Asian Inspirations … China, India and other markets are the best sources of business growth, but also of new ideas

September 9, 2018

The last hundred years has seen a reincarnation of Asia. Of course Asia has been here before, and if we look over the last two thousand years, the centre of global business power has shifted westwards from China, to Europe, then North America, and then back again.

The more recent Asian business world has seen a combination of revolutions, revivals, rebirths and rapid rises. The continent now stands on more of an equal footing with the West than for many centuries. In 1917, China was divided and had suffered a series of political upheavals, India was impoverished and ruled from London and Singapore was a far-flung trading hub, also controlled by the Crown.

In 2017, India and China are now two of the world’s largest economies, and Singapore is now the world’s best place in which to do business. The Asian Tiger economies of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea continue to roar and inspire others to do so, and Asia today has the strongest economic outlook of any region in the world, according to a 2017 IMF report.

So who are some of the Asian companies to inspire our thinking? Both in understanding the opportunities for growth in Asian markets, but also to take a new mindset for leading business and delivering innovation back to our own organisations.


Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba says “the department store and supermarket you know today will not be the same tomorrow” reflecting on Alibaba’s innovations to date, and how Chinese and global consumers are changing:

Here is Alibaba’s concept of “New Retail:


At 25, Dai Wei is CEO of one of the world’s biggest bike-sharing companies, worth over $1 billion. But when he and his Peking University mates first came up with the idea, well, his dad was like parents everywhere:

Here is an introduction to Ofo, and how it works:


Dr. Injong Rhee, Samsung Electronics CTO & EVP of Software & Services, Mobile Communications Business, talks about the next generation of technologies and how they will continue to shape the products and services we want:

Some of the new Samsung’s innovation coming to you by 2020:


Tencent is like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Paypal all in one company. At the heart of that ecosystem is WeChat, now twice as big as WhatsApp. David Wallerstein is Tencent’s Chief eXploration Officer, and talks about WeChat, QQ and gaming:

CNBC asks What is Tencent?

DBS Bank

Singapore’s DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta talks about how technology impacts banking and explains the power of smartphones, supercomputing, and cloud computing:

DBS has been voted Asia’s most innovative bank. What their latest ad:


Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group talks at CES about Huawei’s plans for 2018 and the major trends shaping the mobile industry, including some personal opinions:

Here’s a clip from Huawei’s Innovation Day “Innovating for a Digital Asia Pacific”:


Uniqlo (and parent company, Fast Retailing) founder Tadashi Yanai is fascinated by failure. And he’d rather be a tough boss, than a nice one. Here are 5 things to know about Japan’s richest man:

The Uniqlo brand has established a position for fashion, low cost and quality:


Lei Jun introduces the latest innovations from Xiaomi, the tech business that created the MiPhone, and is often compared to Apple. However he has a very different vision for growth:

CNBC steps back to ask “What is Xiaomi?”


Toyota CEO Akido Toyoda introduces a vision that will transform the automaker from a car company into a mobility company – from the fixed mindset of quality obsession, to the growth mindset of future-back innovation:

Here is Toyota’s innovation-powered view of the future:


Yoshiaki Ito, CEO and President of Haier Asia, explores how consumers are more connected than ever, which changes their relationships with brands and each other, and how Haier is embracing this:

And example of Haier’s innovations, built around “think big, keep it small”:

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