: machine learning, big data, drones, 3D printing. He has just met with Google’s DeepMind, the artificial intelligence business that wrote the code that mastered the impossibly complex board […]

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October 13, 2016

Newsweek – IT’S TIME TO TACKLE THE LARGEST UNADDRESSED DISABILITY IN THE WORLD

Two years ago, a team of specialist ophthalmologists and optometrists began a new pilot trial in rural China. Together, they tested the eyesight of more than 3,000 students, providing a free pair of glasses to those in need of vision correction. A separate trial took place in South India last year . With researchers testing the eyesight of people […]

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October 13, 2016

BT – These 5 start-ups have been recognised for their work tackling poor vision across the globe

Around $250,000 (£205,000) has been awarded to five start-ups dedicated to tackling the “largest unaddressed disability” in the world – poor vision. Vula Mobile won the inaugural Clearly Vision Prize, set up by philanthropist James Chen, for its work using an app to connect primary healthcare workers with specialists – meaning people in remote areas […]

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October 13, 2016

Hindustan Times – Indian ventures win prizes in global eye care competition

Two Indian ventures based in Hyderabad and Bengaluru have won the second and third places in a global competition on initiatives aimed at addressing poor vision across the world, the organisers said on Thursday. The first place went to South Africa‘s Vula Mobile, which developed an app connecting primary healthcare workers in remote areas with on-call […]

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October 12, 2016

The winners of the Clearly Vision Prize!

The Clearly Vision Prize received more than 100 entries from 21 countries around the world. We were inspired to see ideas and ventures that are trying to tackle the problem from every angle. We saw apps, drones and handcrafted glasses. We saw lasers, artificial intelligence and last mile delivery systems, and everything in between. Only a select few, those […]

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October 11, 2016

Wired – These five startups are getting a share of £200,000 to help battle poor eyesight globally

An app-based eye test and origami-inspired opthamologist’s tool are among the ideas that have won a share of a $250,000 startup prize aimed at battling poor vision globally. The Clearly Vision Prize, conceived by Clearly campaign founder and investor James Chen, seeks out startups designed to hack what it calls “the number one unaddressed disability in the world – […]

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October 2, 2016

James Chen Speaks at One Young World

This weekend, Clearly founder James Chen spoke at the One Young World conference in Ottawa. James shared the stage with world leaders including Justin Trudeau, Kofi Annan, Emma Watson, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Bob Geldof. Each year, the One Young World conference brings together inspiring young leaders from around the world, celebrating the achievements they have […]

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October 1, 2016

Irish Examiner – This philanthropist hopes to provide glasses to 2.5bn people with poor vision

The “largest unaddressed disability” in the world – poor vision – can be solved in the next 20 years, a billionaire philanthropist has said. James Chen believes the technology exists to get glasses to everyone in the world who needs them, and is already taking steps towards it through a non-government organisation (NGO) he founded.

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September 2016

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September 28, 2016

Techworld – How technology could help fix the biggest unaddressed disability in the world today

Imagine if you had to live without your glasses or contact lenses, assuming you are one of the three-quarters of UK adults who need eyesight correction. Basic everyday tasks like commuting to work, watching TV and cooking would become hard, even impossible. It’s hard to imagine but that is precisely the situation faced by a […]

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August 2016

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August 29, 2016

Stanford Social Innovation Review – Chronic Problems, Not Just Crises, Should Be a Global Health Priority

Last year, a team of ophthalmologists and optometrists visited a cotton spinning and textile factory in Madurai, South India. The team met the 238 workers from the factory, many of whom spent all day doing close-up, intricate work. After testing the eyesight of the factory’s spinners, they found that around 80 percent unknowingly suffered from poor vision.

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August 29, 2016

African Business Review – Can fixing poor vision unlock Africa’s economic potential?

Behind the buzz around Africa’s economic growth, sits diverse, distinct economies. The continent’s latent economic power is vast. However, fulfilling Africa’s true potential rests not just in maximising the unique opportunities across the continent, but in tackling the oft unacknowledged problems that are hampering its economic growth.

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August 18, 2016

Fast Company – Smartphones Are Leading The Global Charge Against Blindness

“Seven hundred years after glasses were invented there are still 2.5 billion people in the world with poor vision and no access to vision correction,” says Hong Kong philanthropist James Chen. Chairman of his family’s Nigeria-based manufacturing company, Wahum Group, Chen is funding a contest called the Clearly Vision Prize that will award a total of $250,000 […]

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August 17, 2016

Our Vision Prize Semifinalists!

We’re delighted to announce the semifinalists of the Clearly Vision Prize! Hundreds applied – but only those judged to have the greatest potential impact on access to vision correction could progress. Our semifinalists are: 3DNA Aipoly Inc Aston Eyetech Limited B-ABLE BELKIN Laser Ltd. Drishti Easy Lense Essmart EyeNetra Eyes of the world Folding Phoropter GlassesOn […]

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August 10, 2016

Footage from the streets of San Francisco

Good vision has the power to completely change our lives and the way we experience the world. But for those of us who are lucky enough to have easy access to vision correction, it can be easy to take our sight for granted. So while we were in San Francisco for our most recent Labs, […]

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August 1, 2016

CNBC Africa – How innovation can eradicate a global health crisis: The case of Rwanda

Eight years ago I founded Vision for a Nation in Rwanda, at which time there was one ophthalmologist for every million people in Rwanda and no locally available eye care support. Fast forward and today, local and affordable eye care is available to 100 per cent of the nation’s 10.5 million people…

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July 2016

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July 29, 2016

South China Morning Post Magazine – Hong Kong philanthropist James Chen on why he believes eyesight is a human right

My grandfather was not formally educated but he was politically savvy enough to escape from China in 1947. He moved to Hong Kong and started a business making and exporting pots and pans. He spotted that many of his customers were in Africa, so he set up our first African sales office, in Khartoum, in […]

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July 25, 2016

Why poor vision must become a global priority

According to the latest UN data available, the Vision Impact Institute has estimated that there are a staggering 2.5 billion people around the world who have poor vision, and no means of improving it — equal to the combined populations of China, India and Japan. It’s a problem that affects more of us than any other disability […]

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July 22, 2016

Tech City News – Tech for good: Using technology to solve the world’s greatest challenges

The speed and scale of the advances in technology today is incomprehensible. In only a few weeks, the meteoric rise of ‘Pokémon Go’ has made augmented reality, which only a few years ago was the stuff of science fiction, utterly mainstream…

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July 14, 2016

IAPB – James Chen Introduces Clearly – a global campaign to help the world to see

It is no secret to members of the IAPB that there are 2.5 billion people around the world suffering from poor vision with no means of improving it. However, to the rest of the world the news of this hidden, unaddressed disability is astounding. The need to highlight this issue on a global scale is […]

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June 2016

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June 22, 2016

James Chen interview on the BBC

Clearly founder James Chen is interviewed by Ben Thompson and Sally Bundock on BBC Business Live.

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June 3, 2016

Huffington Post – Doing Well by Doing Good: An Interview with James Chen, Founder of Clearly

About three years ago, my family and I went on an epic multi-country travel adventure. Prior to our trip, I reached out to James through the Synergos network. When we stopped in Hong Kong, James took care of us during our stay as if we were part of his family…

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June 3, 2016

Start Your Business – TECH VISIONARIES COMPETE FOR $250K FUNDING TO TACKLE NUMBER ONE UNADDRESSED DISABILITY

Visionaries and innovators around the world are being called upon to submit groundbreaking ideas to tackle the largest unaddressed disability in the world – poor eye-sight – as the deadline for The Clearly Vision Prize approaches on 18 July 2016…

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June 2, 2016

The World Weekly – Restoring the world’s vision

The problem of poor vision is the number one unaddressed disability in the world today,” James Chen, a venture philanthropist and founder of ‘Clearly’, a new campaign attempting to raise awareness of the issue, tells The World Weekly…

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June 2, 2016

South China Morning Post – How Hong Kong can join the global pursuit for truly useful technology

The decision of Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave to launch its first spin-off event in Hong Kong last year was a resounding endorsement of the city’s entrepreneurial potential and global ambition. The Rise summit returned to Hong Kong this year, and again brought together world-leading entrepreneurs and investors. This year, however, the city is more confident of its entrepreneurial […]

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June 1, 2016

Huffpost Tech – Collaboration is Key: There’s No Limit to the Good That Tech Can Do

The object in the palm of your hand can change the world for good. In the Dominican Republic, mobile software developed by Trek Medics is connecting remote villages without access to emergency services, to teams of volunteer technicians. By the end of this year, Trek will be able to reach one million people in crisis…

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May 2016

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May 30, 2016

The Economist Intelligence Unit – The silent legacy of Asia’s philanthropists

Asian nations have long-established traditions of giving, which in China date back more than two millennia. Informal giving by wealthy individuals—supporting orphanages, rebuilding roads or repairing temples—is embedded in China’s history and culture…

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May 30, 2016

First Clearly Labs held in Hong Kong

Last week we held our first public Clearly Labs event in Hong Kong, bringing together a diverse group of inventive and curious thinkers to rethink the question of how everyone in the world can see clearly. The ideas that emerged were as brilliant and varied as the groups behind them. We won’t reveal them all of their […]

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May 20, 2016

Forbes – James Chen: The Vision Man

NASA is planning to put a human on Mars by the 2030s. James Chen wants everyone in the world to be able to watch it. Chen’s plan is no less daunting than NASA’s. This much is clear when the investor turned philanthropist explains that 2.5 billion people across our own planet have an eyesight problem […]

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May 19, 2016

BBC World Service – Philanthropy’s Big Giveaway, Business Daily

James Chen speaks on the BBC World Service about the Clearly campaign and the rise of philanthropy in China…

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May 17, 2016

Optometry Today – In all the towns in the world

Fresh from a win for Rwandan eye health, philanthropist James Chen is launching a new campaign to tackle the global problem of people who do not have access to refractive error correction…

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April 2016

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April 22, 2016

First Clearly Lab to be held in Hong Kong in May

We’re excited to announce the very first Clearly Lab, which will be held at a secret location in Hong Kong on 25th May. Invites have been sent out, and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the region’s sharpest minds try to tackle the problem the world forgot: how can everyone see? This follows a […]

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April 13, 2016

Financial Times – Poor vision is costing the global economy trillions

Sir, Rachel Sanderson cites a vital and much overlooked fact in “Designers open eyes to latest fashion spectacle” (April 9). More than 2.5bn people around the world have poor vision and yet no means of correcting it. That’s a staggering number, roughly equal to the population of China, India and Japan combined…

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April 8, 2016

South China Morning Post – Hong Kong entrepreneur James Chen launches contest to help solve eye problems of world’s poor

A Hong Kong philanthropist and entrepreneur has launched a competition to spur inventors into coming up with ways of solving the eye-care problems of the world’s poorest people…

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April 7, 2016

CNBC – Clearly founder James Chen interview

James Chen introduces the Clearly campaign and describes how with new technologies like the eye test app, Peek, we have an opportunity to ensure that everyone in the world has access to vision correction within our lifetime…

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April 6, 2016

UK Fundraising – Global eye care campaign offers $250k seed funding for best ideas

Global campaign ‘Clearly’ is designed to find and develop “revolutionary approaches to eye care for the people who need it most”. It is offering $250,000 in seed funding and mentoring to help develop the best ideas…

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April 5, 2016

The Clearly Vision Prize is now open!

The Clearly Vision Prize is now open! Following the launch of the Clearly campaign, we’re delighted to announce that the Clearly Vision Prize is now open to entrepreneurs around the world. The Clearly Vision Prize is an ideas competition for supply chain experts, data wizards and techies who have knowledge and technologies that can be […]

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