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Forbes Asia September 2017

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FAB 50 BIG COMPANIES đ RICHEST FILIPINOS
ƫĂĀāĈƫđƫċċ
IVY LEAGUE
‘INCUBATORS’
BRIAN ONG AND OTHER
COUNSELORS TAP THEIR
UNDERGRAD EXPERIENCE TO
SHAPE CHINESE APPLICANTS
Plus:
TOP U.S. COLLEGES
RANKED
A SCHOOL FOR
QUANTS
AUSTRALIA...............A $12.00
CHINA....................RMB 85.00
HONG KONG................HK $80
INDIA............................RS 375
INDONESIA............RP 77,000
JAPAN.................¥1238 + TAX
KOREA........................W 9,500
MALAYSIA...............RM 24.00
NEW ZEALAND.......NZ $13.00
PAKISTAN....................RS 600
PHILIPPINES..................P 260
SINGAPORE..............S $12.50
TAIWAN......................NT $275
THAILAND......................B 260
UNITED STATES........US $10.00
CONTENTS — SEPTEMBER 2017
S PAGE 26
“THERE WAS
EXCITEMENT
BECAUSE I
WAS BUILDING
SOMETHING NEW.”
—SANJIV BAJAJ, head of India’s
Fab 50 List member Bajaj Finserv
VOLUME 13 NUMBER 8
10 | FACT & COMMENT // STEVE FORBES
Why GOP-care lost the U.S. public.
THE FAB 50
22 | INTRODUCTION
Our list of Asia-Pacific’s best, big publicly traded companies has 29 entries from China.
BY JOHN KOPPISCH
23 | THE PICTURE OF HEALTH
Yunnan Baiyao has built a major pharma company by combining old and new medicine.
BY MICHAEL SCHUMAN AND JANE HO
26 | GETTING CREDIT
Sanjiv Bajaj is turning Bajaj Finserv into an Indian consumer’s best friend.
BY ANURADHA RAGHUNATHAN
32 | A NEW LEASE ON LIFE
SK Hynix was in trouble for years but has turned things around dramatically.
BY DONALD KIRK
33 | MISSING
India’s IT companies have been a mainstay on our Fab 50 lists—until this year.
BY ANURADHA RAGHUNATHAN
34 | THE WORLD OF ALIBABA
Jack Ma’s online giant is on an acquisition binge.
BY JANE HO
36 | NEW TO THE CLASS
A look at some notable newcomers. Plus: names that may soon appear on the Fab 50.
COMPANIES, PEOPLE
12 | TAIWAN FLIES SOUTH
The reiteration of a policy push toward emerging Asia as China ties fray.
BY RALPH JENNINGS
COVER PHOTOGRAPH BY
JASPER JAMES FOR FORBES
2 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, ALL TOTALS AND PRICES EXPRESSED IN OUR STORIES ARE IN U.S. DOLLARS.
CONTENTS — SEPTEMBER 2017
VOLUME 13 NUMBER 8
15 | GADGETMAN // BEN SIN
A look at Game Pad Digital’s Pocket laptop.
16 | CHINA TRAVEL: MORE OUT THAN IN
A graphic look at the mainland’s tourism deficit.
BY JINSHAN HONG
17 | ASIA SPOTLIGHT // JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN
Reflections on the rise of the East and the fall of the West.
18 | CHINA’S PRIVATE OIL FORCE
A chat with Sit Kwong Lam, founder of China’s Brightoil.
BY SHU-CHING JEAN CHEN
20 | DELL’S NEW DESTINY
Michael Dell on artificial intelligence and managing creativity.
BY RICH KARLGAARD
21 | LUXURY LINEAGE: JIMMY CHOO
From modest London shoemaker to diversified global brand.
BY MICHAEL SOLOMON
S PAGE 68
“SNOB APPEAL—
THAT’S MY BUSINESS.”
—ROBERTO ONGPIN, NO. 16 on our
list of the Philippines’ 50 Richest
49 | RICHEST AUTHORS
J.K. Rowling is baa-ack!
BY HALEY CUCCINELLO, NATALIE ROBEHMED AND MICHELA TINDERA
TECHNOLOGY
50 | EYES ON THE ROAD
How Velodyne’s vision sensors are ushering in the self-driving-car revolution.
BY ALAN OHNSMAN
BACK TO SCHOOL
T PAGE 65
“THE ROLE OF
MACHINES IN
THE FUTURE WILL
BE FAR MORE
SIGNIFICANT.”
—NARIMAN FARVARDIN,
president of the Stevens Institute
of Technology
59 | AMERICA’S TOP COLLEGES
How tiny Harvey Mudd College is besting Stanford and Carnegie Mellon
in the recruiting race. Plus: best-value colleges and other rankings.
BY CAROLINE HOWARD
62 | CRITICAL THINKING
Brian Ong is helping to change how Chinese kids get into U.S. colleges.
BY REBECCA FENG
65 | SCHOOL OF QUANT
A small college in New Jersey has become a training ground for Wall Street engineers.
BY MATT SCHIFRIN
THE PHILIPPINES’ 50 RICHEST
68 | LAPS OF LUXURY
The Ongpin saga is culminating in a rollout of regal residences for the regional elite.
BY JANE A. PETERSON
74 | THE LIST
Henry Sy’s net worth has ballooned to $18 billion, up from $13.7 billion in 2016.
BY GRACE CHUNG
FORBES LIFE
84 | ELECTRIC AVENUE
Three Chinese companies are taking over Formula E racing.
BY PAMELA AMBLER
86 | SOCIAL SECURITY
Sumptuous villas in Chiang Mai include the ultimate in home bunker arrangements.
BY JIM DOBSON
88 | THOUGHTS
On inventions.
4 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
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Frightful Footnote
W
hen asked over
the years to summarize prospects
for the Asian region, I usually concluded with words to
this effect: “All this assumes
no calamity stemming from
North Korea.”
The DPRK, as it calls itself,
has been the outlier in discussions of Asia-Pacific. Even as
Longer view: Kim’s missile play could reshape Korea.
other formerly isolated regimes
such as Burma/Myanmar
rejoined the formal economy, Pyongyang’s rulers remained apart. Of course, they
maintained their underground and often illicit trade to keep their own plates full,
and in recent years have countenanced growing commerce with bordering areas of
China, but basically North Korean GDP has been a null set. This in a country that,
through the early 1960s, at least had a Stalinist presence in world output.
All the while, the military buildup and bluster there continued. Now, it is
nuclear and center stage. No longer can the DPRK be relegated to a footnote in
Asian punditry. A diplomatic crisis could lead to untold death and destruction.
As most South Koreans came to adopt a shrug toward this existential peril, so,
too, must the wider business world, lest the everyday pursuit of life (and profit) be
sidetracked. Yet, it’s ever more necessary to hedge stark outcomes.
One way or another, it’s less likely now that the ruling dynasty will continue for
the life span of the current North Korean tyrant, Kim Jong Un. Whether by conflagration or coercion, a “regime change” would open the door to suzerainty over the
north, logically by China, and eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula in a
kind of political neutralization.
As free-spirited investors like Jim Rogers in Singapore have been saying, this
could be the world’s biggest swing play—from ruin to riches as the Korean north
(again—we dearly hope with no war) is able to bring its complementary resources
into union with the prosperous south. This would rock the region and move the
global needle. For now, it’s surely more of an opening sentence than a closing one.
DEPARTMENT HEADS
Mark Decker, John Dobosz, Clay Thurmond
FOUNDED IN 1917
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6 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
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STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
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CONVERSATION
OUR STORY about a son of
Indian immigrants who made it
big in Texas real estate (“Austin
Powered,” August, p. 70) inspired
Priya Chaturvedi to post: “I came
over from India 25 years ago so my
kids can have this kind of opportunity. This guy gives me hope!”
Divya Kumar added, “If this wasn’t
in Forbes I’d never believe it. Only
in America.” Ashley Carvajal took
the long view: “Nate Paul is an icon
and a role model for the American
Dream. The next generation of
leaders in this country will look a lot
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great recession. But no one gets rich in hindsight; credit to Nate Paul for having the
foresight.” Our Q&A with Dr. Ming Wang of China’s Aier Eye Hospital (“Eyeing New
Markets,” p. 30) was encouraging to David Dalton: “These are exciting times for the
U.S. market and [for] better eye care. Go Ming, Go Aier!”
THE INTEREST GRAPH
Our readers gave the green light to our profile of developer Choo Chong Ngen:
Meet the Hotel Founder Who Made His Fortune in Singapore’s Red-Light District
Asia’s Best Under A Billion 2017: The 200 Public Companies That Are Reliable Growth Engines
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“We only sell
rooms; we don’t
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Red-light district—
the whole world
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district.”
Hong Kong’s Sonia Cheng Opens New World Hotels for the Family Empire
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artist’s perspective
FACT & COMMENT
“With all thy getting, get understanding”
WHY GOP-CARE
LOST THE PUBLIC
BY STEVE FORBES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
10 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
to go along with it (100% coverage
until 2016, phasing down to 90% by
2020) were treated gingerly by Senate
bill writers. Even on this issue Democrats succeeded in getting some RINO
(Republican in name only) governors
to shill for them by mouthing their
demagogic attacks.
Medicaid is the worst-designed
health-insurance scheme ever devised
by a free country: Spending is openended, yet outcomes for beneficiaries
are awful. The only way to turn things
around is to give governors the flexibility to design
reforms that would improve coverage—30% of doctors
now refuse to take on new Medicaid patients because
reimbursements are low and paid out months later.
Rhode Island, Indiana and other states have made
some positive changes but had to battle Beltway bureaucrats to get the necessary “waivers” to do so.
Only days before a Senate vote did the White
House hold an event at which some of the people
who have been harmed by Obamacare appeared—and
there are millions of them. Yet there was no major
advertising or social media campaign to point out
Obamacare’s real-life horrors or to extol what the
GOP was doing. The p.r. battle was over before it
began. And don’t count on the Republicans to do any
better in the future.
Fraidy-Cat Republicans
Health care isn’t the only big issue that has the GOP floundering. Taxes, amazingly, are another. When Democrats hurl
the charge that Republican tax-reduction proposals “favor the
rich,” too many GOPers quiver and quake and run for cover.
Among Obamacare’s numerous taxes, for example, are additional levies on capital gains and dividends, both of which
inhibit capital creation and productive investing. Without
investment, we don’t progress, and living standards stagnate,
then decline. Yet Republican senators decided to retain these
KNS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
WHY ARE CONGRESSIONAL Republicans flailing about on repealing and
replacing Obamacare? Why has public
opinion gone against them on an issue that
was critical to the GOP’s winning control
of both the Senate and the House, not to
mention the presidency? The law, passed
more than seven years ago, had been immensely unpopular from the get-go.
Answer: The GOP, in an incredible
blunder, let its opponents define the
terms of debate. Suddenly, the issue
became how many millions of people
would be stripped of medical insurance. The public became convinced that the only real question for Republicans was how much misery they were going to inflict.
The sick and the chronically ill would quickly find
themselves without coverage and be forced to camp
out in overcrowded emergency rooms, hoping for help.
The GOP’s prattling on about how many hundreds of
billions of dollars it would rip out of the hide of Medicaid—money, moreover, that would be used to “pay” for
tax cuts for the well-to-do—simply reinforced the public’s perception that, bad as Obamacare was, it would
be preferable to whatever the Republicans proposed.
That’s why every GOP health care bill polled worse than
the Affordable Care Act. The mood became: Let’s try to
fix Obama’s abomination as best we can rather than cruelly immiserate millions of our fellow citizens. The GOP
became the party of Scrooge.
The Democrats’ assaults were mostly nonsense, but
they stuck. Adding to the misconception was the “scoring” by the Congressional Budget Office, which hasn’t
made an accurate forecast in memory and which was
stuffed with far-left liberals when the Democrats controlled Congress (all too typically, the GOP left them
in place when it took over). Both the bill passed by the
House and the legislation proposed by Senate leaders
heaped on billions to make sure that those with chronic
conditions weren’t left out. Obama’s vast expansion of
Medicaid and the federal budgetary bribes to get states
UNIVERSAL HISTORY ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES
antigrowth levies, lest they be accused of
“favoring the rich.”
For several years, a number of
self-styled “populist” Republicans
have been peddling policies they
claim will help middle-class and
lower-income Americans, while they
diss “the rich” and show disdain for
“the elites.” The kind of across-theboard tax cuts that wrought economic miracles for John F. Kennedy
and Ronald Reagan? “Old-fashioned,”
they sniff, sounding like progressives
talking about the Constitution.
One hears noises about Republicans raising income tax rates on
the “superwealthy” as a way to win
over Democrats and show voters
that their hearts are with the middle
class. “Silicon Valley liberals will love
us,” they fantasize.
All this is a sad commentary on a
party that tells us it still admires Ronald Reagan.
The Gipper would have gagged
at such populist posturing. He
understood—as too many Republicans these days do not—that voters
want a growing economy and wages
that grow right along with it. They
couldn’t care less if Bill Gates does
well; they just want to know that
their own take-home pay is robustly
moving up, that the U.S. is once again
a vibrant land of opportunity.
Republicans are fools to play the
class-envy game. They will lose to the
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren
types every time. Voters want results,
not a GOP version of socialism lite. If
the economy gets out of its decade-old
rut in the coming months, people won’t
give a hoot about the semi-Marxist
carping from the media and the
Democrats.
The formula for prosperity isn’t
a new one: low tax rates and sound
money (a subject for another time).
The GOP tax bill should cast caution to the winds and go for big rate
reductions. Knock the job-killing
business rate of 35% down to 15%.
It shouldn’t tax overseas earnings
(the U.S. is one of
the few countries
that do this, which
is why American
companies keep
over $2 trillion in
earnings abroad).
It should double
the personal exemptions. Republicans should make a
Reagan/Kennedystyle across-theboard income-tax
The Gipper would have gagged at recent Republican posturing.
rate cut of 10% or
tax cuts!). Voters overwhelmingly
more. And they
preferred to have taxes tackled first,
should slash the capital gains levy—
but what do they know? Then you
that always brings in more revenue
were delayed by Speaker Paul Ryan’s
immediately.
strange obsession with a 20% border
Very important, the GOP must
sales tax that would have slammed
make these reductions retroactive to
working families who struggle to live
the beginning of 2017. We want this
paycheck to paycheck.
tax bill to kick up the economy ASAP.
So make simple cuts now, and go
And it wouldn’t hurt if people got big
for major tax reform after next year’s
tax refunds next April.
elections.
The CBO will howl about deficits.
Disregard these ignorant utterances.
A booming economy is the only way
the GOP will realistically reduce
Uncle Sam’s red ink. If the U.S. had
experienced normal economic growth Michael Connelly, one of America’s best
over the past decade instead of the
and most prolific novelists, has already
pitiful sub-2% growth we were subcreated two memorable characters, dejected to, there wouldn’t be a budget
tective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch (the
deficit today.
basis for the Amazon Prime series Bosch)
Growth works wonders.
and defense attorney Mickey Haller (the
What those oh-so-sensitive Rebasis for the movie The Lincoln Lawyer,
publicans should understand is this:
starring Matthew McConaughey). In his
No matter what they do, short of a
newest masterpiece, The Late Show (Little,
total surrender to Elizabeth Warren,
Brown & Co., $28), Connelly introduces a
they will be attacked as the lackeys
third, Renée Ballard, a young, driven detecof Wall Street, the big banks, big
tive who has been exiled to the Siberia of
business and the rich. Get over it,
the Los Angeles Police Department, the
and do what’s right. And then watch
night shift, after she filed a career-crippling
the Democrats disintegrate.
sexual harassment complaint against her
As for a big overhaul of the federal powerful supervisor. Her partner at the
income tax code, forget it. It’s too late time witnessed the incident but refused to
now.
back her up. This absorbing thriller finds
You made two big mistakes. You
a still unbowed Ballard quickly involved
took up health care first because of
in three cases, including a massacre at a
your slavish devotion to those fake
nightclub, which takes a chilling turn. She
CBO revenue estimates (health care
is told to stay off that case but doesn’t, even
reform will save money to use for
as she relentlessly pursues the other two. F
New Mystery Woman
SEPTEMBER 2017
FORBES ASIA | 11
FORBES ASIA
EDGING AWAY FROM CHINA
TAIWAN FLIES
SOUTH
The reiteration of a policy push toward
emerging Asia, as China ties fray, follows an
entrepreneurial trail.
BY RALPH JENNINGS
O
n a visit to Taiwan, Christopher Cua noticed people lining up for bubble
tea. Cua lives in Metro
Manila, where people like
sweet caffeinated drinks, and no one there
was selling the Taiwanese style of milk tea
with marble-size tapioca balls. So in 2011,
he opened the Philippine capital’s first
Chatime franchise. Now Chatime has at
least 40 outlets in Metro Manila.
“The milk tea thing was a no-brainer,”
says Cua, who’s ethnically Taiwanese and
part of a family business that also includes
a bakery. “I go to Taiwan a lot, and I always thought, ‘Filipinos would love this.’ ”
That sentiment dovetailed with the
12 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
aims of La Kaffa, the Taiwan owner of the
Chatime brand. With $65 million in 2016
revenues, La Kaffa has opened close to
400 stores in nine Southeast Asian countries as part of a global push. Its chairman, Henry Wang, says, “Tea culture acceptance in Southeast Asia isn’t bad, and
consumption is always growing, so they
embrace outside culture at a high rate.
Southeast Asian countries care a lot about
economic development, too.”
Chatime’s footprint in the region of 630
million people makes it something of a
role model for the Taiwan government. In
October, President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration revived a policy to steer Taiwanese
investors into South and Southeast Asia to
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 13
JULIAN ABRAM WAINWRIGHT FOR FORBES
Christopher Cua’s
Taiwanese-style tea
store in Manila is
something of a role
model for the Taiwan
government.
FORBES ASIA
EDGING AWAY FROM CHINA
avoid overdependence on China. Tsai calls
it the New Southbound Policy.
China, while the traditional destination for Taiwanese capital since the 1970s,
claims sovereignty over Taiwan despite
self-rule on both sides since the 1940s.
This makes business relations harder when the two sides get on poorly. Tsai
rejects Beijing’s “one China” policy, angering the other side. China is pressing
against Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic
presence globally.
A Taiwan-government-backed promotion agency flagged Chatime in Manila as a model for how Taiwanese companies should find a market niche outside
China and fill it. The Philippines is one of
18 countries targeted by the New Southbound Policy. (Beyond Southeast Asia,
there are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,
Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and
New Zealand.)
The policy fizzled under former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui in 1993 and
his successor, Chen Shui-bian, after 2000
because it failed to price in the attraction of
China, where land and labor were cheaper
than they are today, some analysts say. The
current push also covers more than direct
investment—tourism, labor and the recruitment of university students.
according to Taiwan Tourism Bureau. The
number of postsecondary students in Taiwan from New Southbound sources rose
10% in the six months to March from a
year earlier while the number of nondegree university students—the largest category—from China declined 4% in the
current academic year. China has nudged
students and tourists away from Taiwan
in response to President Tsai’s cool stance
on engagement.
China’s economic influence, backed by
an $11.2 trillion GDP compared to Taiwan’s $519 billion, has drawn about 93,000
Taiwanese investors since 1988, according
to the Council on Foreign Relations.
But China’s rising costs were already
pushing against new investment before
Tsai took office in May 2016. Giant Taiwanese contract consumer-electronics
manufacturer Hon Hai Precision opened
two factories in Vietnam in 2007, for example. An estimated 3,500 Taiwanese do
business in Vietnam because of its lowcost export manufacturing, a strength of
Taiwan’s outbound investors over the past
50 years.
Today’s New Southbound Policy calls
for receptive target countries to let Taiwan
set up investment-support offices. These
would match Taiwanese investors with
“WE THINK THAT THE NEW SOUTHBOUND
POLICY WILL LIKELY PROVIDE SOME
SUPPORT TO TAIWAN’S COMPETITIVENESS.”
Those New Southbound nations account for 19% of Taiwan’s trade, and approved applications to the region are rising while those for China are declining,
reports Taiwan’s Investment Commission.
“At this stage, we think that the New
Southbound Policy will likely provide
some support to Taiwan’s competitiveness and foster diversification in trade, investment and broader relationships,” says
Marie Diron of Moody’s Investors Service
in Singapore.
Tourist arrivals from New Southbound
countries rose 29% in the six months to
March while group tourist arrivals in Taiwan from China declined 30% in 2016,
14 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
local demand, Taiwan trade negotiator
Tsai Yun-chung says. “What each country
wants to eat is different,” he notes. “Each
one’s taste is different.”
Taiwan has renewed an agricultural cooperation deal with Indonesia and
has begun discussing the same with India,
Vietnam and the Philippines. Taiwan
lacks free trade pacts with 16 of the 18
target countries because China normally
forbids such formal agreements.
Taipei officials have offered visa waivers to travelers from Brunei and Thailand. They’re further considering whether to let in more workers from Indonesia,
Taiwan’s biggest migrant labor source at
240,000 strong today.
But the 18-country region might not
work as a market or a supply chain for
core products such as machinery, some
entrepreneurs fear. India is notoriously hard to crack without a local partner.
Meantime, staunch Chinese allies such
as high-growth Cambodia are discouraged from engaging Taiwan economically, as well.
Despite their formal ties with a potentially angry China, others can find appeal in Taiwan links. In the Philippines,
Taiwanese investors not only can easily move into food and beverage but can
site factories that produce for export to
the European Union, says Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist with BDO Unibank in Manila. Such investors can indirectly benefit from Manila’s duty-cutting
trade preferences with the EU, he says.
With China frowning, Taiwan would
struggle to sign its own deal with Europe
or join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade
zone being renegotiated by 11 Pacific Rim
countries after the U.S. left in January.
Young Southeast Asian consumers,
meanwhile, are open to new brands and
may be oblivious to a Taiwan connection.
Some figure Chatime to be a domestic
brand, franchisee Cua says.
Chatime opens stores near business
process outsourcing offices, a catalyst for
the country’s recent economic growth.
“The stores that do well are stores that do
well on weekdays,” Cua says. Whereas 200
cups were sold per day at an original Metro
Manila store in 2011, now several stores
average 800 to 1,000 per day, he says.
La Kaffa was not alone in seeing the
opportunity back then. “We opened simultaneously with three Taiwanese
brands, and now there are five of us,” the
29-year-old former bank employee says.
His stores keep prices higher at $2 per cup
to “raise the image a bit.”
Taiwan’s latest official push only underscores what the early birds saw. If
Southeast Asia can double the number of
middle-class households to 120 million
from 2010 to 2025, according to a 2014
McKinsey report, the region’s current
15% share of La Kaffa revenues stands to
grow. Chairman Wang says, “Their ability to consume is terrifying.” F
TECHNOLOGY
BEN SIN // GADGETMAN
THOMAS KUHLENBECK FOR FORBES (TOP)
PANTS-POCKET LAPTOP
WITH TECH ADVANCES making gadgets increasingly capable (and more affordable), there’s never been a better time
to be a so-called “digital nomad.” I cringe
at the term, but I can’t deny that it quite
succinctly sums up people like me, who
need only a solid internet connection and
a digital device to do work. In the past
year I’ve written articles under every
circumstance imaginable: on a proper
desktop computer at home, on a Chinese
budget 2-in-1 tablet at the airport, on an
iPad while standing in line to enter an event at MWC, on a smartphone
while sitting at the beach in Phuket on Christmas Day, and on this, a comically tiny laptop, over brunch.
This petite device is the GPD Pocket, a clamshell-style Windows 10
laptop that’s 7.1 inches wide, 4.3 inches long and about 0.8-inches thick.
That’s only a tad larger than some phablets, or roughly the size of my
girlfriend’s clutch. As its name implies, the device can indeed fit inside my
pants pocket.
GPD, which stands for Game Pad Digital, is a small Shenzhen company
that has released a series of mobile gaming devices. In terms of physical
build, the GDP Pocket doesn’t stray too far from the company’s previous
device, the Win. The Pocket, however, is the company’s first laptop and
thus has a full QWERTY keyboard in place of what used to be gaming buttons and D-pads.
With an all-aluminum body, a sturdy clamshell hinge that opens up to
almost 190-degrees and a 1080p screen, the hardware and build quality
are top-notch. And the specs under the hood are solid too: The Pocket has
an Intel Atom X7 Z8750 chipset and 8GB of RAM. The former is decent—
the Atom chipset is for mid-tier devices—but the latter is impressive,
considering that even new iPads and MacBooks, as well as some Microsoft
Surface Books, don’t have 8GB of RAM.
Basic laptop functions like word processing and video playback operated flawlessly, and the device even handled several games such as Asphalt
8: Airborne and Dinosaur Assassin without a hitch, though the frame rate
stutters from time to time and the Pocket’s fan gets really loud.
GPD obviously couldn’t incorporate a trackpad into a device this small.
Instead there’s a “pointing stick,” a rubber nub like those found on ThinkPad devices. The nub here on the Pocket works surprisingly well—I’m able
to navigate around with the mouse arrow quickly and pretty accurately.
But because Windows 10 wasn’t meant to be used on a screen this small,
some icons, particularly the “X” at the upper right corner of Web browsers
and the Windows Start Menu icon on the lower left corner, are very hard
to hit accurately with my index finger.
Now on to the bad news, and it’s pretty major.
The keyboard is just a bit too cramped for typing
comfortably or accurately. On Typingtest.com’s
Aesop test, I managed to score only 41-wordsper-minute on the Pocket, and this was after
four days of getting used to the keyboard. To be
fair, the Pocket is tough for me because I am a
fast typer who types by touch. If you use your
index fingers only and have to look at the keyboard as you type, then the Pocket’s keyboard
won’t affect you much. Perhaps the most damning thing I can say about the Pocket’s keyboard is
this: I couldn’t finish this article on it. About two
paragraphs up I changed to my smartphone.
I can solve the keyboard problem by using
an external keyboard over Bluetooth or a USB
connection—the Pocket, impressively, has most
major ports and can even handle display output
to a full 30-inch monitor—but carrying an extra
accessory would defeat the purpose of using the
“world’s smallest laptop,” right?
I do see some scenarios where the Pocket can
come in handy. Its size and solid display make
for a good media-consumption device; if you
rarely do word processing, then the one flaw
of the Pocket isn’t a big deal. I often try to use a
laptop on a plane only to have the person sitting
in front of me recline their seatback, making the
laptop fit nearly impossible. With the Pocket,
that shouldn’t be a problem.
With a price of about $550, the Pocket isn’t
cheap. You can get some solid Chinese laptops
for less, and you won’t have problems typing. F
Game Pad Digital’s Pocket, a mere 7 inches wide.
BEN SIN IS A HONG KONG-BASED CONTRIBUTOR TO FORBES.COM WHO WRITES ABOUT CONSUMER TECH.
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 15
FORBES ASIA
GRAPHIC TESTIMONY
China Travel:
More Out Than In
A striking aspect of China’s tourism story is that visits to China have fallen way
behind the outbound traffic and the inbound numbers for the rest of Asia-Pacific.
Where are the foreigners? —Jinshan Hong
INBOUND TOURISM vs.
OUTBOUND TOURISM
TOURIST DEFICIT
Excluding HK, Macau and Taiwan
Chinese departures
60
Foreign arrivals
50 m il li o n s o f p a s
sengers
40
30
57.6
20
million
10
0
26.0
2008
2009
million
2010
2011
2012
2013 2
014 2
015
30 million more
outbound trips by SOURCE: Center for
China & Globalization
Chinese tourists
(CCG).
Chinese tourist departures
INBOUND TOURISM
GROWTH: CHINA vs.
APAC COUNTRIES
193.4%
Foreign tourist arrivals
V is it o r a
rr iv a ls 2
0 0 5 - 2 0 15
158.6%
134
120
+11.2%
V is it s in
m il li o n
s
+312.9%
70.3%
31
Japan
2005
SOURCES: CCG; Ctrip.
APAC
Average
81 .3%
119.7%
128
2015
Thailan
d Ko r
ea
11 .2%
Singap
SOURCES: CCG; Ctrip;
o re C h
ina
Japan National Tourism
Organization; Singapore Tourism Board;
Korean Tourism Organization; thaiwebsites.com.
CHINA’S SHARE OF INTERNATIONAL
ARRIVALS IN APAC
25%
30%
Growth of arrivals
for APAC
81.3%
2015
SOURCES: CCG; Ctrip.
16 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
PETER AND MARIA HOEY FOR FORBES
2005
Thought Leaders
JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN // ASIAN SPOTLIGHT
INTERESTING TIMES
THERE IS AN ARAB PROVERB, inspired
by the Koran, that says, “He who predicts
the future lies, even if he tells the truth.” In
other words: If you make a prediction and it
turns out right, it’s sheer luck, mate!
With that caveat, let me offer not a prediction but a hypothesis. On the basis of
current trends, it would seem the world
is experiencing one of its most profound
transformations in history. In essence, for
the last half-millennium, since the rise of
the Portuguese seaborne empire in the late
15th century, the world has been dominated by the West. Japan was the only
non-Western nation to emerge as a global power, but it did so not by challenging the West but by joining it. It never had Asian allies but rather three successive Western allies: imperial Britain from 1902 to 1922, while Japan was an
imperialist nation; Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1944, during which period it
became a fascist military dictatorship; and the U.S. since 1952, as it became a
“Western” democracy and joined the “Western” alliance.
China is rising as a, if not the, great global power of the 21st century,
and the U.S., after having dominated the 20th century, is declining in the
21st. Until it entered its “era of humiliation” in the century-plus following
the first Opium War (1839), China was a rich and proud power. It then declined precipitously: Its share of global GDP fell from an estimated 33% in
1820 to 4% in 1950—even though it had an estimated 20% of world’s population. Until fairly recently, the words “Chinese” and “poor” were synonymous. China has no Western allies,
only two—sort-of—Asian allies: North
Korea and Pakistan. Unlike Japan,
China is not seeking to emulate any
Western system. When you ask what
China is about, the answer is “Socialism
with Chinese characteristics.”
The emerging Chinese challenge is
military and economic—but also historical, cultural, political, geopolitical,
philosophical and ideological. Just as it was essential for the non-Western
world in the 19th and 20th centuries to learn about the West, so is it incumbent on all to learn about China.
In doing so, it is difficult to imagine a better guide than Howard French’s
Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for
Global Power. This book is an outstanding font of knowledge and provides
compelling insights into how China sees the world and its own destiny. It
combines a bird’s-eye view of China’s past, present and possible future with a
detailed worm’s-eye view, especially of its positions vis-à-vis Southeast Asian
nations in the South China Sea and vis-à-vis Japan in the East China Sea.
French presents the Chinese viewpoint. You don’t have to condone it, but
to be awake in the 21st century, you have to understand it. You also have to
understand how Chinese see world history and
how it applies to them. Thus, Chinese thought
and policy leaders are quite familiar with how
the Monroe Doctrine allowed the U.S. to assert
a hegemonic position in Central America and to
transform the Caribbean into an American lake.
A 21st-century version of that doctrine is being
crafted in Beijing and applied to East Asia.
The rise of China is half of the global picture.
The other half is the decline of the U.S., or indeed
of the West generally. That is the theme of Edward
Luce’s recent book The Retreat of Western Liberalism. Luce demonstrates that while Donald Trump
as president is a potential disaster, it is a disaster that was waiting to happen. The decline of the
U.S. and the retreat of Western liberalism imply,
among other things, that the Western alliance
that played such a crucial role in the second half
of the 20th century is kaput. As Luce points out,
while the end-of-history theory that prevailed at
the turn of the century presumed democracy had
won, in fact over the past decade, 25 democracies have failed. Thus, the question is “whether
the Western way of life, and our liberal democratic systems, can survive this dramatic shift of global power. . . . Donald Trump’s victory crystallizes
THOMAS KUHLENBECK FOR FORBES
“DONALD TRUMP AS PRESIDENT IS A
POTENTIAL DISASTER, A DISASTER
THAT WAS WAITING TO HAPPEN.”
JEAN-PIERRE LEHMANN IS A CONTRIBUTOR TO FORBES.COM AND EMERITUS PROFESSOR AT IMD, LAUSANNE,
SWITZERLAND; VISITING PROFESSOR AT HONG KONG UNIVERSITY AND NIIT UNIVERSITY, RAJASTHAN, INDIA.
the West’s failure to come to terms with the reality it faces.”
Recent events in the U.S. come to mind while
reading this passage in Luce’s book: “The future of
Western democracy looks bleak if American politics hardens into two racially hostile camps. Donald Trump consciously stokes racist sentiment,
and has given a rocket boost to the ‘alt right’
fringe of neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”
So as China rises and the U.S. declines, eyes
are increasingly turning to Berlin and Angela
Merkel. Germans—who on the global leadership
front have been there, done that (and failed)—
are not particularly keen to have this glory thrust
upon them. F
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 17
FORBES ASIA
BRIGHTOIL LOOKS AHEAD
China’s Private
Oil Force
Sit Kwong Lam knows the drill: 25 years of outflanking state giants.
BY SHU-CHING JEAN CHEN
S
it Kwong Lam, founder and chairman of Brightoil, is a
career oilman who today occupies high ground, his office
atop a gleaming glass skyscraper in Shenzhen. From an
executive suite decorated with framed Chinese calligraphy,
the billionaire commands a panoramic view of the Pearl
River estuary.
Started 25 years ago, Brightoil is China’s fourth-largest oil company—its bigger rivals are all state-owned. With enough storage capacity to hold one-fifth of China’s oil reserves, Brightoil is the main
repository for southern China and, since 2010, has been China’s second-largest fuel-oil importer and supplier, mainly to marine transport. More lucrative still, however, and accounting for the bulk of
Brightoil’s $7.4 billion in annual revenue, is upstream exploration of
gas and oilfields, through a 2009 partnership with China’s largest oil
firm, CNPC (China National Petroleum Corp.) in far west Xinjiang
Province’s Tarim Basin.
Sit is taking Brightoil farther into upstream exploration, with a
2014 purchase of oilfields in China’s Bohai Bay from Texas’ Anadarko Petroleum for $1 billion. He vows to transform it further from the
trading concern he set up in Shenzhen in 1992, into a resources giant.
(Below the radar, Sit’s private companies have bought oil supply
tankers, at least since 2005, taken up a stake in a Chinese online insurer and drilled oil and gas both onshore—in Sichuan Province—
and offshore, in the disputed area of the South China Sea near Vietnam he acknowledges below.)
The energy tycoon’s early move into storage and terminals was
well-timed. China would soon turn from an exporter of crude oil to
a net importer. In 1996, he won government approval to build facilities, and in 1999 he struck a deal with CNPC to use them.
Not all went according to plan. A sweeping restructuring of China’s oil industry in 1998 by the government voided all the licenses previously awarded to him and private-sector players. Undeterred, he reapplied for a trading license and obtained the right to be
a wholesaler for finished petroleum products in 2002. From there, he
branched into fuel oil, oil tankers, bunker fuel supply and, eventually, upstream exploration. He got Brightoil a backdoor listing in Hong
Kong in 2008.
Lately, low oil prices forced him to look for growth in the digital sphere. An online app launched in January 2016 to allow motor-
18 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
ists to “fill up” their accounts with gasoline credits, by volume, good
at Brightoil’s network of 1,000 gas stations. It offers a 7% bonus and
has racked up 4 billion yuan ($600 million) in sales. Online auto insurance and automotive aftersale services will come next.
Here is our exchange with Sit, as edited:
Forbes Asia: What are your views on the global oil prices and
the global demand and supply of oil?
Sit: The global oil price has been under intense pressure in the last
two or three years. The average price now is $50. A strengthening dollar inevitably leads to low oil prices. Russia’s policy (as a result of Western sanctions) also contributes to low oil prices. In fact,
the equilibrium between production and demand of oil has not
changed much over the years, fluctuating by just between 3% and
5% of the equilibrium. The difference is the surplus oil.
Has China’s oil consumption shown a macroeconomic rebound?
Just look at China’s GDP figures. It has not dropped further. Let’s
look at the demand first. The global crude demand still grew by
1% last year, doubling the rate the year before, but the global economy did not fare well. To take a pulse of the national economy, one
only needs to look at the demand for electricity and energy, these
basic figures. The number of cars in China grew by over 6% last
year. China’s crude oil demand has grown in both 2015 and 2016
by 5.7% and 5.3%, respectively. Demand for natural gas grew by
8% in 2016, up from 1.6% in 2015. How could we say our economy was in bad shape? I feel we are still trending upward steadily.
Is there a gap between Chinese domestic and international
energy pricing?
China adjusts pricing for finished petroleum products every ten
working days to be in line with the international market price. In
January 2016, the government introduced a new pricing policy.
Before that, domestic retail prices went up and down with international prices. The new policy has imposed a floor price of $40
per barrel and capped it at $120. The time lag to catch up with
the prevailing international market price is seven days, compared
with international norms of two to three days. This means Chinese
consumers would pay at a retail price of $40 when the global oil
price plunges to $20, but would pay no more than $120 no matter
what. There’s a strategic purpose here.
We have taken a long-term view in buying this oilfield. It’s a massive project. It has no relation to the Chinese government.
How much lower could oil prices go?
Prices could hover between $45 and $60 a barrel in the second
half, a process that would be affected by the pace of rate rise by the
U.S. Fed. Our exploration cost is slightly over $50. Average production price for shale gas and shale oil in the U.S. is also around
$50. Oil producers cannot operate anywhere below this level.
Any plans for overseas acquisitions and fundraising?
We have bought about more than $1 billion in assets overseas, including buying in Canada and America. We will continue to look
for opportunities. But right now, we don’t have plans to raise dollar-denominated funds offshore. We have applied to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange to issue 5 billion yuan of yuan-denominated
Panda bonds by phases. It is under review by the regulators. The
purpose is to support the development of the “belt-and-road” initiative and replenish internal cash flows.
Is the rise of new energy going to upend the oil market?
The rise of new energy—from nuclear power, solar power, electric
cars—accounts for a tiny fraction of market demand. In the next
10 to 20 years, new energy can’t possibly replace petroleum. China
today has about 10 million vehicles powered by new energy, compared with close to 200 million of petroleum-powered cars.
IMAGINECHINA
Please comment on the recent the South China Sea spat between China and Vietnam involving a disputed oilfield called
“block 136-03” or “Wanan Bei-21.” Brightoil was mentioned as
a possible owner of that oilfield.
It’s an oilfield my private company in Hong Kong bought in 2014.
Brightoil has challenged the dominant state fuel retail concerns. How goes that?
About 4 million consumers are using our mobile app, of which
20% to 30% are active users. They settle the payment through
banks. With the oil price below the current level, it’s a good time to
buy petrol and store it for future use. To grow the number to
100 million users should not be difficult, [although if] PetroChina
or CNPC would one day enter the online market to compete with
us, [that’s] a challenge we are very likely to need to tackle. F
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 19
FORBES ASIA
A CHAT WITH . . .
Dell’s New Destiny
Michael Dell on artificial intelligence, managing creativity and
turning the PC maker into a vertically integrated IT giant.
Well, it’s pretty close. [Chuckles.] Pretty
close.
Explain your 2015 acquisition of EMC for
$67 billion. I thought cloud was going to kill
storage. Did you overpay?
The idea that everything goes to the cloud
isn’t correct. Earlier this year, the Uptime
Institute asked CIOs, “Where do you have
all your data?” Thirteen percent was in
the public cloud, and I think 65% was on
premises. Of course the cloud will grow.
But it won’t take everything.
Artificial intelligence is getting huge
attention these days, too.
AI is a rocket ship. Data is the fuel.
What you’re seeing now is artificial
intelligence used in a narrow way, in
which you’re taking a relatively confined
problem and expressing it with some
software to help reach a conclusion in,
say, finance, health care or transportation. What’s exciting is the explosion in
the number of connected nodes and the
massive amounts of data that are being
created. It’s really exciting to see all the
deep learning, all the computational
power that’s being acquired. We’re building a lot of those engines and working
with the companies that are out there
creating the tools to be able to do that.
Again, the fuel for this is the data. And
nobody stores more critical data in the
world than we do. So that, for us, is quite
exciting. I absolutely get the sense that
it’s some kind of inflection point.
Cisco’s John Chambers predicts 50 billion
sensors by 2020, tripling from today.
Agree?
I think that could actually be low.
They’re going to be anywhere
there’s electricity.
When exactly did Dell change its
name to Dell Technologies?
It was September 2016, when
we were combining our
various businesses, like
EMC and Pivotal—signifying that we are now a
fundamentally different
company.
You began as a build-ityour-way supplier of PCs.
Now you’re a vertically
integrated IT company
selling to enterprises.
Quite a change.
We have a unique
structure. Under the
Dell umbrella, we
have some smaller,
fast-moving startups like Pivotal that have
unique and huge opportunities. Then we
have the giant scale, such as EMC.
How do you keep all your CEOs
motivated? They once got to operate
pretty autonomously.
What you don’t want to do is hold them
back. You can’t hinder their creativity,
their ability to imagine and dream. You
let them do their own thing.
Does this insight come from being an
entrepreneur yourself?
It’s the only way I know. I don’t have
anything to compare it to.
Dell was the ’90s’ best-performing stock,
then it declined and went flat. Glad you’re
basically private now?
Your horizon changes as a private
company. We’ve asked our teams to think
in terms of three, five and ten years. That’s
a bit of a mind twister when you’ve been
doing it in shorter-term increments for a
long time.
Advice to entrepreneurs starting out?
Have big ears and listen. Learn from your
customers. It’s not that hard to figure out.
Is digital transformation the CIO’s
responsibility, the CEO’s, or someone else’s?
The IT organization can’t drive or lead
a digital transformation. It has to come
from the business and the business
strategy, because they’re fundamental
to how a company or an organization
evolves. But it also expands the importance and the role of IT far beyond
what they had ever been before. What
does your business look like then?
That’s the question every CEO should
be asking.
It’s hard to believe Dell is 33 years old.
It’s been a wonderful journey, but it still
feels like we’re at the beginning, in terms
of technology’s role in the world. The last
third of a century’s been pretty amazing,
but I think that’ll seem like nothing compared with what’s going to happen in the
next third. F
MICHAEL DELL SPOKE WITH RICH KARLGAARD, OUR EDITOR-AT-LARGE
AND GLOBAL FUTURIST. THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED.
FOR THE EXTENDED CONVERSATION, VISIT FORBES.COM/SITES/RICHKARLGAARD.
20 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
ALEXANDRA VALENTI FOR FORBES
At age 26, you boldly predicted Dell would
be bigger than IBM someday. IBM did $80
billion in sales in its latest fiscal year; you did
nearly $20 billion in the first quarter. Are you
as big as IBM now?
FORBES ASIA
LUXURY LINEAGE
Jimmy Choo’s Own Adventure
IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER: TIM GRAHAM/GETTY IMAGES; DAVID HARRISON/EYEVINE/REDUX; ANWAR HUSSEIN/GETTY IMAGES; ANDY SHAW/BLOOMBERG;
PETER MACDIARMID/GETTY IMAGES; MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES; JASON ALDEN/BLOOMBERG; INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES
BY MICHAEL SOLOMON
IN 21 YEARS, the luxury-footwear brand Jimmy Choo has grown from a modest London startup
to a global brand that sold for $1.2 billion in July. How did it make that giant leap? It was thanks in
large part to Princess Diana, Sex and the City and millions of women who fell for the shoes head
over heels. Let’s retrace the steps . . .
1986
Jimmy Choo, a Malaysian-born
cobbler, opens a made-to-order
shoe boutique in London’s East
End for private clients, including
Princess Diana.
1997
Jimmy Choo opens its
first boutique on London’s
Motcomb Street. That same
year, Diana is photographed
on the red carpet wearing
Jimmy Choo slingbacks.
In 1998, the first U.S. store
opens in New York, where
the shoes start at about
$300 a pair.
1996
With a £150,000 loan (or $365,000
today) from her father, former
British Vogue accessories editor
Tamara Mellon and Choo launch
Jimmy Choo Ltd.
2004
A year after launching
a handbag line,
Jimmy Choo, which
now has 23 stores, is
sold to another PE
shop, Lion Capital, for
£101 million (about
$190 million today).
Mellon remains a
minority owner.
2007
A 60% stake in Jimmy Choo,
now with 60 stores, is sold to
management firm TowerBrook
Capital for £185 million (about
$430 million today).
2009
At her husband’s
first inaugural
ball, Michelle
Obama steps out
in Jimmy Choo
heels—now on
display at the
Smithsonian.
2011
Having expanded
into perfume
and eyewear,
Jimmy Choo is
sold again—to
the German
luxury-goods
firm Labelux for
$850 million. In
November, Mellon
exits the company.
2014
With 177 stores
in 34 countries,
Jimmy Choo
becomes the first
luxury footwear
brand to go public.
About 25% of the
company is sold in
a London IPO at
140 pence, or $2.24,
giving it a market
capitalization of
about $870 million.
2001
Choo sells his 50%
of the company to
Equinox Holdings, a
private equity firm,
for $30 million. Mellon
and co-creative
director Sandra Choi,
Choo’s niece, stay with
the company.
2000
In Season 3 of Sex
and the City, Sarah
Jessica Parker’s
Carrie Bradshaw has
a Cinderella moment
while running for the
Staten Island Ferry and
exclaims, “I lost my
Choo!”
2017
In July, Jimmy
Choo is acquired
by Michael Kors for
$1.2 billion. Sandra
Choi plans to stay
with the company,
whose shoes
(which range from
$425 to $4,595)
are now a favorite
of Princess Diana’s
daughter-in-law,
Kate Middleton.
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 21
FORBES ASIA
O
FORBES ASIA’S
LIST OF THE BEST
PUBLICLY TRADED
BIG COMPANIES.
ur
terms of revenue.
13th
India put the second-largest
annual list
number of companies on the list,
of the best big
eight, the same as last year. There are
publicly traded comthree each from Hong Kong and Japan. South
panies honors corporate stars throughout
Korea placed just two companies, down from five in 2016. Last year
the Asia-Pacific region, but China is grabbing Vietnam put a company on the Fab 50 for the first time. There is also
most of the spotlight. This year 29 of the 50
one Vietnamese company this year with the debut of Mobile World
companies are headquartered on the mainInvestment. Overall, 20 companies cracked the Fab 50 for the first
land. That’s the most ever, up from 22 last
time, and 8 returned after missing out for a year or more.
year and its previous record of 25 in 2015.
To determine the Fab 50, we start with a pool of 1,694 publicly
Eleven of the Chinese companies are
traded companies that have at least $1.8 billion in annual revenue.
new to the Fab 50 this year, reflecting the
(Private companies, such as China’s Huawei Technologies, are not
country’s deep pool of entrepreneurial
included.) We then knock out companies that are losing money or
talent. At the same time China’s dynamic
whose revenue is less than it was five years ago. Next we toss out
economy means that many
companies carrying a high debt ratio or that have more
of the hotshots of just a few
than 50% state-ownership. The goal is to highlight
BY JOHN KOPPISCH
years ago no longer make the
entrepreneurial outfits, not those living off of governAND ANDREA MURPHY ment connections. Companies that are more than
cut. Once again China boasts
the two most valuable compa50%-owned by listed parents are also culled. Finally we
nies on the list, Alibaba and Tencent, and
run the remaining contenders though a battery of more than a dozen
those two are also ranked first and second in financial measures. The goal is to produce a stellar lineup of highnet profits. But an Indian newcomer, Rajesh performing blue chips, the region’s best of the best. F
Exports, is the largest outfit on the roster in
Reporting by Grace Chung, Rebecca Feng and Anuradha Raghunathan
22 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
The Fab 50
YUNNAN BAIYAO
The Picture
of Health
Combining traditional Chinese medicine with
modern marketing, Yunnan Baiyao is building a major
pharmaceutical company.
THERE ARE 20 NEW MEMBERS
ON OUR LIST, AND CHINA LEADS
THE WAY AGAIN WITH
29 ENTRIES.
CHINA
AAC Technologies
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS
SALES: $2.3 BIL
MARKET CAP: $18.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: KOH BOON HWEE
Alibaba Group
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: INTERNET RETAILING
SALES: $23.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $399 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: JACK MA
BY MICHAEL SCHUMAN AND JANE HO
Baidu
YEARS ON LIST: 6
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 6
INDUSTRY: INTERNET SERVICES
SALES: $10.6 BIL
MARKET CAP: $61.8 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: ROBIN LI
BYD 3
YEARS ON LIST: 2
INDUSTRY: MOTOR VEHICLES
SALES: $5.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $5.7 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WANG CHUAN-FU
China Gas Holdings 3
YEARS ON LIST: 3
INDUSTRY: GAS UTILITIES
SALES: $4.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $12.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: LIU MING-HUI
Cogobuy Group Ì
INDUSTRY: INTERNET RETAILING
SALES: $1.9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $893 MIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: KANG “JEFFREY” JING-WEI
Country Garden
A spoonful of medicine that harks back to a more traditional time.
T
IMAGINECHINA
he aerosol cans rolling along an assembly line at a Yunnan Baiyao factory in
southwest China tell you everything you need to know about the health care
company’s unusual prescription for success. The process of filling, testing and
packing the cans is so automated that the few people involved do no more than
haul the boxes off the end of the conveyer belt. Yet the stuff inside harks back
to a time before factories even existed. The pain-relieving concoction is rooted in ancient
Chinese medical practices. “Combine Chinese traditional medicine with the life of modern
people and convenience of use,” says Yin Pinyao, Yunnan Baiyao’s austere, bespectacled
president. “That is the way we innovate.”
That combination—the ultramodern with the extremely old-fashioned—has transformed Yunnan Baiyao Group into one of the unlikeliest rising stars of Chinese business.
Over the last five years, its revenue doubled to $3.4 billion in 2016, while net profits did
even better, increasing by 140% to $440 million. The market capitalization of the Shenzhenlisted company has surged as well—by two and a half times since the end of 2011 to more
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
SALES: $23.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $25.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: YEUNG KWOK-KEUNG
Foshan Haitian
Flavouring & Food Ì
INDUSTRY: CONDIMENTS
SALES: $1.9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $16.8 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: PANG KANG
Geely Automobile
YEARS ON LIST: 4
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: MOTOR VEHICLES
SALES: $8.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $21.7 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: LI SHU-FU
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 23
FORBES ASIA
FAB 50 — YUNNAN BAIYAO
A PIECE OF THE ACTION, AFTER EIGHT FRUSTRATING YEARS
than $13 billion. Such vitality has landed
Yunnan Baiyao on Forbes Asia’s Fabulous
50 list of the region’s best public companies for the second time; it also made the
list in 2015.
That performance is a miraculous recovery for what had been a very sick firm.
The company was founded in 1971 in the
city of Kunming by the Yunnan provincial
government to mass-produce a powder
used to treat wounds. (The name Yunnan
Baiyao translates to “white powder from
Yunnan.”) Invented by a Kunming doctor
in 1902, the formula is a mixture of herbs
that are all ingredients in Chinese traditional medicine and are kept secret by the
company. The powder has been proven to
help stop bleeding and prevent infection,
and it was used effectively by Chinese
troops during World War II.
By the 1990s, though, Yunnan Baiyao’s
condition seemed terminal. Its white
powder was falling out of favor as wealthi24 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
er Chinese gained better access to modern
treatments, and the company’s sales were
in decline. Yet Yunnan Baiyao stubbornly
kept churning out that powder—the main
product it sold. In 1999, Yin and Chairman Wang Minghui, then executives at
another state-owned pharmaceutical firm,
were tasked by their government bosses
to cure the ailing company. “We found
that baiyao products had great potential,”
says Yin. “The issue was how to combine
the traditional medicine with modern life
to meet the needs of the market.”
Wang and Yin administered a dose
of intensive therapy. They upgraded the
research and development team to craft
new products and the marketing department to sell them. The strategy, which
they called “new baiyao,” was straightforward: Utilize the still well-known
powder in all sorts of new ways to appeal
to today’s Chinese consumer. Out poured
an entire range of baiyao-infused items:
toothpaste, bandages, hemorrhoid cream
and those pain-relieving aerosol sprays
bouncing down the Kunming assembly
line, to name just a few. Then, starting
around 2005, Yunnan Baiyao expanded
even further, into products based on other
forms of Chinese traditional medicine.
Herbs are mixed into shampoos to soothe
itchy scalps and into soaps to supposedly
slow aging.
Yunnan Baiyao plugs these medicinal
qualities to make the case that its products are superior to their run-of-the-mill
competitors. Adhesive bandages injected
with the magical white powder are marketed under the motto “It heals faster with
baiyao.” One advertisement for baiyao
toothpaste shows an elderly gentleman
pointing to the brand and reminding
shoppers, “It took care of me when I was
a soldier at war,” while a younger woman
lifts the tube and says, “Now it takes care
of our whole family.”
CHINA PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES
Billionaire Chen Fashu, the chairman of Newhuadu Industrial Group, finally won a major stake in Yunnan Baiyao in
March, ending a long pursuit that began in 2009. But the delay cost him dearly: He had to cough up a much higher
price than he would have paid originally.
Eight years ago, Chen agreed to buy state-owned tobacco company Hongta’s 12% stake in Yunnan Baiyao for
$320 million. He paid the money up front, before he received regulatory approval.
It never came. In 2012, China National Tobacco, the ultimate parent of Hongta and all other tobacco companies
in the country, said it vetoed the transaction because of concerns that state assets were being sold on the cheap.
Disappointed, Chen filed a lawsuit, claiming that the parent company had no right to call off the deal. The battle
became one of China’s most prominent equity dispute cases, and in 2014
the final verdict was handed down—and Chen lost.
Undeterred, he found other ways to accumulate shares, building a 0.9%
personal stake in Yunnan Baiyao as well as a 3.4% stake through
Newhuadu. This year’s deals, including one in June in which he sold a
small number of shares, raise his ownership to roughly 18%.
Newhuadu did not respond to Forbes Asia’s request for comment.
Chen’s luck might have changed thanks to China’s latest round of stateowned-enterprise reforms to promote more private-sector ownership
and boost efficiency and profitability. “Baiyao has always been a marketoriented company, but the new [ownership] structure has completely
removed the administrative [influence],” says its president, Yin Pinyao.
Unlike eight years ago, the transaction in March supplied Yunnan
Baiyao with capital. “It will fuel Baiyao’s mergers and acquisitions, which
is what most big international companies have been doing for expansion,
and put Baiyao on the fast track,” says Yin. That’s something Chen will be
Chen Fashu
happy to see. —J.H.
The Fab 50
GoerTek
The message caught changing Chinese
consumers at just the right moment. As
households have become wealthier, they’ve
also become more health-conscious—and
more willing to spend on their well-being.
“People here pay more attention to the prevention of disease rather than just curing it,”
says Yin. “This is the strength of traditional
Chinese medicine. Compared with modern
medicine, that is our uniqueness.”
That’s also boosted the company’s
profitability in a cutthroat industry. By
marketing its products as “medicated,”
Yunnan Baiyao has been able to charge a
premium. A tube of baiyao toothpaste, for
instance, retails for roughly twice as much
as a similar-size tube of Colgate, and some
consumers are willing to pay up. Tu Xiaoling, an administrator at a Shanghai university, began buying Yunnan Baiyao’s pricey
toothpaste two years ago, hoping it would
help ease her bleeding gums. “Traditional
Chinese medicine cures the problems from
the roots,” she says.
In fact, some of these products have
gained significant market share. Its toothpaste grabbed 16.5% of the Chinese market
in 2016, ranking it the second most popular
in the country. Baiyao adhesive bandages
lead that segment of the local market.
According to market research firm Euromonitor, Yunnan Baiyao has been steadily
gaining share in several product categories
in China in recent years, including beauty
and personal-care products and over-thecounter medications.
The Chinese government is encouraging
even bigger sales. In recent years, Beijing has
been promoting Chinese medicine as part
of a revival of China’s ancient heritage, from
Confucian moral teachings to traditional
arts, in a quest to foster national pride, project cultural influence and, of course, create
new jobs and exports. The State Council,
China’s top governing body, recently went so
far as to call on modern doctors to study the
wonders of Chinese medicine.
The state is also backing its pronouncements with hard cash. Farmers who grow
the herbs and plants used in traditional
treatments receive tax breaks, helping to
reduce the cost of making Chinese medicine
products. In July, a new law came into effect
that calls for enhanced training for Chinese
medicine practitioners and promises even
more generous state assistance.
All these trends point to a potentially
larger market for Yunnan Baiyao. Wang
Yinghu, senior researcher at consulting firm
Forward Industries Institute in Shenzhen,
forecasts that the sales of Chinese traditional
medicine will more than double by 2022 to
$270 billion, or about 35% of the total health
care market.
Yin intends to capture that growth by
rolling out a steady stream of new products.
In 2014, Yunnan Baiyao purchased a 40%
stake in Qingyitang, a Chinese manufacturer of female sanitary products, into which
Yin aims to instill traditional medicine.
Other new items include a children’s probiotic toothpaste and an all-natural face mask
that the company boasts is edible (a claim
we did not test).
Meanwhile, Yunnan Baiyao is in the
midst of its own makeover. In recent
months, the government has sold part of
its stake. In March, the provincial commission that was the biggest shareholder
sold half of its stake in Yunnan Baiyao’s
holding company for $3.8 billion to the
Fuzhou-based conglomerate Newhuadu
Industrial Group, which specializes in
supermarkets and shopping malls. Then
in June, Newhuadu and the provincial
government sold a combined 10% stake to
medical-equipment maker Yuyue Technology Development, headquartered in
Zhenjiang, for $835 million. The two deals
leave government-controlled entities owning less than a third of Yunnan Baiyao. The
privatization “will help improve the company’s management, boost its performance
in the capital market and gain the company
a more competitive edge,” says Wang of
Forward Industries.
Yin may need all the help he can get. As
China’s population ages and the market for
health care swells, every company making
drugs or personal-care products is looking
to the country as a source of growth. But
Yin believes that Chinese tradition will continue to be Yunnan Baiyao’s advantage. “We
have a lot of expertise in this field,” he says.
“We can continue to create products that are
interesting and new.” F
YEARS ON LIST: 3
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 3
INDUSTRY: ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS
SALES: $2.9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $10.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: JIANG BIN
Great Wall Motor 3
YEARS ON LIST: 6
INDUSTRY: MOTOR VEHICLES
SALES: $14.3 BIL
MARKET CAP: $11.8 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WANG FENG-YING
Guangdong Haid Group
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
SALES: $4.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $4.3 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: XUE HUA
Huadong Medicine
YEARS ON LIST: 3
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 3
INDUSTRY: PHARMACEUTICALS
SALES: $3.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $7.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: LI BANG-LIANG
Kangmei Pharmaceutical
YEARS ON LIST: 3
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 3
INDUSTRY: PHARMACEUTICALS
SALES: $3.2 BIL
MARKET CAP: $15.6 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: MA XING-TIAN
Longfor Properties 3
YEARS ON LIST: 3
INDUSTRY: PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
SALES: $8.3 BIL
MARKET CAP: $14 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WU YA-JUN
Luxshare Precision Ì
INDUSTRY: OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY
SALES: $2.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $10.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WANG LAICHUN
Midea Group Ì
INDUSTRY: HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES
SALES: $23.9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $38.6 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: PAUL FANG
Nanjing Xinjiekou
Department Store Ì
INDUSTRY: RETAILING
SALES: $2.4 BIL
MARKET CAP: $6.5 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: YANG HUAI-ZHEN
NetEase
YEARS ON LIST: 3
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 3
INDUSTRY: INTERNET SERVICES
SALES: $5.7 BIL
MARKET CAP: $36.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: DING “WILLIAM” LEI
S.F. Holding Ì
INDUSTRY: COURIER SERVICES
SALES: $8.6 BIL
MARKET CAP: $31.5 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WANG WEI
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 25
R
SA
SIA
FO
BE
Getting Credit
Sanjiv Bajaj is making it easier to take out loans for small purchases and turning his
family’s Bajaj Finserv into an Indian consumer’s best friend. BY ANURADHA RAGHUNATHAN
W
hen Sanjiv Bajaj,
a fourth-generation scion of the
91-year-old Bajaj
Group, took the
reins of a newly carved-out financialservices company in 2008, he was staring
26 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
at a huge opportunity in under-banked
and underinsured India. It was also a
chance to prove his mettle: Older brother
Rajiv was already running flagship Bajaj
Auto, a leading motorcycle manufacturer.
“There was risk because financial services
were new to me,” says Sanjiv. “But there
was excitement because I was building
something new. We may never build
the largest financial-services business in
India, but we can build excellence.”
And that’s just what he did. This year
Pune-based Bajaj Finserv strides onto
the Fab 50 for the second time in a row.
The Fab 50
Shanghai Fosun
Pharmaceutical Ì
INDUSTRY: PHARMACEUTICALS
SALES: $2.2 BIL
MARKET CAP: $9.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: GUO GUANGCHANG
Shenzhen O-Film Tech
YEARS ON LIST: 3
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 3
INDUSTRY: TECHNOLOGY EQUIPMENT
SALES: $4 BIL
MARKET CAP: $8.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: CAI RONG-JUN
Sunny Optical Technology Ì
INDUSTRY: OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY
SALES: $2.2 BIL
MARKET CAP: $14.8 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: YE LIAONING
Tencent Holdings
YEARS ON LIST: 9
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 9
INDUSTRY: INTERNET SERVICES
SALES: $22.9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $387 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: MA HUA-TENG
Vipshop Holdings Ì
INDUSTRY: INTERNET RETAILING
SALES: $8.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $5.7 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: SHEN “ERIC” YA
Yonghui Superstores 3
YEARS ON LIST: 2
INDUSTRY: RETAILING
SALES: $7.4 BIL
MARKET CAP: $9.9 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: ZHANG XUAN-SONG
YTO Express Group Ì
INDUSTRY: COURIER SERVICES
SALES: $2.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $7.6 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: YU HUI-JIAO
Yunnan Baiyao Group 3
YEARS ON LIST: 2
INDUSTRY: PHARMACEUTICALS
SALES: $3.4 BIL
MARKET CAP: $14 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WANG MING-HUI
Zhejiang Dahua Technology Ì
INDUSTRY: SECURITY EQUIPMENT &
SERVICES
SALES: $2 BIL
MARKET CAP: $11.3 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: FU LI-QUAN
H O N G KO N G
“We have grown very well, but
we are still very small,” says Sanjiv Bajaj,
managing director of Bajaj Finserv.
RITAM BANERJEE FOR FORBES
It produced a 17% jump in revenue, to $3.7
billion, and 19% growth in net profits, to
$337 million, for the year ended March 31.
The stock price has doubled over the past
12 months.
Listed Bajaj Finance is the crown jewel
of what is now a financial conglomerate,
CK Asset Holdings Ì
accounting for 40% of its revenue and
catering to a swathe of customers from
just below middle class all the way up to
high-net-worth individuals. It’s a leader
in financing consumer products, funding
one out of every four flat-screen television
sets in the country. It also makes loans for
INDUSTRY: PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
SALES: $9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $31.9 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: VICTOR LI
Sino Biopharmaceutical
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: PHARMACEUTICALS
SALES: $2 BIL
MARKET CAP: $6.4 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVES: THERESA TSE, TSE PING
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 27
FORBES ASIA
FAB 50 — BAJAJ FINSERV
STATE BANKS’ LOSSES ARE FAB 50’S GAINS
discretionary spending and even for
splurges on, for example, luxury watches,
stem-cell storage or cosmetic surgery.
“Consumer-products financing really
brought them into the limelight and
propped them up as a different player
with a niche product,” says Kajal Gandhi,
banking analyst at Mumbai’s ICICIdirect.
com. “These are short-duration loans.
The churn is faster, and they completely
replenish the loan book every year.”
The all-out attempt to woo the
consumer has helped build a base of 85
million customers, with 10 million being
added each year. But it isn’t without challenges. “When you sell a sporty motorcycle, the customer can touch the petrol
tank, kick the tires and hear the whir
of the engine,” explains the 48-year-old
Bajaj. “There’s an appeal on the product
for which the person is willing to pay a
premium and take it home. That’s not the
case with loans and insurance.”
28 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
That’s why Bajaj has tied up with
40,000 retailers selling everything from
modular kitchens and mattresses to
mobile phones. The financing options
bring in fresh buyers. Take G. Thirulogachandar, 47, who recently bought a
$700, large-screen Haier LED TV at a
store in Chennai. “I wouldn’t have been
able to buy it with one single payment. It
helps that the payments are spread over
eight months.” He runs a small business
and got 0% financing from Bajaj.
Bajaj Finance has also allied with
Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, a top
retailer, to convert any purchase over $75
into monthly installments. “He [Bajaj]
is more about doing rather than talking,” says Biyani. “This company is very
refreshing because it’s simple, serious and
data-driven.”
Indeed, data analytics has helped
Bajaj track millions of customers while
keeping bad loans in check. The amount
of its nonperforming assets is among
the lowest of India’s nonbanking finance
companies. “They [Bajaj] have all the
systems and processes in place, which is
why they can pick and choose customers,” says Alpesh Mehta, research analyst
at Motilal Oswal. “They can take an
intelligent credit risk on any customer,
whether he is in a tier 2 or tier 3 city. It’s
very difficult to replicate their analytics.”
Bajaj Finance boasts $10.7 billion in
assets under management, and Motilal
Oswal projects this figure to more than
double over the next three or four years,
buoyed by selling more of its products to
each customer, winning more customers
and expanding into new regions.
In insurance, Bajaj Finserv is not a
leader but it’s gaining ground. In the
past year it issued 10 million policies
for health care, motor, marine and crop
insurance, and it’s one of the most profitable players in the general insurance
DHIRAJ SINGH/BLOOMBERG
Four of the eight Indian companies
making the Fab 50 list this year come
from the financial-services sector. The
three banks—HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank
and Yes Bank—and the one nonbanking
financial company, Bajaj Finserv, were
helped by the fate of public-sector banks
that are reeling under bad loans.
The four produced stellar growth
despite a slowdown in the industrial
sector and muted credit growth—5.1% in
fiscal 2017, down from 12.6% two years
earlier. With government-owned banks
having lost money the last two years and
now trying to get their books in order,
private-sector banks wooed away some
of their customers—and won new ones—
HDFC makes our list for the 11th time, the most of any company.
with better terms and pricing.
Net nonperforming assets for the overall banking sector stood at $68 billion as of March 31, with public-sector
banks accounting for the bulk of that. Many of them are reeling from the corporate loans they issued during the
euphoria preceding the global financial crisis that have since gone bad.
HDFC Bank makes the list for the 11th time—the most of any company. The $70.6 billion (market cap) bank fell
off only in 2011 after first cracking the Fab 50 in 2006. The $2.8 billion (fiscal 2017 revenue) IndusInd Bank—which
registered 20% sales growth over the past year—is on the list for the second time in a row. Mumbai’s Yes Bank, with
revenue of $3.1 billion, debuts after notching a 29% leap in net profits. —A.R.
The Fab 50
WH Group
sector. It ranked No. 1 in the private lifeinsurance sector for the past year in terms
of number of lives insured, according to the
insurance regulatory agency IRDA. Bajaj
operates two insurance segments: general
insurance through Bajaj Allianz General
Insurance and life insurance through Bajaj
Allianz Life Insurance. The German insurer
Allianz holds 26% in the two entities; Bajaj
Finserv owns the rest.
Bajaj Finance also enjoys synergy with
Bajaj Auto. It finances one out of three
motorcycles and one out of five threewheelers sold by Bajaj Auto in India, and
buyers get the option of insuring their new
wheels with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. But this is only a small part of Bajaj
Finance’s business.
Born into a storied business family, Sanjiv Bajaj is the great-grandson of founder
Jamnalal Bajaj and the second son of Bajaj
Group chairman and billionaire Rahul
Bajaj. He studied at a Catholic convent
school run by Swiss missionaries. “It was a
fairly simple, middle-class experience,” he
says, noting that the students came from all
socioeconomic groups. “It created a very
solid foundation.”
He went on to get a mechanicalengineering degree from the government
engineering college in Pune. While there,
the lanky, 6-foot-3 Bajaj played basketball
for the varsity team. After a brief stint at
Bajaj Auto, he earned a master’s in manufacturing systems from the University of
Warwick in the U.K. and an M.B.A. from
Harvard. For ten years, until 2007, he took
on a variety of roles at Bajaj Auto, ranging
from controlling costs on the shop floor
to managing investments and revving up
exports.
Then the auto and financial-services
units were split and Bajaj took charge of the
latter. The year he took over, Bajaj Finserv
reported an $8 million loss. Bajaj wasn’t
deterred: “Luckily, we had all the products
within the three companies to cater to the
entire financial life cycle of a person.” And
he could lean on his uncle Nanoo Pamnani, a career Citibanker who mentored
him and now serves as Bajaj Finserv’s vice
chairman; Rahul is chairman.
Early on Bajaj decided that while
growth was important, it wouldn’t come
at the cost of profitability. For instance,
when the company was considering selling
insurance through large banks, it decided
against it because the relationships were
costly. It focused instead on smaller banks.
Similarly, it began issuing infrastructure
loans in 2011 but stopped after 18 months.
“These loans help you add to your books
quickly but could also prove to be a distraction,” he says.
Bajaj also plays an active role in human
resources, getting involved in appraisals,
promotions and job rotations. “The challenge in any organization is in stagnation
of ideas or poor execution, both of which
comes back to people,” he says. His job is
cut out for him: “How do we align and keep
our top 500 people motivated and fully
equipped and accountable?”
In a crowded industry Bajaj Finserv
faces off with many companies across
several segments, from Chennai’s Shriram
Group to Fab 50 perennial HDFC Bank
and Mumbai’s Capital First. So it tries to
separate itself from the pack with technology, constantly seeking out fresh ideas
across the globe. In April, Bajaj was in
Silicon Valley meeting with executives from
Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce as well
as 40 startups. “There’s so much change and
innovation happening,” he says. “We pick
up what’s relevant and use the technology
that’s applicable to us.”
While dad Rahul acts as “a check and
balance,” the son says he enjoys a free hand
in running the company. “We have a very
productive and highly accountable engagement,” says Bajaj, who lives with his wife
and two children in the same house as his
father. The two brothers sit on each other’s
boards; there’s also a younger sister who’s
not involved in the group. While work takes
up a chunk of his time, Bajaj has not lost his
sporty bent—taking time to swim, walk or
play tennis and basketball. Yogic breathing
also gets its slot a few times a week.
But the business vision is always clear
and present. “We have grown very well,
but we are still very small,” observes Bajaj.
“I see the opportunity for us to be the
financial-services partner for a large part of
India.” F
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: MEAT PROCESSOR
SALES: $21.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $14.7 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: WAN LONG
INDIA
Bajaj Finserv
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: FINANCIAL SERVICES
SALES: $3.7 BIL
MARKET CAP: $13 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: SANJIV BAJAJ
HDFC Bank
YEARS ON LIST: 11
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 6
INDUSTRY: BANKING
SALES: $12.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $70.6 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: ADITYA PURI
IndusInd Bank
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: BANKING
SALES: $2.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $15.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: ROMESH SOBTI
InterGlobe Aviation Ì
INDUSTRY: TRANSPORTATION
SALES: $2.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $7.2 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: KAPIL BHATIA
Motherson Sumi
Systems
YEARS ON LIST: 5
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 5
INDUSTRY: AUTO PARTS
SALES: $6.3 BIL
MARKET CAP: $10.6 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: VIVEK CHAAND SEHGAL
Rajesh Exports Ì
INDUSTRY: GOLD JEWELRY
SALES: $36.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $3.3 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: RAJESH MEHTA
UPL Ì
INDUSTRY: AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS
SALES: $2.4 BIL
MARKET CAP: $6.8 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: RAJNIKANT SHROFF
Yes Bank Ì
INDUSTRY: BANKING
SALES: $3.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $12.7 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: RANA KAPOOR
INDONESIA
PT Tiphone Mobile
Indonesia Ì
INDUSTRY: TELECOMMUNICATIONS
SALES: $2.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $677 MIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: TAN LIE PIN
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 29
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LIST OF CONFIRMED SPEAKERS AS OF AUGUST 16, 2017
Steve Forbes
Carrie Lam
Joseph C. Tsai
Neil Shen
Chairman &
Editor-in-Chief,
Forbes Media, USA
The Chief Executive,
Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region,
People’s Republic of
China
Executive Vice
Chairman, Alibaba
Group, China
Managing Partner,
Sequoia Capital, China
Vijay Shekhar
Sharma
Anthony Tan
Jeongdo Hong
Miwako Date
Group CEO, Grab,
Singapore
President & CEO,
JoongAng Ilbo and
JMnet, President &
CEO, JTBC,
South Korea
President & CEO,
Mori Trust, Japan
Mike Perlis
Helman Sitohang
CEO & Executive
Chairman, Forbes
Media, USA
CEO Asia Pacific,
Executive Board
Member, Credit Suisse,
Singapore
Mario Moretti
Polegato
Chairman,
GEOX Group, Italy
Kathy Ireland
Enrique K. Razon Jr.
CEO & Chief Designer, Chairman & President,
Kathy Ireland
International Container
Worldwide, USA
Terminal Services, Inc,
Philippines
C. Dean
Metropoulos
Chairman & CEO,
Metropoulos & Co.,
USA
Dikembe Mutombo
Adrian Cheng
Chairman & President,
Dikembe Mutombo
Foundation, USA
Founder, K11 and K11
Art Foundation,
Executive Vice
Chairman & GM, New
World Development,
Hong Kong
Jaime Augusto
Zobel de Ayala
Antoine Blondeau
Goodwin Gaw
Tony Fernandes
Ronnie C. Chan
CEO, Paytm, India
Chairman, Sentient,
USA
Managing Principal &
Chairman, Gaw Capital
Partners, Hong Kong
Group CEO, AirAsia,
Malaysia
Chairman, Hang Lung
Properties, Hong Kong
Jane Jie Sun
John Riady
Panote
Sirivadhanabhakdi
CEO & Director,
Executive Director,
Ctrip.com International, Lippo Group, Managing
China
Partner, Venturra
Capital, Indonesia
Group CEO,
Frasers Centrepoint,
Singapore
Chairman & CEO,
Ayala Corporation,
Philippines
Abhishek Lodha
Jonathan Tahir
Lawrence Ho
MD, Lodha Group,
India
Deputy Chairman,
Mayapada Group,
Indonesia
Chairman & CEO,
Melco Resorts &
Entertainment,
Hong Kong
Divesh Makan
Patrick Grove
Moira Forbes
Ho Kwon Ping
Francis Yeoh
Francine LeFrak
Jean Eric Salata
Sam Goi
S D Shibulal
CEO, ICONIQ Capital,
USA
Group CEO, Catcha
Group, Malaysia
Executive Vice
President, Forbes
Media, President
& Publisher,
ForbesWoman, USA
Executive Chairman,
Banyan Tree Holdings,
Singapore
MD, YTL Group of
Companies, Malaysia
Social Entrepreneur
& Philanthropist,
Founder, Same Sky,
USA
Chief Executive,
Baring Private Equity
Asia, Hong Kong
Executive Chairman,
Tee Yih Jia Group and
GSH Corporation,
Singapore
Co-Founder, Infosys &
Axilor Ventures, India
Binod K. Chaudhary
Beth A. BrookeMarciniak
Chairman, CG Corp
Global, Nepal
Global Vice Chair,
Public Policy, EY, USA
Douglas Hsu
David Hanson
Rich Karlgaard
V Shankar
Jay Wintrob
Yoshito Hori
Tim Ferguson
Chairman & CEO,
Far Eastern Group,
Taiwan
CEO, Hanson Robotics,
Hong Kong
Editor-at-Large &
Global Futurist,
Forbes Media, USA
CEO & Partner,
Gateway Partners,
UAE
CEO, Oaktree Capital
Management, USA
President, GLOBIS
University, Managing
Partner, GLOBIS
Capital Partners, Japan
Editor, Forbes Asia,
USA
R
SA
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FO
BE
SK HYNIX
A New Lease on Life
N
othing like a change of both
name and ownership to reverse
the fortunes of a company that
was in trouble for years. Memory-chip
manufacturer SK Hynix has seen its
revenue and earnings climb dramatically
since SK Group took over in early 2012,
and this year it cracks the Fab 50 list for
the first time.
SK Hynix was born in 1983 as the
Hyundai empire’s answer to Samsung
Electronics. It went public in 1996, and
Hyundai completely spun it off in 2001.
By then its name was Hynix—from “Hy”
in Hyundai and “nix” from “nics” in
electronics. Over the next ten years it was
in and out of financial trouble until SK
Telecom, a pillar of the SK Group, bought
a 20.5% stake from its creditor banks and
added SK to its name.
Today SK Hynix is South Korea’s
second-biggest manufacturer of memory
chips, but it’s well behind Samsung
Electronics. Rising demand worldwide
for memory chips, the only product the
company makes, has boosted SK Hynix’s
performance but so has the aggressive
style of the company’s new management
team. “The new SK Hynix is trying its
best to narrow the gap with Samsung,”
says Ahn Ki-Hyun, executive director
of the Korea Semiconductor Industry
Association, who was an engineer with
Hynix as Hyundai was pulling out in
2001. “Old Hynix focused on manufacturing improvement. The new Hynix is
focusing on R&D and technology for the
D-RAM and emphasizing miniaturization of NAND flash memory.”
Revenue is expected to hit $25.2
billion this year, 180% higher than in
2012. Much of the credit goes to Chief
Chips and wafers: “The new Hynix is emphasizing miniaturization.”
32 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER, 2017
Executive Park Sung-Wook, who started
as an engineer with the old Hynix, rose
through the ranks, hung on during the
transition to SK and now has been rolling
out innovations, some developed at the
company’s research and development
center in San Jose, California. With
nearly 30,000 workers at three manufacturing plants, two near Seoul and one in
Wuxi, near Shanghai, SK Hynix sells 90%
of its chips to foreign customers, mostly
in the U.S. and China.
Now SK Hynix is trying to take over
part of Toshiba, which is No. 2 in NAND
flash memory chips globally, behind
Samsung, and fourth overall in chips, behind Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron. By
shedding its memory-chip unit, Toshiba
hopes to cover huge losses from its Westinghouse nuclear-power subsidiary. But
analysts are not keen on this move. James
Rooney, chairman of Advanced Capital
Partners in Hong Kong, cites SK Hynix’s
“attempt to do a Toshiba deal” as evidence “they will somehow get drawn into
circumstances that stretch their balance
sheet or distract management’s focus.”
This, he warns, “could bring on a new
crisis during a cyclical market downturn.”
Hank Morris, a financial analyst in
Seoul, believes that SK was just plain
lucky to pick up Hynix when it did. “SK
was purchasing a going concern that was
doing well despite the ups and downs
of the memory-chip market,” he says.
“Few groups in Korea would have the
monetary assets to have bought control of Hynix. The government did not
want it to go to Samsung because then
Samsung would have too large a share of
the D-RAM market and that would have
caused the government problems.”
—Donald Kirk
The Fab 50
J A PA N
India’s Missing
IT Companies
I
dra (3). Even Satyam Computer Services
cracked the list twice before it was felled by
the largest fraud in Indian corporate history and sold to Tech Mahindra in 2009.
In the past year, TCS—India’s largest IT
company—saw 6% revenue growth to $18
billion while net profits also grew 6% to
nearly $4 billion. Infosys, the second-largest, recorded a 4% rise in net profits. Wipro
saw a 7% drop in net profits while Tech
Mahindra experienced an 8.2% dip.
HCL Tech performed the best—registering 13% growth
both in revenue and net
profits—but the showing wasn’t strong enough
to return it to the list
this year. “This period
of lower revenue growth
has been playing out over
four years—the growth
was 14% in fiscal 2014
and it’s 9% this year,” says
Ashish Chopra, research
analyst at Mumbai’s
On hold: Economic trends and political factors have been a downer
Motilal Oswal. “Cloud,
for the technology sector, and workers have to reinvent themselves.
digital and automation
technologies are allowing clients to optiA strong rupee and weak IT spending
in industries such as retail aren’t helping ei- mize their IT budgets for existing work.
While companies are transitioning, no
ther. Meanwhile, automation and digitizaIndian company of any might or scale has
tion are eliminating jobs and changing job
a disproportionately large share of revenue
descriptions across the sector, leading to a
from new technologies yet.”
huge need for retraining.
In fact, TCS, Infosys and Tech Mahindra
India’s $154 billion IT industry—emall saw a net reduction in their workforces
ploying 3.9 million people—expects lower
for the quarter ended June 30. Analysts say
export growth of 7% to 8% this year,
this kind of shake-up is nothing new in the
compared with 8.6% last year. Indian
IT industry, which has battled currency
companies rely heavily on the U.S. market,
fluctuations and shrinking IT budgets in the
but growth there has slowed. Banking and
past. But the magnitude is worrisome. IT
financial services, big contributors to IT
industry body Nasscom projects that in three
industry revenue, have seen tepid growth.
years nearly a third of the workforce will be
So for the first time it’s a no-show this
irrelevant and at least half of the remainder
year for India’s top five. They’ve each made
will need to be retrained. It’s working to
the list multiple times: Tata Consultancy
retrain workers with the help of its member
Services (8 years), Infosys (6), HCL Techcompanies. —Anuradha Raghunathan
nologies (6) Wipro (5), and Tech Mahin-
DAVID PEARSON / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
ndian information-technology companies have been a mainstay of the Fab 50
since we began the list in 2005—until
this year. Some continue to churn out good
results, but not one of them is performing well enough to make the list this time.
That’s a reflection of the turmoil in the
sector, which is roiled by economic and
political factors ranging from tighter rules
for work permits in the U.S., Singapore,
Australia and New Zealand to the planned
exit of the U.K. from the European Union.
CyberAgent
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: INTERNET SERVICES
SALES: $2.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $4.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: SUSUMU FUJITA
Mixi Ì
INDUSTRY: MOBILE GAMING
SALES: $1.9 BIL
MARKET CAP: $4.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: KENJI KASAHARA
Nippon Paint
YEARS ON LIST: 2
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: PAINT MANUFACTURING
SALES: $5.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $12.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVES: TETSUSHI TADOH,
KENJI SAKAI
S O U T H KO R E A
Naver
YEARS ON LIST: 8
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 2
INDUSTRY: INTERNET SERVICES
SALES: $3.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $19.7 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: HAN SEONG-SOOK
SK Hynix Ì
INDUSTRY: SEMICONDUCTORS
SALES: $14.8 BIL
MARKET CAP: $40.3 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: PARK SUNG-WOOK
M A L AY S I A
Batu Kawan
YEARS ON LIST: 3
CONSECUTIVE YEARS: 3
INDUSTRY: CHEMICALS
SALES: $4.1 BIL
MARKET CAP: $1.8 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVES: LEE OI HIAN, LEE HAU HIAN
TA I WA N
Catcher Technology 3
YEARS ON LIST: 2
INDUSTRY: TECHNOLOGY EQUIPMENT
SALES: $2.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $9.4 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: ALLEN HORNG
MediaTek 3
YEARS ON LIST: 5
INDUSTRY: SEMICONDUCTORS
SALES: $8.5 BIL
MARKET CAP: $14.1 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: MING-KAI TSAI
VIETNAM
Mobile World Investment Ì
INDUSTRY: ELECTRONICS & APPLIANCES
RETAILING
SALES: $2 BIL
MARKET CAP: $1.5 BIL
TOP EXECUTIVE: NGUYEN DUC TAI
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 33
R
B
SIA
FO
JACK MA: TYCOON AT THE CENTER
A
ES
E-COMMERCE/
RETAIL
Taobao
Tmall
Alibaba.com
Alimama
1688.com
AliExpress
Lazada
OneTouch
Intime Retail
PHARMACEUTICALS
Alibaba Health1
The World
of Alibaba
The Hangzhou online giant is on an acquisition binge
that has seen its tentacles stretch to virtually every
corner of the Chinese economy and beyond.
RESEARCH BY JANE HO
1H.K.-LISTED COMPANY, 46% OWNED BY ALIBABA AND 14% OWNED BY YUNFENG, A PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM COFOUNDED BY MA.
NOTE: THE COMPANIES LISTED IN THE GRAPHIC ARE ALL MAJORITY-OWNED.
SOURCES: ALIBABA; STOCK EXCHANGE FILINGS; COMPANY WEBSITES.
34 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
FINANCE
Ant Financial
ALIPAY
YU’EBAO
MYBANK
SITTING PRETTY
Jack Ma’s empire keeps
growing and is now worth
nearly $400 billion.
INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY
Alibaba Cloud
DingTalk
YunOS
AutoNavi
Investments and
Minority stakes
E-COMMERCE/RETAIL
Suning
One97 Communications
Paytm Mall
Baozun
FINANCE
Hundsun Technologies
LOGISTICS/DELIVERY SERVICES
Cainiao Network
Qingdao Goodaymart Logistics
SingPost
YTO
Ele.me
MEDIA/ENTERTAINMENT
Alibaba Pictures
China Media Capital
Enlight Media
Weibo
Huayi Brothers
TOURISM
Fliggy
(formerly Alitrip)
MEDIA/
ENTERTAINMENT
Youku Tudou
UCWeb
AliGames
Damai
South China
Morning Post
Publishers
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Shiji Information
OTHERS
AGTech
Magic Leap
Koubei
Meizu
Haier Electronics Group
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 35
DARIO PIGNATELLI/BLOOMBERG: ILLUSTRATIONS BY PETER AND MARIA HOEY FOR FORBES
TRANSPORTATION
Didi
R
SA
SIA
FO
BE
THESE COMPANIES ARE DEBUTING
THIS YEAR AFTER MAKING THEIR MARK
IN SECTORS RANGING FROM E-COMMERCE TO SOY SAUCE PRODUCTION.
CHEUNG KONG
PROPERTY HOLDINGS
HONG KONG
The Li Ka-shing-chaired property developer
is one of the largest in Hong Kong, developing one in seven private residences in the city.
It also develops commercial and industrial
property at home as well as across mainland
China, Singapore, the U.K. and the Bahamas.
In 2008, CK Hutchison Holdings made the
Fab 50 before a corporate reshuffle led to the
current company.
COGOBUY GROUP
CHINA
Graduating from last year’s Waiting in the
Wings list, Cogobuy is the largest e-commerce
FOSHAN HAITIAN
FLAVOURING & FOOD
CHINA
Producer and seller of soy sauce is the
biggest player in terms of revenue in the
Chinese condiment industry. Moving up
from last year’s Waiting in the Wings, the
22-year-old company is diversifying its
product line. Though soy sauce still counts
INTERGLOBE
AVIATION
INDIA
The Gurgaon company
operates India’s largest
passenger airline, IndiGo,
which is one of the largest low-cost carriers in
the world. Boasting a
market share of more
than 40%, the 11-yearold airline, which serves
46 destinations—39 domestic and 7 international—has been profitable since fiscal
2009. The air carrier expects capacity to grow by 20% each year for the next three
years. Revenue rose 13% on the back of a 31.5% growth in passenger volume over
the past year. Cofounders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal are regulars on Forbes’
rich lists—Bhatia on the India 100 and Gangwal on the U.S. Forbes 400 roster.
IndiGo has recently expressed an interest in buying state-run, debt-laden Air India’s
international and low-cost units.
36 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
for 61% of its revenue last year, oyster sauce,
bean paste and chicken essence are on the
rise. The company also sponsors five popular TV shows. Harvard Business School
turned the most famous one, If You Are the
One, a 90-minute Chinese dating-game
show, into a case study in 2014, the year
Foshan Haitian went public.
MIXI
JAPAN
Started as a social-networking service in 1999
by Kenji Kasahara, the company boasted
14 million monthly active users by 2012.
However, with the rise of Facebook and the
emergence of Mixi tsukare (“tired of Mixi”),
the Tokyo king of social networking started
experiencing a sharp downturn in 2011. The
stock price fell to less than 10% of its historic
high in 2008. Kasahara took the user data and
developed other services such as e-commerce,
dating and apartment-hunting, but nothing
worked. In September 2013, an iOS-based
mobile game it developed, Monster Strike,
saved the company. The stock went up 191%
in 2014, and Kasahara returned to our list of
Japan’s 50 Richest in 2015 after an absence of
four years. In the last fiscal year, 93% of Mixi’s
revenue came from its mobile game segment.
MOBILE WORLD
INVESTMENT
VIETNAM
The Ho Chi Minh City company sells mobile
phones and electronic devices. Founded in
2004, the company has maintained an annual
revenue growth rate of more than 60% since
its IPO in 2014. With 1,527 stores in all 63 cities in Vietnam, it also has a store in Cambodia
and plans to expand to Laos and Myanmar.
The company also has established online marketplaces: Thegiodidong.com (“mobile world”)
sells phones and laptops, while Dienmay.com
(“consumer electronics”) distributes TVs, refrigerators and karaoke machines. Last month,
Mobile World became the official distributor
of the first Vietnam-made high-end smartphone, the newly launched $440 BPhone.
RAJESH EXPORTS
INDIA
The world’s largest gold company, which is
into everything from mining and refining to
REUTERS/AMIT DAVE
New to the Class
marketplace serving China’s electronicsmanufacturing industry. It sells electronic
hardware to small and medium-size companies. Founded in 2010 in Shenzhen and listed
in Hong Kong in 2014, it managed 6,000%
revenue growth in five years. Chairman and
Chief Executive Jeffrey Kang, 47, owns 47%
of the company, making him a billionaire. In
2014 the company started a subsidiary—IngDan (“Hard Egg”), an online system that
matches up intelligent-hardware startups
with crowdfunding platforms such as Taobao
and JD.com. IngDan also relies on Cogobuy’s
customers to supply startups with the hardware they need to turn ideas into products. In
July, Cogobuy, together with three other Fab
50 companies—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—joined China’s first industry technology
alliance to break into the booming artificial
intelligence industry.
VIPSHOP HOLDINGS
CHINA
Three years after getting notice
on the Waiting in the Wings list,
the company steps up to the Fab
50. Founder and Chairman Ya
“Eric” Shen is a billionaire now.
Started in 2008 and listed in 2012,
the Guangzhou online retailer is
the fastest-growing e-commerce
company in China and the thirdbiggest, after JD.com and Taobao.
The company pioneered selling
deeply discounted products in
China from big brands, while putting out slogans such as “100%
real product” to combat discount
retailing’s reputation as being rife
with counterfeits. Revenue grew
33% this past year.
wholesaling and retailing, has seen its revenue
jump sevenfold in five years. Started by
brothers Rajesh and Prashant Mehta in 1989,
it has refineries in Switzerland and India. It
also runs a retail chain under the name Shubh
Jewellers. It plans to expand from the current
80 stores to around 500 in three years. About
a third of sales comes from Europe and a fifth
from the U.S. It manufactures bullion bars
for leading brands across the world. Rajesh is
chairman and appears regularly on our list of
India’s 100 Richest.
prepurchases and predelivers goods to geographic areas based on predictions of the purchasing needs there. With 36 planes, 15,000
trucks and more than 120,000 employees, S.F.
Express can deliver fresh fruit and, especially
in the fall, crabs.
S.F. HOLDING
WAITING IN THE WINGS
IMAGINECHINA
CHINA
A backdoor listing allowed Shenzhen delivery
company S.F. Express to go public in December by buying out a chemical company and
changing the name to S.F. Holding. Founded
in 1993 by Wang Wei, then a deliverer himself,
S.F. is now the biggest delivery company in
China. Wang has become the fourth-richest
man in China. In 2015, S.F. Express, with
four other delivery companies, invested $75
million and developed Feng Chao Technology, a logistics data network, to analyze user
data, predict user needs and achieve faster
deliveries. The company’s recent strategy
“Community O2O” features Hive Box, which
UPL
INDIA
The crop-protection company, which makes
seeds, pesticides, insecticides and after-
harvest products, debuts on the list after a
79% leap in profits over the past year. Profits
were buoyed by cost-cutting, the company’s
expanded manufacturing facilities around the
globe and a diversified product mix. It has 33
manufacturing plants across India, France,
the Netherlands, Colombia and Brazil. It
exports to more than 130 countries and caters
to a variety of crops. The 48-year-old Mumbai
company saw a 39% uptick in its stock in the
past year.
THESE RISING HIGH PERFORMERS MAY SOON APPEAR ON THE FAB 50.
COMPANY
COUNTRY
BUSINESS
ANHUI SHANYING PAPER INDUSTRY
CHINA
PAPER & PULP
BEIJING ORIENTAL YUHONG WATERPROOF TECH
CHINA
PAINTING MATERIALS
CSPC PHARMACEUTICAL
CHINA
PHARMACEUTICALS
GEMDALE PROPERTIES
HONG KONG
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
KANGDE XIN COMPOSITE MATERIAL
CHINA
PLASTIC PRODUCTS
NEW ORIENTAL EDUCATION
CHINA
EDUCATION SERVICES
OUTSOURCING INC.
JAPAN
RECRUITING SERVICES
POWERLONG REAL ESTATE
CHINA
PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT
PRIMAX ELECTRONICS
TAIWAN
TECHNOLOGY EQUIPMENT
SHANGHAI LA CHAPELLE FASHION
CHINA
FASHION RETAIL
TAL EDUCATION
CHINA
EDUCATION SERVICES
TVS MOTOR
INDIA
MOTOR VEHICLES
YUNDA HOLDING
CHINA
COURIER SERVICES
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 37
FORBES ASIA
FORBES@100
As Forbes’ centennial approaches,
we’re unearthing our favorite covers.
July 1, 1968: Houston,
We’ve Got Your Back
A LITTLE MORE than a year before Neil
Armstrong set foot on the moon, the outlook
for America’s space program was almost as bleak
as the lunar surface itself. Three astronauts had
been burned alive in the Apollo 1 disaster the
previous January. Public support was waning.
And the federal government had pared NASA’s
budget to approximately $4 billion (some $28
billion in current terms), roughly a 12% decline
from its 1966 high.
Forbes vociferously advocated that America
continue to pursue the final frontier: “To abandon space exploration, to ignore it, to sneer at it
is to do a disservice to the long-range health of
the American economy. . . . The smart company
does not cut its R&D just because it is having a
bad year.” Technology developed for space had
already led to new commercial opportunities.
Recently launched satellites, for example, had
boosted the transatlantic telephone system’s
capacity by 50%, and refined aluminum alloys
could carry a 50% to 60% greater structural load
than similar materials produced a decade earlier.
THE EDITOR’S DESK
In contrast to today’s deep partisan
divide over gun control, both
Democrats and Republicans (such
as Malcolm Forbes) supported it in
1968 following the assassinations
of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby
Kennedy. Wrote Forbes: “Being
required to register firearms and
show the competence . . . to handle
them hardly seems unreasonable . . .
[or] an infringement of freedom.”
NOTABLE AND NEWSWORTHY
Finance in the Outfield
The Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski
had distinguished himself as Fenway
Park’s foremost star, capturing the 1967
Triple Crown while leading the club to
the World Series. Outside the ballpark,
the left fielder nurtured a passion for
investing (“I’ve always been interested
in stocks. I tried public relations, and I
didn’t like it. I read everything I could
. . . about finance, and I liked it”) and
worked as a front man for a mutual-fund
business that is today’s Eaton & Vance.
38 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
AMAZING AD
Skyrockets’
Earthly Use
Dana Corp. was adapting
the turbine it made for the
space program for use in
such terrestrial vehicles as
cars, trucks and trains.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: UNDERWOOD ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES; DONALD UHRBROCK/THE LIFE IMAGES COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES; BILL EPPRIDGE/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES; LOUIS REQUENA/MLB PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES
BY ABRAM BROWN
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
SINGAPORE:
PREPARING FOR A CHANGING WORLD
It’s stable government and innovative outlook position the country
to remain the destination of choice for investors and businesses.
Singapore Skyline
Almost 10 years after the onset of the great
financial crisis, the global economy remains
in a volatile state. On paper, the numbers
look promising. The U.S. economy is humming, with stock markets at all-time highs.
Closer to home, Singapore’s economy
grew by a respectable 2.5% in the second
quarter from a year ago, the same pace as
the previous quarter, according to advance
estimates released by the Ministry of Trade
and Industry. Yet, the road ahead is paved
with much uncertainty.
In the past year, major economies such as
the U.K. and U.S. appear to have adopted
a more protectionist stance, as seen by the
Brexit vote and of Donald Trump’s victory in
the presidential elections. Tensions in the
South China Sea and concerns over North
Korea also threaten to derail growth.
Meanwhile, new technologies are disrupting businesses at an unprecedented rate,
as bold start-ups take on incumbents in
financial services, manufacturing and retail,
among other sectors.
Yet, experts believe that Singapore can
weather the storm and reinforce its position
as one of the world’s global cities, able to
attract investments and multinationals from
“The Asia of the future
is much bigger than
China, and Singapore
will benefit from these
subregions.”
– - PARAG KHANNA, SENIOR
RESEARCH FELLOW IN THE CENTRE
ON ASIA AND GLOBALISATION
around the world. Between its stable political system, educated workforce and drive
for innovation, Singapore has the tools it
needs to overcome the challenges it faces.
You can find evidence of this in the following pages, as we highlight global companies, such as the Intercontinental Hotel
Group, expanding their presence here.
Homegrown firms also benefit from using
Singapore as a base for global operations.
The Ascott Limited, for example, runs a
network of serviced residences comprised
of more than 40,000 units in key cities in
the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the
Middle East.
Supporting the efforts of Singaporebased enterprises are government agencies
such as the Economic Development Board,
which help with funding, talent development
and opening doors in overseas markets.
The ongoing integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and
Singapore’s role as a gateway to the region
also bode well for the country’s economic
future, as does its close ties with emerging
economic giants such as India. “The Asia
of the future is much bigger than China,
and Singapore will benefit from these
subregions,” says Parag Khanna, a senior
research fellow in the Centre on Asia and
Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School
of Public Policy at the National University
of Singapore.
Leveraging these advantages, Singapore
is in the midst of transforming its economy to
manage the trials ahead to remain a premier
destination for investors and businesses.
This is still very much a work in progress,
and will take years to complete. But if the
city-state takes on these challenges with the
same vigor and inventiveness as it has in the
past, there is much reason to be optimistic
about its continued prosperity.
Singapore
1
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Singapore Economic
Development Board:
SHAPING NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR SINGAPORE
AND THE WORLD
Singapore’s long-term commitment to innovation, successful partnerships with businesses and well-educated workforce
ensure the country is well placed to navigate the challenges ahead and thrive.
Marina Bay Sands
Singapore has moved from third world to
first in less than half a century. Along the
way, it has earned a reputation as an innovative global city at the heart of Asia that
has thrived despite its many constraints.
Yet, the city-state, which celebrated
its 50th year of independence in 2015,
cannot take it s current prosperit y
for granted. Beset by tec hnologic al
disruption and geopolitical uncertainty,
the world is changing rapidly.
A small countr y with no natural
resources, Singapore has depended
heavily on unfettered trade and healthy
relations with the rest of the world to
f u e l i t s g ro w t h. B u t w i t h s ig n s t ha t
countries are developing a more
protectionist stance, as well as greater
asser tiveness from global powers and
i n t e n s i f y i n g c o m p e t i t i o n, t h e r o a d
ahead may be a rocky one.
That said, Singapore has shown
it s abilit y to innovate in the f ace of
challenges time and again, whether it
was building an industrial base from
scratch, developing one of the world’s
best airpor t s or establishing a more
self-sufficient water supply. To thrive in
2
Singapore
a fast-evolving landscape, the nation
will need to continue to innovate with a
purpose by turning possibilities, fueled
by passion, into reality.
As part of this effort, the Singapore
Economic Development Board (EDB)
and Singa pore Tourism Board (S TB)
h a v e l a u n c h e d a n e w u n i f i e d “S G”
brand for both business and tourism.
The brand will signal to the world the
count r y ’s relentle s s commit ment to
innovation. On a business front, it also
reflects what Singapore has done and
will continue to do: par tnering global
businesses on journeys to
create new solutions and
innovations with a positive
impact on the world.
Singapore is a city of possibilities, driven by a passionate workforce striving
to succeed. The long-term
vision for the country is to
remain the preferred choice
for inter national companies seeking to expand
their business in Asia
and beyond.
Panasonic: Connecting to
Regional Customers
As a regional business hub wellconnec ted to the region, Singapore
is an ideal location for Japanese
elec tronic s giant Panasonic to house
some of its headquarter functions. For
instance, the group recently relocated
its Refrigeration Compressor Business
Unit (RCBU) headquar ters to the cit ystate to be closer to its customers and
better understand their needs.
The RCBU headquar ter s will bring
together busines s func tions such as
Panasonic HQ
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
“We are growing
beyond being just
a manufacturer—
we want to be the
leading refrigeration
compressor company
and brand globally.”
– - JAKE HIROSE, DIRECTOR,
PANASONIC ASIA PACIFIC
research and development, sales and
marketing, human resources and corporate planning as well as manufacturing
innovation and procurement.
“The proximity to the market allows
for swift management decision-making
and adds value for our customers. We
are always listening to our customers
and this is one of the key drivers behind
our s t r ategic reloc ation of RCBU to
Singapore,” says Jake Hirose, director
of Panasonic Asia Pacific.
“We recognize the demand grow th
in this market and we want to be at the
front line, not only to bet ter deliver
but also to be closer to the market to
further understand our customers’ evolving needs,” he says. “We are growing
beyond being jus t a manufac turer—
we want to be the leading refrigeration
compressor company and brand globally.”
Panasonic has not only established
itself as one of the major players in the
consumer-elec tronics sec tor in Singapore, but also in B2B businesses such
as health care, avionic s, semiconductor, vertical farming and invertor compressor manufacturing.
It also has a wholly owned research
and development arm based in
Singapore, which contributes to
Panasonic’s global R&D in areas such
as ar tificial intelligence technolog y,
B2B cloud solutions and intellec tual
property services.
I n S in g a p o re, Pa n a s o n ic h a s al s o
benefited from policies that encourage
talent development. This has become
especially impor tant as the company
incorporates more cutting-edge technologies into its operations. Panasonic
Appliances Refrigeration Devices Singapore, for example, is transitioning to
a “smart” factory that uses automated
solutions and robotic s. A s such, the
company is looking to recruit and train
system engineers capable of operating
advanced equipment.
“With this in view, Panasonic is committed to working with Singaporeans to
increase their skill sets and build deep
capabilities,” says Hirose. He adds that
the presence of the RCBU Global R&D
Centre in Singapore offers local employees a chance to take up leadership roles
and drive innovative change in the region.
Pepperl+Fuchs: Powering
Industry 4.0
One of the leading players in the new
industrial revolution, German company
Pepperl+Fuchs, is a pioneer and innovator of industrial sensors for fac tor y
automation and an expert for explosion
protection in process automation.
It s Singapore of fice ac t s as the
h ea d q ua r te r s fo r S o u t h ea s t A sia i n
manufac turing and for Asia Pacific for
sale s. W ith about 1,0 0 0 employee s,
Pepperl+Fuchs
Singapore
3
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
the Singapore of fice suppor t s it s
manufacturing operations in Indonesia,
Singapore and Vietnam.
Pepperl+Fuchs first came to Singapore in 1979, attracted by its well-educated and English-speaking workforce,
stable political system and the rule of
law. These attributes have become even
more relevant as the company navigates
challenges brought about by the move
toward advanced automation and connec tivit y in manufac turing, which has
been dubbed Industry 4.0.
To showcase it s ex per tise in automation, the company recently set up a
US$65 million global distribution center
in Singapore that features an advanced
automated retrieval system and a direct
connection between the warehouse and
production facility.
“Industry 4.0 has brought about a lot
of new challenges. Singapore’s good
education system supports companies
in this area by providing them with the
necessar y skills,” says Pepperl+Fuchs
Asia’s managing director, Juergen Seitz.
Together with the EDB, Pepperl+Fuchs
offers a program for students from the
polytechnics and the Singapore Institute
o f Te c h n o l o g y t h e c h a n c e t o g a i n
experience working at the company.
“The program allows students to adapt
to a working environment, and allows us
“Industry 4.0 has
brought about a lot
of new challenges.
Singapore’s good
education system
supports companies
in this area by
providing them with
the necessary skills.”
– - JUERGEN SEITZ, MANAGING
DIRECTOR, PEPPERL+FUCHS
ASIA
to get to know them better in order to get
an idea of which area they may be better
suited to,” says Seitz. The company also
conducts R&D together with universities
here in areas such as 3D printing and new
production processes, he adds.
Beyond talent development,
Pepperl+Fuchs has also benefited from
Singapore’s connectivity to the rest of
Asia, and the suppor t it has received
from government agencies in opening
doors to potential partnerships.
Pepperl+Fuchs
4
Singapore
“Singapore is not only well connected
to America and Europe but also to Asia,
and the EDB has been a big help in
connecting us with partners,” says Seitz.
PBA Group: Reinventing
for Success
From trading mechanical and automation
p ro d u c t s to n o w m a n u f a c t u r i n g i t s
own components using advanced
manufac turing, homegrown firm PBA
Group is constantly reinventing itself to
keep up with the changes that impact
its business.
Today, PBA designs and manufactures
high performance mechanical precision
components as well as automation and
motion control components. “Rather than
just assemble components for customers,
we felt that we could build our own
intellectual property for the components,
which enable us to give customers a
complete solution,” says PBA Group Chief
Executive Officer Derrick Yap.
A par t from being it s headquar ters,
Singapore acts as a test bed for PBA’s new
products, which it manufactures in small
batches here before rolling it out to the
rest of the region.
“The think tank of the company is in
Singapore. We do R&D here and small
batc h prod uc tion of new prod uc t s.
Once the produc tion is stabilized, we
roll out to our markets overseas,” says
Yap. Outside of Singapore, the company
has operations in eight other countries,
including Malaysia, China, Taiwan and the
Philippines.
Beyond new product development, PBA
also develops prototypes of new business
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
“The think tank of
the company is in
Singapore. We do R&D
here and small batch
production of new
products. Once the
production is stabilized,
we roll out to our
markets overseas.”
– - DERRICK YAP, CHIEF EXECUTIVE
OFFICER, PBA GROUP
models in Singapore, and has recently
unveiled several exciting new initiatives.
These include the Robotics Application
Centre of Excellence (RACE), a training
center to groom robotics engineers and
help drive the growth of advanced manufacturing here. Its courses are designed
for policymakers, business owners, educators and professional practitioners. It
has also set up an incubator to invest in
companies that are developing technologies of interest to PBA, and potentially
drive new businesses.
“By working with start-ups, it exposes
our engineers to new technologies that
we can potentially internalize and benefit
from,” Yap says.
ASEAN’s efforts to integrate its members’ economies will be a key driver of
grow th going for ward, he adds. The
ASE AN Economic Communit y (AEC),
launched in 2015, aims to create a single market across the bloc that is the
equivalent of the world’s seventh-largest economy.
Beyond ASEAN, Singapore is also well
connected to India, which is rising as an
economic powerhouse to rival China’s success. “The Asia of the future is much bigger than China, and Singapore will benefit
from these subregions. It is no secret that
cities as far away as Dubai see Singapore
as a role model,” says Khanna.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s highly diversified economy will ac t as a bulwark
against technological disruption and
rising competition. “Small countries
tend to have simple economic structure. For a small country, Singapore is
by far the most diversified economy in
the world; there is not even a second
place,” Khanna says. “Whether it’s petrochemical refineries or finance, there
are ver y few sec tors that Singapore is
not involved in and employing people.”
However, he notes the government
needs to continue to train the workforce
to handle higher value-added jobs as
this disruption transforms the economy.
Singapore’s education system will play
a big role in this effort, in particular the
collaboration bet ween indus tr y and
academia, to ensure that graduates are
equipped with skills that are relevant.
“The government looks at what MNCs
[multinational corporations] are coming in, which Singapore companies are
growing and what skills are needed,
and whether the schools are providing
them,” says Khanna.
“If there is a corporate investment in
a certain area, such as Lucasfilm coming
in for digital animation, you will suddenly
find that the polytechnics will offer robust
programs in that area to train a talented
pool to support those ventures,” he adds.
With its world-class English-language
tertiary institutions, Khanna proposes that
education itself could be a moneymaking
sector for Singapore. “If you increase the
space in major universities you have the
ability to attract top English-speaking
students from middle-class families from
China and the rest of Asia,” he says.
Singapore: An Asian City of
the Future
Despite facing a fast-changing global
landscape and intensifying competition
in the region, Singapore is well placed
to weather challenges and maintain its
position as one of the world’s premier
cities for busines s and finance, says
Parag Khanna, a senior research fellow in
the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at
the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
at the National University of Singapore.
In par ticular, the countr y is benefiting from its position as a gateway to the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), a dynamic region that is seeing
healthy growth. More foreign investment
is flowing into ASEAN as manufacturers
look for opportunities in Southeast Asia
as operating costs in China escalate.
“ASEAN is one of the pillars of the global
economy,” Khanna says.
“The Asia of the
future is much bigger
than China, and
Singapore will benefit
from these subregions.
It is no secret that cities
as far away as Dubai
see Singapore as a
role model.”
– - PARAG KHANNA, SENIOR
RESEARCH FELLOW, CENTRE ON
ASIA AND GLOBALISATION
Singapore
5
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
InterContinental
Hotels Group:
BUILDING LONG-TERM SUCCESS
The group continues to expand its presence in Asia and beyond through its portfolio of well-recognized hotel brands
and its network of trusted partners.
InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
With the continued rise of travel and
tourism globally and especially in Asia,
the hospitality industry has become an
increasingly signficant sector, helping
power economic growth in many countries.
O n e of t h e w o r l d ’s l ea d i ng h ote l
c o m pa n i e s I n te r C o n t i n e n t a l H o te l s
Group (IHG) sees increased opportunity
in this global trend and is pioneering new
concepts throughout the region, bringing
new brands to new markets.
Today IHG has more than 5,220 hotels
in nearly 100 countries and territories.
With its expansive brand por t folio —
which include international luxury brand
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, boutique concepts Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, business brand
Crowne Plaza and the mid priced Holiday
Inn Brand family—the group can offer travellers the perfect hotel to meet every need.
IHG’s track record speaks for itself.
Partners who have worked with the group
6
Singapore
continue to deepen their relationships
by embarking on new ventures across
the region.
Pro-Invest Group, for example, saw
the opportunity to bring the Holiday Inn
Express brand to Australia and worked
with IHG to launch the hotel brand there
in 2015.
Following this succes s, Pro -Inves t
Group and IHG are developing a portfolio of 10 to 15 EVEN Hotels. This was
cemented earlier this year with the first
signing in New Zealand, its first debut
outside North America. The wellness lifestyle brand features nutritionally designed
menus and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.
EVEN Hotel Auckland
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
KIMPTON De Witt Amsterdam
says Ronald Barrot t, chief executive
officer of Pro-Invest.
“...We are confident its
modern luxury design
and positioning will
be a strong draw for
sophisticated business
and leisure travellers to
Singapore....”
– - KISHIN RK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE,
RB CAPITAL
Likewise, Singapore’s RB Capital started
its journey with IHG with the launch of
the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke
Quay in 2014. Keen to tap on the growing
luxury market, RB Capital entered into
another agreement with IHG to manage
InterContinental Singapore Robertson
Quay, which is slated to open shortly.
“The new InterContinental Singapore
Ro ber t son Q uay w ill be an exc iting
addition to Singapore’s luxur y hotel
landscape and is the crown jewel of our
Robertson Quay rejuvenation project. We
are confident its modern luxury design
and positioning will be a strong draw
for sophisticated business and leisure
travellers to Singapore. We are delighted
to partner with IHG again,” says Kishin RK,
chief executive of RB Capital.
Adds Jan Smits, IHG chief executive,
Asia, Middle East and Africa: “RB Capital is
already a partner of IHG’s and the company
has an established reputation as a leading
property development company. So growing our presence in Singapore together is a
great opportunity for us both and we look
forward to working with them to open the
doors of this exciting property.”
A Partnership Based on Trust
Trust is at the hear t of any successful
relationship, and it is no different with
IHG and its owner par tners. When an
owner invests in a hotel or resort, IHG
will be there to help them grow the value
of their asset by ensuring it is properly
managed, a promise the group gives
to all of its partners. IHG’s teams work
closely with owners to provide a seamless
experience through the design, build,
opening phase and beyond.
An example of this seamless journey
is with the recent opening of Hotel
Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach, the first
Hotel Indigo in a resort location. The
design follows the Hotel Indigo ethos of
reflecting the local neighborhood. The
new 289-room hotel gracing Seminyak’s
Mesari Beach draws inspiration from
the flavors, culture and character of its
surrounding community, the vibrant and
lively Seminyak district.
IHG of fers investors a unique value
p ro p o si t io n. T h e g ro u p’s p refe r re d
brands are known worldwide and give a
hotel immediate brand recognition. Joining the wider IHG family also gives partners access to the group’s global scale
and strong revenue deliver y systems,
which are designed to maximize performance by generating, conver ting and
retaining demand for its rooms.
With a presence in nearly 100 countries
and a strong pipeline of hotels scheduled
to open around the world, there is a
wealth of oppor tunities for investors
looking to become an owner of an IHGbranded property.
The group’s journey so far would not
be possible without its network of hotel
owners, and IHG aims to continue to create solid, forward-looking relationships
with trusted partners around the world.
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach
Singapore
7
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
The Ascott Limited:
A GLOBAL LEADER IN SERVICED RESIDENCES
Whether you are looking for a premium accommodation experience or seeking the familiar comforts of home,
The Ascott Limited’s portfolio of award-winning brands is designed to satisfy the varied needs of business
and leisure travellers from around the world.
As one of the leading international serviced
residence owner-operators, A scot t’s
promise of quality accommodation and
premier service is backed by a track record
of more than 30 years in the hospitality
business that has seen it win numerous
awards and accolades.
The group’s network of serviced residences comprises of more than 43,000
units in key cities in the Americas, Asia,
Europe and the Middle East. With another
26,000 units under development, Ascott
will eventually have more than 70,000 units
across more than 120 cities. These apartments cater to both extended-stay travellers
as well as those seeking shorter stays.
The company’s brands include Ascott,
Citadines, Somerset, Quest, The Crest
Collection and lyf.
Ascott The Residence
At Ascot t The Residence, there is no
holding back when it comes to lavishing
guests with plush, prestige pampering.
Located in prime districts across the Asia
Pacific and the Middle East, travellers
will be able to mix business with leisure
in refined surroundings and enjoy
unparalleled personal service.
Citadines Apart’hotel
For those seeking a more authentic experience, Citadines Apart’hotel offers guests
Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo
the chance to live like a local in the heart
of a bustling metropolis. Enjoy a dynamic
stay while indulging in all the comforts
and business connectivity of a modern
serviced apartment.
Somerset Serviced Residence
Somerset Serviced Residence welcomes
you with homely warmth that combines
comfort, convenience and cultural charms.
Amid a stylish setting, choose to feel the
pulse of the city, or retreat to a more tranquil space for a private experience.
Quest Apartment Hotels
Be it business trip or vacation, Quest
Apar tment Hotels provides spacious
serviced apartment style hotel rooms that
are ideal for short or long stays. Quest
Apartment Hotels has a strong presence
in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, with
properties located in central business
districts, suburban and regional areas
close to head offices, business centers and
key tourist destinations.
The Crest Collection
The Crest Collection was created with the
luxury jetsetter in mind. This handpicked
selection of elegantly designed serviced
residences celebrates modernit y and
premium comfort, offering both contemporary design and European-style grandeur.
lyf
Designed and managed by millennials, lyf
(pronounced “life”) is a co-living concept
that connec t s like-minded travellers
through a fresh take on community living
and working. Guests can bond in an array
of social spaces and experience a new
way of community living.
Citadines Michel Hamburg
8
Singapore
For more information, visit
the-ascott.com or call +65 6272 7272.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
SINGAPORE:
CHARTING A NEW COURSE ONCE AGAIN
Singapore maps out plan for the future to deal with challenges at home and abroad
while supporting the next generation’s global champions.
Singapore skyline after dark
Singapore has never shied away from
taking bold risks to tackle its economic
challenges. A s a newly independent
nation, it pur sued a then-innovative
strategy of at trac ting multinationals
to set up shop in the city-state. When
low-cost competitors chipped away at
its electronics-manufacturing sector in
the 1990s, it diversified by making a big,
and ultimately successful, bet on the
biomedical industry.
Now in the face of technological disruption and intensifying competition from
its regional neighbours, Singapore finds
itself once again having to blaze a new
trail to ensure its continued prosperity.
In Februar y, a high-powered group
made up of captains of industry and government ministers presented a proposed
blue print for managing Singapore’s
economy over the long term. The recommendations of the aptly named Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) aims
to help Singapore develop a vibrant and
resilient economy that can grow in a sustainable manner.
A mong other presc riptions, these
included deepening international connections, acquiring deep skills, strengthening enterprise capabilities and building
strong digital capabilities.
10
Singapore
“To navigate succes s fully into the
future, Singapore must continue to build
on the strong foundation of its people,
institutions, as well as good rule of law,
trust and assurance of high level of service and quality. At the same time, businesses must be nimble and innovative
and be pioneers in their own right,” said
Teo Siong Seng, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation and a member
of the CFE, when the committee’s report
was released.
While the broad strategy has been
laid out, its execution might prove difficult as companies attempt to transform
themselves as they deal with challenges
at home and abroad. The support given
to businesses by Singapore’s government
agencies and industry bodies will be key
to the transformation effort.
For instance, an initiative where trade
associations and chambers help local
companies enhance their capabilities
has seen good progress in the past year.
Managed by government agencies, the
Local Enterprise and Association Development Programme saw 23 associations
support more than 8,300 small and midsize businesses in their efforts to build
stronger capabilities and create new
growth opportunities since May 2016.
Fostering entrepreneurship among
Singaporeans is another key plank of the
strategy. Singapore recently over took
Silicon Valley as world’s No. 1 for start-up
talent, according to a report by Startup
Genome, a U.S.- based organization,
released earlier this year.
The end goal is to produce a handful
of global champions who can hold their
own against the Googles and Facebooks
of the world. Promising contenders have
emerged, and efforts to support local
firms that have the potential to thrive on
the global stage are ongoing.
Given the uncertain global outlook, the
next few years are likely to bring rapid
and unpredictable change to Singapore.
But with its well-known emphasis on longterm planning, the city-state already has
a plan to deal with the challenges ahead.
WEB DIRECTORY
INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP
www.ihgplc.com
SINGAPORE ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT BOARD
www.edb.gov.sg
THE ASCOTT LIMITED
www.the-ascott.com
FORBES ASIA
LISTS
Booking It
BY HAYLEY CUCCINELLO, NATALIE ROBEHMED
AND MICHELA TINDERA
COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL/ALAMY; SPLASH NEWS/NEWSCOM;JOHN SCIULLI/GETTY IMAGES; ROBIN MARCHANT/GETTY
IMAGES; SETH WENIG/AP; LOU ROCCO/ABC VIA GETTY IMAGES; TAYLOR HILL/GETTY IMAGES; MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES;
BEN A. PRUCHNIE/GETTY IMAGES; JASON MERRITT/GETTY IMAGES; STEFANIE KEENAN/GETTY IMAGES; NEWSCOM
DO YOU BELIEVE in magic? For the first time
in nearly a decade, J.K. Rowling (see “Magically
Everlasting” at right) tops Forbes’ ranking of the
highest-earning wordsmiths, displacing the freakishly prolific James Patterson.
Fans of the printed (or digital) word will be
cheered to know that although five writers on our
list had novels made into movies this past year, they
nonetheless earned the bulk of their bucks from
their books. Together these 11 writers sold nearly 30
million volumes in the United States over the past 12
months, logging $312.5 million in pretax income.
We close the covers—for now, at least—on
a couple of scribes who fell off the list this year:
Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin and The
Fault in Our Stars’ John Green. Both will likely
return; Martin has four Thrones prequels in the
works, and Green is publishing Turtles All the Way
Down, his first novel in five years, this October.
THE
WORLD’S
HIGHESTPAID
AUTHORS
6
1
MAGICALLY EVERLASTING
THE SPELL CAST by Harry Potter on readers, now 20 years in its grip, seems unlikely to lift anytime
soon. The seven-book series has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide; the movie franchise
it spawned has grossed $7.7 billion. J.K. Rowling is now worth some $650 million, Forbes estimates,
her fortune boosted by payouts from theme parks in Florida, California and Japan.
That figure would be higher had she not donated an estimated $150 million to charity over the
years. Yet still it climbs: Thanks to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—a new London theatrical
production and published script—plus Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a 2016 movieand-script-book combo, Rowling banked $95 million in the 12 months to June 2017. Two decades
on, she’s releasing new work and cashing in on the old—lucrative dark arts indeed.
2
3
4
5
J.K. ROWLING
JAMES PATTERSON
JEFF KINNEY
DAN BROWN
STEPHEN KING
$95 MIL
$87 MIL
$21 MIL
$20 MIL
$15 MIL
6
8
9
10
10
JOHN GRISHAM
NORA ROBERTS
PAULA HAWKINS
E.L. JAMES
DANIELLE STEEL
RICK RIORDAN
$14 MIL
$14 MIL
$13 MIL
$11.5 MIL
$11 MIL
$11 MIL
CODE GREEN
RIGHT ON TRACK
THE DA VINCI CODE scribe’s latest movie
adaptation was a flop, but in the past year,
Dan Brown still doubled his earnings from the
same period 12 months earlier, thanks to an
estimated eight-figure advance for his upcoming novel Origin. Prior to Origin, Brown’s most
recent Robert Langdon novel, Inferno (source
of that cinematic misfire), was 2013’s adult-fiction bestseller, with 1.7 million hardcover sales
alone, according to Penguin Random House.
BRITISH NOVELIST Paula Hawkins, author of
the psychological thriller The Girl on the Train,
debuted on Forbes’ writers list last year and just
keeps a-rollin’: She sold 2.2 million print books in
the U.S. over the past 12 months, the most of any
female author save the inexorable J.K. Rowling.
The film version of Train grossed $173 million in
2016; Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners has acquired the rights to her second novel, this year’s
chart-topping mind-bender Into the Water.
ALL EARNINGS ARE FOR JUNE 1, 2016 THROUGH MAY 31, 2017, BEFORE TAXES AND OTHER FEES. ALL BOOK-SALES DATA ARE SOURCED FROM NPD
BOOKSCAN, WHICH TRACKS 85% OF THE DOMESTIC PRINT MARKET. ESTIMATES ARE COMPILED BY EXAMINING PRINT, E-BOOK AND AUDIOBOOK SALES,
CONSIDERING TV AND MOVIE EARNINGS, AND TALKING TO AUTHORS, AGENTS, PUBLISHERS, LAWYERS AND OTHER EXPERTS.
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 49
As Velodyne eyes an IPO
that could value it in the
billions, David Hall, its
founder and CEO, still feels
most at home tinkering in
his electronics lab.
Eyes on the Road
How Velodyne’s vision sensors are ushering in the self-driving-car revolution.
BY ALAN OHNSMAN
50 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
Technology
S
TIMOTHY ARCHIBALD FOR FORBES
econds after David Hall punches in a code, the electronic gate to his waterfront residence swings open. It’s a large
compound but not the kind you’d expect from a tech entrepreneur who is as responsible as anyone for ushering
in the self-driving-car revolution. Hall, 66, is CEO of Velodyne, the leading maker of LiDAR sensors, the “eyes” that allow
autonomous vehicles to see what’s around them. He lives among a
ramshackle collection of low-slung, shingled and metal structures
built around a concrete plot on the Bay Area island town of Alameda, California. It’s his favorite refuge, equal parts living quarters and
workshop, where this inveterate tinkerer and serial inventor can
work on his pet projects.
At one end there’s a barn-size industrial shed where Hall and a
team of engineers are perfecting one of his latest obsessions: a patented technology that keeps boats steady in the roughest waters.
Marta, his wife and the head of business development at Velodyne,
paints and sculpts in an art studio nestled inside another building.
A couple of his Ford F-150 pickups are parked near a hulking crane
that hauls boats in and out of the water. Hall’s home itself is a houseboat, or rather a roomy prefab structure bolted onto a barge. From
the living room you can hear small waves lapping at the shores of
the sleepy canal that separates Alameda from Oakland. It’s a world
away from the bustle and glitz of Silicon Valley, where Velodyne has
its headquarters, and that’s the point. “I’m an engineer,” the reclusive
Hall says, referring to both profession and persona. “I’m basically an
introvert, a nerd ahead of my time.”
About a decade ahead of his time. In 2006, Hall patented one of
his inventions—a multi-beam spinning LiDAR sensor—that put Velodyne, albeit almost accidentally, at the center of a revolution that’s
disrupting the auto and tech industries. Hall built the LiDAR sensor on a whim. Velodyne, which he had founded in 1983, was a successful business known for specialized audio equipment. But always
itching to keep inventing, in the early aughts Hall became obsessed
with a seemingly fantastical contest: a Defense Department-sponsored race for autonomous vehicles. It promised to be both fun and
an excellent proving ground for his engineering chops. Over a couple of years, Hall refined a roof-mounted LiDAR (for “light distance
and ranging”) unit consisting of 64 lasers spun by a small electric
motor; the device became a favorite of the race’s winning teams. “It
was revolutionary,” says William “Red” Whittaker, a roboticist at
Carnegie Mellon University and a father of the autonomous-vehicle
movement.
The races, known as the DARPA Challenges, became the Big
Bang event for self-driving cars, and Hall’s LiDAR forever changed
Velodyne from a modest family-run business into a hot commodity: a 34-year-old startup whose technology is remaking transportation and robotics. Today Velodyne is the top supplier of advanced
automotive LiDAR and sells its sensors to virtually every auto and
tech company that’s building or testing autonomous vehicles. GM,
Ford, Uber and China’s Baidu are big buyers, and even Caterpillar
uses Velodyne’s tech for gargantuan robotic mining trucks. Google
has been a major customer for years, though it’s also making its own
sensors. No company other than Velodyne produces comparable
units in sufficient quantities to meet the growing demand.
Being the pick-and-shovel seller in the gold rush to a self-driv-
VELODYNE
ing future is proving to be lucrative. Velodyne, which remains private, says revenue is expected to be about $200 million this year and
the company is profitable. It has set its sights on the billion-dollar
sales mark, says Mike Jellen, Velodyne’s president, though he won’t
say when it will reach that milestone. The company is ramping up
production quickly, following a $150 million investment from Baidu
and Ford last year. It was the first outside money into the company
since Hall raised $200,000, mostly from his parents and his grandfather, to start the business. Velodyne won’t disclose its valuation, but
an estimate by Forbes, based on expected revenue, suggests a market
value of about $2 billion. Hall is said to own more than 50%, giving
him an estimated net worth of more than $1 billion. Jellen says an
IPO is likely in “the 2018–19 time period.”
But Hall is already thinking bigger. He wants to increase LiDAR
production capacity from thousands of sensors a year to at least a
million by next year. To do that, he’s busy transforming Velodyne’s
new San Jose factory into a giant robot itself: a fully automated
megafactory that speeds up production while reducing the cost of
his complex devices to a level competitors can’t match. Think of it as
a scaled-down version of Elon Musk’s “machine that makes the machine,” as the Tesla founder has described his famed Gigafactory and
next-generation plants. While an automated facility won’t be making Teslas until at least 2019 or 2020, Hall wants his to be fully robotic by next year. If he pulls it off, Velodyne will be at the forefront
of two seismic shifts in tech: cars that drive themselves and factories that need human technicians and programmers but no assembly workers. “Here’s the goal,” Hall says. “Can you run your factory with the lights off? If you can do that, then you can actually make
this stuff in the United States.”
HALL MAY BE a tech mogul in the making, but he remains the
quintessential engineer, someone who is most at home tinkering in
a lab and typically dressed in a faded blue Oxford shirt, chinos and
running shoes. He’s often terse when the subject turns to himself,
but his eyes light up when he discusses things like his 1970s Boston
machine shop, which made specialty parts for clients such as Raytheon and Harvard Medical School.
Hall grew up in Connecticut, the son of an engineer who built
nuclear power plants and the grandson of a physicist who in the
1930s invented a scanning process to make color photographs. It
was his grandfather who had helped Hall, as a teenager, set up his
own workshop, where, among other things, he made a motorized
bicycle and a “really loud” guitar amplifier.
He studied mechanical engineering at Cleveland’s Case Western
Reserve University during the tumultuous early 1970s. After college
he moved to Boston to open a shop to build parts for tech, medical and industrial companies. The projects required creativity, but
the anonymity of the work was frustrating. He decided he needed to
move into consumer products. “If I walk down the street sometime
in the future and yell out my brand name, every now and then I’ll
find somebody that has heard of me,” he recalls thinking.
In the early 1980s, Hall moved to the Bay Area with a plan to
get into the audio business, which was booming. “You could go to
a stereo store, and they were always looking for something new,” he
says. With backing from his family, he started making premium
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 51
Technology
VELODYNE
subwoofers with a design (which he patented) that
reduced distortion. He named the company Velodyne, in a nod to his passion for cycling. His speakers,
which cost between $2,000 and $5,000 a pop, caught
on. “I was able to make it louder and deeper than anybody had ever done before without it sounding like
the speakers were going to fall apart,” he says.
His brother Bruce joined to handle sales. Business
grew, and customers included Bay Area sports stars
and the late Robin Williams. But competition in the
audio business, particularly on price, became increasingly cutthroat, and by the late 1990s Hall was again
looking for something new.
As a diversion, he started making fighting robots
for the cable show Robot Wars. But it was the annual
series of DARPA Challenges—races for autonomous
Velodyne is working to fully automate its San Jose megafactory.
vehicles that were first held in the California desert
and later moved to urban environments—that offered a more seriLiDAR sensor, says it has range and image quality that top anything
ous test for his ingenuity. Starting in 2002, Hall experimented with a on the market. Velodyne is rolling out a new solid-state “Velarray”
number of technologies, including cameras and lasers, and entered
LiDAR, with no spinning parts, to go toe-to-toe with competitors
a vehicle in the 2004 and 2005 races. After recognizing the limitaat the lower end and is readying longer-range units to fend off those
tions of cameras, Hall and others turned their attention to LiDAR,
at the higher end. For now, Velodyne remains the undisputed leada technology used for mapping and surveying that took individual
er, in part because none of the other companies are manufacturing
pictures and stitched them together into detailed maps.
at scale. “If you’re working on self-driving, you’re trying to get your
It was his adaptation of LiDAR into a roof-mounted unit with
hands on Velodyne, because that’s the most likely unit you can get in
64 spinning lasers that proved to be a breakthrough and finally gave
any quantities,” says Mark Wheeler, a veteran of Google and Apple
cars vision. “It was enabling for the kind of general driving we were
who’s chief technology officer for DeepMap, a Palo Alto developgoing for,” says Whittaker, the CMU roboticist. Using Hall’s LiDAR,
er of mapping services for driverless cars. Hall dismisses his compeWhittaker’s Tartan Racing team won the $2 million prize in 2007.
tition with a “been there, done that” wave of the hand. “Does anyStanford, whose team was led by Sebastian Thrun, who later started
one know how to mass-produce LiDAR other than me?” he asks. “It
Google’s self-driving-car project, came in second. It, too, used Veloturns out I’m the critical link in this whole thing.”
dyne’s LiDAR. Most of the other industry pioneers, who are now
Not everyone in the autonomous-vehicle universe is a fan of
leading autonomous-vehicle programs at Google, Uber, Ford, ToyLiDAR. The most notable holdout is none other than Musk, who
ota and a host of tech startups, are also DARPA Challenge veterans.
committed Tesla to using a combination of cameras, radar and
Many became Hall’s customers. “Some good ideas really make it and sonar that he says provides sufficient sensing capabilities. But even
change the world,” Whittaker says.
without Tesla, the market for Velodyne’s gear remains huge. Today
Velodyne’s headquarters are in San Jose, but Hall’s efforts to keep
there are a few thousand prototype driverless cars being tested.
the company at the forefront of his industry are centered some 38
While no one knows exactly when self-driving vehicles will be sold
miles to the north, in an Alameda R&D lab that’s close to his marina to consumers, forecaster IHS Markit expects sales will grow rapidcompound. In a space that looks like an unusually well-funded high ly to 600,000 units in 2025 and at least 43% annually for a decade
school maker lab, Ph.D.s in computer science, electrical engineerafter that. That would imply a cumulative 76 million vehicles driving
ing, physics and optics are pushing the capabilities of Hall’s LiDAR.
themselves through cities and highways by 2035. Velodyne’s foreVelodyne’s devices give cars a 360-degree view that is rendered as casts are for hockey-stick growth of at least 300% annually for the
a 3-D “cloud” of points on a map. Whether it’s day or night, a vehinext few years, says Jellen, the company president.
cle can “see” everything in a 200-meter (or 650-foot) radius, allowThat goes a long way toward explaining why Hall, whose coming cars that travel at highway speed to detect distant hazards and
pany already employs 530 people, is so focused on his megafactoavoid collisions. Last year, Hall sold thousands of units. This year,
ry. The facility opened early this year in San Jose. About 200 workers
he plans on selling tens of thousands, with list prices ranging from
are busy assembling microelectronics and optical components for
about $8,000 for a 16-laser model (which looks like a hockey puck)
the newest LiDAR units. But over the next 18 months, the work will
to as much as $85,000 for a 64-laser unit. “There really was no other
be taken over by robots that are popping up within the facility. Hall
game in the market, and no one as advanced,” says Jim McBride,
and his engineers are figuring out the final form of the robotic manFord’s technical leader for autonomous vehicles.
ufacturing process. He’s not ready to share details, but he says the faRivals have emerged. Quanergy raised $90 million from, among
cility will soon be ready to churn out a million units a year. “It has to
others, auto-parts supplier Delphi in 2016 to make low-cost solidbe automated to make these volumes,” Hall says. He adds: “This is
state LiDAR units, and Luminar, which got $36 million to fund a
far more interesting to me than all the LiDAR marketing stuff.” F
52 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
PROMOTION 1
Participants posed for a group photo taken by a drone from Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2017 honoree, Matthew Cua, Founder of SkyEye Analytics.
FORBES UNDER 30 SUMMIT ASIA:
The second annual Forbes Under 30 Summit Asia was held in Manila, Philippines on July 25, 2017 at the
Solaire Resort and Casino. Themed “Diversity & Empowerment,” the summit brought together some
240 of the most influential young entrepreneurs, innovators and game-changers from across Asia and
the rest of the world, as featured in the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia lists, along with industry leaders and
other distinguished guests. The summit consisted of panel discussions, live demonstrations, a Food and
Music Festival and provided networking opportunities for participants.
PROMOTION 2
LEADING INNOVATION ACROSS ASIA
PART 1: ASIA’S BIGGEST
TECH DISRUPTORS TODAY
Asia’s biggest tech disruptors demonstrated their
solutions in presentations moderated by Paul Armstrong,
Digital Director for Asia-Pacific at Forbes Media.
Hrishikesh Datar, Founder,
Vakilsearch Legal Solutions
Daisy Guo, Cofounder, Tezign
Soowon Sophie Eom, Cofounder, Solidware
PART 2: TEACHING OLD
TECH NEW TRICKS
Aisa Mijeno, Cofounder & CEO of SALt
presented the SALt lamp, a sustainable,
ecologically designed lantern
activated by saltwater.
(L-R) Jamie Beaton & Sharndre Kushor,
Cofounders, Crimson Education; Paul Armstrong
Prusothman Sina Raja,
Cofounder, Privi Medical
PART 3: ASIA: THE WORLD’S LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
Young entrepreneurs from around the world discussed
opportunities in Asia in a panel discussion.
(L-R) Fabian von Heimburg, Cofounder, HotNest Technology; Abbas Kazmi, Managing Partner & Cofounder,
Collegiate Capital; Shahab Shabibi, Cofounder, Machine Ventures; Lewis D’Vorkin, Chief Product Officer, Forbes Media
Yogita Agrawal, Cofounder of
SoaPen introduced the SoaPen, a
playful teaching tool, which allows
kids to draw on their dry hands.
PART 4: THE FUTURE OF TECH: GENERATION Z
Two of this year’s youngest list honorees, Sanjay Kumaran & Shravan Kumaran, Cofounders of
GoDimensions, took to the stage to show what the newest generation of technologists are capable of.
(L-R) Shravan Kumaran; Sanjay Kumaran
PROMOTION 3
ONE-ON-ONE
YOU’VE
BEEN
HACKED!
WITH CHATRI SITYODTONG, CHAIRMAN
& CEO, ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
Chatri Sityodtong shared his inspirational journey
and experiences in an interview with Randall Lane,
Editor of Forbes magazine.
Saket Modi, Cofounder
& CEO of Lucideus did
a ‘live’ demonstration
on how he hacked into
an audience member’s
phone from the stage.
CHANGING ASIA
PART 1: SO LONG, GLASS CEILING
This year’s top female entrepreneurs shared about the shifting perception of women in
the workplace and how they’ve handled the transition.
(L-R) Chatri Sityodtong; Randall Lane
PART 2: THE FUTURE OF
TECH: GENERATION Z
(L-R) Carla Thomas, Senior Producer, Forbes Media; Neelofa, Founder, NH Prima International; Lee Jisoo,
Cofounder, Dano; Katrina Razon, Managing Partner, Third Culture Music + Media & Director, Wonderfruit Festival
Chris Kelsey, Cofounder of Cazza
introduced his startup that develops
3D printing technologies to
construct buildings.
PART 3: ART AS A MEDIUM FOR CHANGE
Some of Asia’s most talented creatives discussed how they use their art form
as a platform for positive social change in a panel discussion.
(L-R) Shahnawaz Zali, Director/Producer; Ann Louie Li, Founder, annlouieli.com & Chrysogem;
Archie Oclos, Street Artist & Painter; Lewis D’Vorkin, Chief Product Officer, Forbes Media
PART 4: SOLVING ASIA’S BIGGEST PROBLEMS
30 Under 30 Asia honorees presented their solutions that are changing Asia and the world – one problem at
a time, moderated by Rana Wehbe, Senior Digital Editor, Asia-Pacific, Forbes Media.
Ankit Kawatra, Founder,
Feeding India
(L-R) Rebecca Paranjothy & Vanessa Paranjothy,
Cofounders, Freedom Cups
(L-R) Nirary Dacho, Cofounder,
Refugee Talent; Rana Wehbe
Daroath Phav, Executive
Director, WaterSHED
PROMOTION 4
DISCOVERY AREA
FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL
Some of the most exciting inventions and products that landed
their creators on this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list were displayed
at the summit. The products included smart guitars, cutting
edge VR sets, robots, drones, 360 degrees cameras and more.
The summit’s Food and Music Festival in the evening
featured cooking demonstrations from Chef Seira
Furuya, Chef de Partie at GAKUSHIKAIKAN, and
Chef Michael (Miko) Aspiras, Pastry Chef & Partner
at Tasteless Food Group. Michael Tubiera, Bar Manager
at La Lola Group, also presented a Forbes Under 30
cocktail, created especially for the summit. Katrina Razon
(DJ Katsu) and Mikhail Schemm (DJ Mikhail), Third Culture
Music + Media, spun the decks for the participants, while
all-star Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia alumnus and Filipino singersongwriter Jake Zyrus (formerly known as Charice Pempengco)
took to the stage for a truly memorable end to the night.
Jonathan Shen (middle), Cofounder of The Golden Duck presented
handcrafted gourmet salted egg yolk snack products.
Chef Seira
Zhang Bohan (middle), Founder of Poputar demonstrated
a smart guitar that has 120 LEDs on the guitar finger
board to help locate chord positions.
Jake Zyrus
Chef Miko
Uppma Virdi (right), Founder of Chai Walli presented some of the
finest Indian chai range with Ayurvedic qualities at the Pop Up Tea Bar.
DJ Katsu
Michael Tubiera
A participant trying on Vue, smart glasses created by 30 Under 30
Asia honoree Jason Gui (right), Cofounder of Vigo Technologies.
DJ Mikhail
PROMOTION 5
(L-R) Enzo Razon, International Container Terminal Services
Inc; William Adamopoulos, CEO/Asia, Forbes Media; Katrina
Razon, Managing Partner, Third Culture Music + Media &
Director, Wonderfruit Festival
Summit participants posed for a fun shot at the photo booth.
(L-R) Hu Tao, Founder, XunQiu; Lewis D’Vorkin, Chief Product Officer,
Forbes Media; Jules Jurado, Senior Associate - Entrepreneur Selection
and Growth, Endeavour Philippines
(L-R) Mara Coson, Manager – Procurement, SM Retail;
Carl Jan Cruz, CEO, Carl Jan Cruz; Daisy Guo,
Cofounder, Tezign
(L-R) Shruti Malik, Cofounder, innov8; Ritesh Malik,
Founder, Project Guerilla; Saket Modi, Cofounder &
CEO, Lucideus
(L-R) Tatsuya Honda, User Interface Designer, Fujitsu;
Ahmad Shiina, Cofounder, Timers; Toshiki Abe,
Founder, Ridilover
(L-R) Lindsay Rogers, Cofounder, Chello; Hugh Stephens,
Founder, Schedugram; Guilherme Faria, Cofounder, UnCloset
(L-R) Vivy Yusof, Cofounder, FashionValet;
Abby Zhang, Cofounder, YEECHOO; Neelofa,
Founder, NH Prima International
(L-R) He Wei, Founder, Shenzhen Vxfly
Intelligent Information Technology;
Tom Williams, Founder, WeTeach
(L-R) Jan Wong, Founder, OpenMinds
Resources; Sonam Pelden, Regional
Head of Marketing, ServisHero
(L-R) Rohit Pothukuchi, Founder, Standard Indian Legal
Citation; Randall Lane, Editor, Forbes magazine; Teguh
Ariwibowo, Cofounder, Pinjam Indonesia; Tyovan Widagdo,
Founder, Bahaso; Marshall Pribadi, Founding CEO, PrivyID
PROMOTION 6
(L-R) Akshay Navaladi, Founder, Healthskool Clinics; Jeffrey Yam,
Director, Integrated Capital Holdings; Shikha Ahluwalia,
Cofounder, StalkBuyLove; Nishrit Shrivastva, Cofounder,
StalkBuyLove
(L-R) Vinesh Johny, Cofounder & Executive Pastry Chef, The Lavonne Academy; Rana Wehbe,
Senior Digital Editor, Asia-Pacific, Forbes Media; Isabella Sway Tin, Co-owner, Rangoon Tea House;
Htet Myet Oo, Cofounder & MD, Rangoon Tea House
(L-R) Karan Tanna, Founder & CEO, Yellow Tie Hospitality; Lucas Patchett,
Cofounder, Orange Sky Laundry; Munaf Kapadia, Chief Eating Officer,
The Bohri Kitchen; Nicholas Marchesi, Cofounder, Orange Sky Laundry
(L-R) Vasil Rusinov, COO, mClinica; Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman & CEO, ONE Championship;
Jon Lin Shiyang, CFO, mClinica
(L-R) Liu Yueting, Cofounder, Airwallex; Zhang Yijia, Cofounder, Xtecher; Esther Jiang,
COO, UniCareer; Yu Jia, CEO, UniCareer; Dai Ying, Founder, Beijing Beauty of Fashion
(L-R) Yuki Shimahara, Founder, LPixel; Nicolas Travis, Founder, Allies of Skin;
Patrick Kahn, Operations Director, CAPTIVATE Solutions; Naofumi Yamada,
Founder, PKSHA Technology
A SPECIAL THANKS TO THE SPONSORS AND PARTICIPANTS OF THE
FORBES UNDER 30 SUMMIT ASIA
HOST SPONSOR
CORPORATE SPONSOR
FORBES ASIA
EDUCATION
PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANCO VOGT FOR FORBES
The Many
Faces of
Harvey
Mudd
Diversity strengthens—and
nowhere has that lesson
been better applied than
on a tiny, geeky campus in
southern California.
BY CAROLINE HOWARD
MARIA KLAWE ARRIVED on campus in 2006 with a dramatic plan. As
Harvey Mudd College’s new president, she’d lead a transformation of the
highly regarded computer-science- and engineering-focused school into a
truer rival of Stanford and MIT by luring away every woman and minority
from those big institutions she could.
Harvey Mudd College
president Maria Klawe
(center) among her
students on campus.
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 59
FORBES ASIA
EDUCATION
from 29% a decade
To recruit them, Klawe
ago. One particularly
pitched Mudd’s intimate
meaningful milestone
800-person campus
came in 2014 when
at the base of southMudd gave out more
ern California’s San
engineering degrees to
Gabriel Mountains, its
women than it did to
small class sizes and its
men for the first time
greater diversity. All of it
in its 62-year history.
seems to have paid off.
“It’s been my life
PayScale, a Seattle comgoal for the past 20
pany that collects and
years to change the
sells compensation data,
portrait of mining
face of science and enshows that Mudd grads Aentrepreneur
Harvey Mudd.
gineering to be more
have higher early- and
representative of women and people
mid-career salaries than peers from
of color,” says Klawe, 66, a mathemaStanford, UPenn and Harvard.
tician, painter and ex-dean of PrincWhile Klawe’s women-andeton’s engineering school. “Mudd is
minorities plan received a generally
my test kitchen.”
positive reception at Mudd, detracWhile her experiment has signifitors worried it would lower admiscantly changed Mudd, its curricusion standards and tarnish Mudd’s
reputation. It did the opposite. At No. lum remains true to the vision of its
namesake founder, mining entrepre18, Mudd has never ranked higher
neur Harvey Mudd, who wanted to
on Forbes’ annual list of the nation’s
create a technical school with a firm
best colleges, and it has risen steadily
from its No. 52 spot on the first rank- grounding in the liberal arts. Every
current Mudd student graduates
ing in 2008; at least 25% of Mudd’s
with a bachelor of science degree but
incoming freshmen received a pernot before taking requisite classes
fect 800 SAT math score.
like Fluidity, a course co-taught by
Sixty-two percent of Mudd stua math and an art professor on the
dents are nonwhite, a dramatic shift
science of liquids and their depiction
from five years ago, when that figure
was 46%. Women account for nearly in art. “Imagine that being taught at
another school,” Klawe says. F
half of today’s students, an increase
AMERICA’S TOP COLLEGES
BEST VALUE
SCHOOLS
These colleges were scored
on tuition costs, school
quality, postgrad earnings
and student debt.
1
RANK
LOCATION
FULLTIME
UNDERGRAD
POPULATION
ANNUAL COST
1
2
3
4
HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
Cambridge
MA
STANFORD
UNIVERSITY
Stanford
CA
YALE
UNIVERSITY
New Haven
CT
PRINCETON
UNIVERSITY
Princeton
NJ
7,183
$64,400
6%
7,000
$64,477
5%
5,509
$66,445
7%
5,277
$61,160
7%
ACCEPTANCE
RATE
60 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
5
2
UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA,
LOS ANGELES
Berkeley, CA
TUITION
$12,972
LA, CA
TUITION
$12,705
3
4
PRINCETON
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
Princeton, NJ
$41,820
Gainesville, FL
$6,313
5
MIT
Cambridge, MA
$45,016
Cambridge, MA
$43,938
7
8
STANFORD
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA,
IRVINE
Irvine, CA
$13,179
Stanford, CA
$45,195
9
10
UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA,
DAVIS
6
CALTECH
Pasadena
CA
4,492
$63,250
8%
1,001
$63,471
9%
7
BRIGHAM YOUNG
UNIVERSITY
Provo, UT
$5,000
8
1
2
SUNY MARITIME
COLLEGE
U.S. NAVAL
ACADEMY
Scroggs Neck, NY
MID-CAREER
SALARY
$144,000
Annapolis, MD
MID-CAREER
SALARY
$134,000
3
4
U.S. MERCHANT
MARINE
ACADEMY
U.S. MILITARY
ACADEMY
WEST POINT
Kings Point, NY
$134,000
West Point, NY
$131,000
5
6
HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
Davis, CA
$13,896
MIT
Cambridge
MA
No one gets lost in the crowd at
these schools, which produce
grads with big mid-career salaries.
UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA,
BERKELEY
We looked for schools with low student debt, high postgrad salaries, high
graduation rates, proven career success and strong student satisfaction. For the full
list and methodology, visit forbes.com/top-colleges.
COLLEGE
PUBLIC SCHOOLS
WITH BIG
SALARIES1
9
6
U.S. AIR FORCE
ACADEMY
Colorado Springs,
CO
$122,000
COLORADO
SCHOOL OF
MINES
Golden, CO
$114,000
7
8
UNIVERSITY OF
CALIFORNIA,
BERKELEY
GEORGIA
INSTITUTE OF
TECHNOLOGY
Berkeley, CA
$112,000
Atlanta, GA
$112,000
9
10
$111,000
San Diego, CA
$108,000
U.S. COAST
UNIVERSITY OF
GUARD ACADEMY CALIFORNIA, SAN
DIEGO
New London, CT
10
UNIVERSITY
OF PENN.
Philadelphia
PA
DUKE
UNIVERSITY
Durham
NC
BROWN
UNIVERSITY
Providence
RI
POMONA
COLLEGE
Claremont
CA
10,406
$66,800
10%
6,611
$66,739
11%
6,318
$65,380
9%
1,651
$64,870
10%
11
CLAREMONT
MCKENNA
COLLEGE
Claremont
CA
1,327
$66,325
11%
12
DARTMOUTH
COLLEGE
Hanover
NH
4,267
$67,044
11%
1Median salary of alumni with ten-plus years experience. 2Average federal debt of college grads in 2013-14 and 2014-15, not including private
gin, return on assets, tuition dependency, admissions yield, percentage of freshmen receiving grants, and instructional expenses per FTE.
who donate). Sources: National Center for Education Statistics; PayScale; College Scorecard; Council for Aid to Education.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS
WITH LOW DEBT2
FINANCIAL FITNESS TEST:
THE 10 HEALTHIEST AND SICKEST PRIVATE COLLEGES3
Grads of these private schools
won’t be paying off loans when
their own children attend school.
To get to the top of this class,
you need balance-sheet
strength, operational surpluses
and a fat endowment.
2
COLLEGE OF THE
OZARKS
BEREA
COLLEGE
Point Lookout, MO
AVERAGE
STUDENT DEBT
$0
Berea, KY
AVERAGE
STUDENT DEBT
$5,428
3
GPA
GRADE
COLLEGE
GPA
GRADE
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
4.50
A+
ALDERSON BROADDUS COLLEGE
0.60
D
WILLIAMS COLLEGE
4.50
A+
BECKER COLLEGE
0.86
D
MIT
4.50
A+
MARY BALDWIN UNIVERSITY
0.87
D
BOWDOIN COLLEGE
4.50
A+
WHEELING JESUIT UNIVERSITY
0.88
D
YALE UNIVERSITY
4.50
A+
URBANA UNIVERSITY
0.88
D
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
4.50
A+
OHIO DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY
0.89
D
HARVARD UNIVERSITY
4.50
A+
BENEDICT COLLEGE
0.89
D
STANFORD UNIVERSITY
4.50
A+
LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY
0.89
D
WELLESLEY COLLEGE
4.50
A+
UTICA COLLEGE
0.91
D
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
4.50
A+
NEWBURY COLLEGE-BROOKLINE
0.93
D
4
PRINCETON
UNIVERSITY
Princeton, NJ
$6,245
BRIGHAM YOUNG
UNIVERSITY,
IDAHO
Rexburg, ID
$6,500
5
6
DUKE
UNIVERSITY
HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
Durham, NC
$7,000
Cambridge, MA
$7,536
7
8
WELLESLEY
COLLEGE
Wellesley, MA
$8,200
THE MOST
GRATEFUL GRADS4
How to measure college ROI: Find the
schools with the alumni who give back
in droves.
Provo, UT
$8,616
10
RICE
UNIVERSITY
POMONA
COLLEGE
Houston, TX
$8,750
Claremont, CA
$9,138
14
15
16
17
WILLIAMS
COLLEGE
Williamstown
MA
COLUMBIA
UNIVERSITY
New York
NY
CORNELL
UNIVERSITY
Ithaca
NY
UNIVERSITY
OF CHICAGO
Chicago
IL
AMHERST
COLLEGE
Amherst
MA
2,083
$66,240
18%
7,523
$69,084
7%
14,303
$65,494
15%
5,835
$70,100
8%
1,795
$66,572
14%
18
HARVEY
MUDD
COLLEGE
Claremont
CA
815
$69,355
13%
10-YEAR MEDIAN
3-YEAR
DONATIONS AVERAGE ALUMNI
PER STUDENT PARTICIPATION
COLLEGE
BRIGHAM YOUNG
UNIVERSITY,
PROVO
9
13
COLLEGE
19
2017
GRATEFUL
GRAD INDEX
1
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
$29,561
42.3%
100.00%
2
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
28,869
41.6
99.97
3
WILLIAMS COLLEGE
23,346
49.4
99.76
4
BOWDOIN COLLEGE
22,502
45.3
99.61
5
AMHERST COLLEGE
21,320
45.2
99.37
6
CLAREMONT MCKENNA COLLEGE
23,595
35.6
99.27
7
DAVIDSON COLLEGE
20,659
45.5
99.22
8
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
19,509
35.6
98.39
9
DUKE UNIVERSITY
32,107
28.5
98.36
10
WELLESLEY COLLEGE
17,451
50.4
98.25
11
HAVERFORD COLLEGE
17,593
40.1
98.17
12
WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY
18,184
37.4
98.16
13
STANFORD UNIVERSITY
30,826
26.8
97.97
14
YALE UNIVERSITY
31,936
24.2
97.22
15
MIT
47,755
23.6
97.01
20
21
22
23
24
25
SWARTHMORE
COLLEGE
Swarthmore
PA
U.S. NAVAL
ACADEMY
Annapolis
MD
GEORGETOWN
UNIVERSITY
Washington
D.C.
RICE
UNIVERSITY
Houston
TX
BOWDOIN
COLLEGE
Brunswick
ME
U.S. MILITARY
ACADEMY
West Point
NY
HAVERFORD
COLLEGE
Haverford
PA
1,571
$64,363
12%
4,525
9%
7,175
$66,971
17%
3,863
$58,253
16%
1,794
$63,440
15%
4,348
10%
1,233
$66,648
25%
loans or Parent PLUS. 3Measures nine metrics: primary reserve ratio, viability ratio, endowment per full-time equivalent (FTE), operating mar4Measures ten-year median private donations per FTE for private colleges and three-year average alumni participation (percentage of alumni
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 61
TOP COLLEGES EDITED BY CAROLINE HOWARD WITH CARTER COUDRIET. REPORTED BY PATRICK FEDERLE, ANIS MUSLIMIN, HUNTER SHARF, CAROLINE
SIMON AND DAN SPINELLI; GRATEFUL GRADS AND FINANCIAL HEALTH BY MATT SCHIFRIN.
1
Among the struggling schools
below, Utica College recently
slashed its tuition by 42%, and LIU,
which has campuses in Brooklyn
and on Long Island, has shaken up
its administration and faculty.
FORBES ASIA
EDUCATION
Critical Thinking
Brian Ong is helping to change how Chinese kids get into U.S.
colleges—and what they study once they get there.
T
en years ago, Brian Ong sold all his furniture and
boarded a flight to Shanghai. He hadn’t majored in
technology or engineering, so he didn’t have many
obvious job prospects. But he knew he wanted to
start a business and knew that Shanghai was brimming with opportunities. He researched ideas from finance to
real estate, then settled on advising Chinese high school students on getting into top U.S. colleges.
The industry seemed chaotic, rife with charges of plagiarized essays, cookie-cutter advice and unkept promises. He was
sure he could offer a high-quality and more honest service. Besides, the grinding, spirit-sapping and often irrational process of college admissions was something he was very familiar
with: He had earned his undergraduate degree at Yale and had
just finished graduate school at Stanford. He had also helped
two Chinese friends get into Harvard and Columbia in his free
time.
Today Ong, 33, owns and runs Bangdai, which boasts 48
employees in three offices—in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. He’s earned a reputation—and more than 15,000 Weibo
followers—as the go-to counselor for superrich Chinese families sending their kids to the U.S. to study at the best schools.
That allows him to charge fees ranging from $12,000 to $60,000
a student, or up to as much as the annual tuition at a typical
62 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
private American college. The company consults with 160 students a year. It’s no secret who’s paying those fees: “Some 25%
of the people on your rich list are sending their kids to America
to study,” he says, referring to the list of the 400 wealthiest people in China that appears on Forbes.com.
That also allows him to pay his consultants $1,500 to
$4,500 a month, enormous by Chinese standards considering that the mainland offices of the Big Four accounting firms
pay their first-year associates $1,200, according to surveys on
Glassdoor.com. (The average monthly income in the highestpaying city, Shanghai, is less than $1,050.)
Bangdai is considered the model for China’s now more than
100 boutique college-counseling firms, all charging hefty fees
while paying their staff very well. These firms are also spurring
an increasing number of Chinese students at leading U.S. colleges to study the humanities rather than the hard sciences, an
important trend that could make an impact on China in the
decades ahead.
These elite outfits are just a small part of a local industry
that generated $4.5 billion in revenue in 2013, the latest figure available. The bulk of the industry serves a mass market,
with some companies advising more than 2,000 students a
year and often charging fees based on the schools the student
is applying to—the higher the school is ranked, the higher the
JASPER JAMES FOR FORBES
BY REBECCA FENG
Brian Ong, founder of Bangdai,
steers kids toward the humanities
rather than the usual STEM courses.
FORBES ASIA
EDUCATION
fee, with the average around $12,000.
These companies have come in for sharp criticism. In a report last year, the Reuters news service accused three of the
biggest ones of not only ghostwriting personal statements and
fabricating recommendation letters but also providing U.S. college-admission officers with free trips to China and then advertising to potential customers that the tours meant they’re
“halfway to a successful application to a famous school.” In response, two of the companies issued statements denying the
charges; the third didn’t respond. Most of the schools involved
said they were unaware of such trips or published statements
promising that they would no longer participate in these tours.
The newer outfits are winning business by providing what
they say is an individual service to each customer. Many interview students before matching them with counselors, and if
the students think the counselors will do all the work for them,
they won’t pass the interview. Instead, counselors brainstorm
ideas for essays with the students and provide insights into U.S.
culture by sharing their own experiences studying abroad. Indeed, Bangdai—which translates as “super awesome”—and
similar companies hire mostly counselors who have graduated
These students say their humanities majors provide them
with a deeper understanding of American society along with
solid English, writing and critical-thinking skills. Ong, who was
raised in Malaysia, believes that if future mainland tycoons are
educated in the humanities, they will one day infuse made-inChina products with more creativity and culture than China is
known for today. But for now, these students return to China
after four years of Aristotle, Machiavelli and Shakespeare, and
they’re exactly what the new college counseling firms are looking
to hire. Once at work, they often promote the path they took, reinforcing the trend toward a classic liberal arts education.
When Max Wang, a former Stoooges counselor who’s now
its chief marketing officer, was applying to U.S. colleges six
years ago, his mother told him to go to the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign because of the school’s record in producing Nobel Prize-winning scientists. Instead he chose Macalester College, a private liberal arts school in Minnesota, and
majored in philosophy and international studies. He says the
freedom to study the humanities is a privilege for the new generation of Chinese overseas students, whose parents are willing
to invest 20 years of their savings without asking for a quick return upon their kids’ graduation (though
grandparents often help out). “Our
grandparents are engineers and our parents are doctors, so that we can be artists,” Wang says.
After graduation, the Beijing native
returned to China and developed a passion for helping Chinese students get into
their ideal U.S. college, only to encounter his mother’s objections. “At first, she believed that consultants lie and manipulate students,” says Wang, 24. “Many of my
friends would rather stay in America and hit the glass ceiling
than come back. If you come back, you become either a reformer (of an industry) or a failure.”
Working at Stoooges, which serves many students from second-tier cities such as Xi’an and Zhengzhou, has helped Wang
understand the concerns of Chinese parents. He says many are
focused only on a school’s rank on the many lists of best U.S.
colleges published each year. “Most parents from those cities don’t speak English, and thus the only way they understand
U.S. colleges is through the rankings,” says Wang. “It is not
their fault.” He also notes that parents are often “superstitious”
about American counselors, thinking they’ll be better than Chinese ones. “They feel safer when their kids are being guided by
Americans,” he says. “There’s such anxiety.”
Bangdai’s Ong says one reason the humanities aren’t popular
in China is that parents sense that achievements in such fields are
not “quantifiable.” “In China, there are many prizes set up for science but almost none for subjects in the humanities. Not being
able to measure achievement makes parents think humanities are
second-tier majors.” But in the echo of a popular saying among
Chinese parents that “majoring in humanities makes graduation
a synonym for unemployment,” young college counselors such as
Ong and Wang are earning their own futures. F
“MANY OF MY FRIENDS WOULD RATHER
STAY IN AMERICA AND HIT THE GLASS
CEILING THAN COME BACK.”
from U.S. colleges, while counselors at the mass-market firms
often lack overseas experience. “We are more like incubators of
outstanding men and women,” claims Gao Shanglin, a Qingdao
native who’s chief operating officer of Hangzhou-based Stoooges Education, a Bangdai rival.
C.S. Yang, who’s entering her senior year at the University of Notre Dame, signed on with Stoooges when she began her
U.S. college hunt four years ago. “My college counselor respected who I am,” she says. “He helped me reflect on the 18 years of
my life.”
The boutique services are helping to change not only how
students approach the application process but also what they
study when they get to college. Traditionally, Chinese students
going to the U.S. majored in a STEM subject—science, technology, engineering or math. The goal was a good-paying job, an
H1-B visa and ultimately a green card to stay in the U.S. Now,
though there are few hard statistics, many elite Chinese students
are pursuing degrees in the humanities—such as history, philosophy or English literature—even if it doesn’t immediately lead to
gainful employment. This year, some 61% of Chinese students
studying or planning to study abroad said they treat “opening
my mind and seeing the world” as their priority, and 56% said
they choose college majors based on their interests, according to
a survey of Chinese students by Beijing-based New Oriental and
New York-based market researcher Millward Brown.
64 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
FORBES ASIA
EDUCATION
School of Quant
As computers overtake investing, a small college in New Jersey is
remaking itself as the preeminent training ground for Wall Street’s
financial engineers. It can teach you a few lessons.
BY MATT SCHIFRIN
T
wenty-two-year-old Dakota Wixom is waving an
8-inch wand as he manipulates layers of screens
containing data visualizations, applications and
stock market charts, moving them around between
five large presentation screens in a darkened room.
The scene is reminiscent of one with Tom Cruise in Minority
Report, but with a Wall Street twist. There are about two dozen
undergraduates sitting attentively at workstations in this computer finance lab at the Stevens Institute of Technology, across
the Hudson River from midtown Manhattan in Hoboken, New
Jersey. It’s a Thursday in mid-July, and a leading financial newspaper has just run a cover story entitled “Man vs. Machine,”
which obsesses over the onslaught of index funds and algorithmic trading that is currently driving the market and bringing
turmoil to the $75 trillion asset-management business.
Wixom has just completed a bachelor’s degree in quantitative finance, which required him not only to become Bloomberg-certified as a freshman but also to take a minimum of 14
classes in computer science and advanced mathematics. He is
already a wizard at using the lab’s state-of-the-art interactive
system, which was designed by Oblong Industries and is used
by the likes of IBM’s Watson team and NASA.
“You can’t just buy growth stocks and expect to outperform anymore,” says Wixom, a native of Vancouver, Washington, who graduated near the top of his high school class and
intended to major in electrical engineering. “It becomes a data-science problem. There’s hundreds of hedge funds out there,
right? And there’s a few that actually generate alpha consistently—firms like D.E. Shaw and Renaissance Technologies. What
do those guys do? They hire quants. They hire data scientists.
They hire programmers.”
After summer internships in Schwab’s risk department
and as a quant in the investment banking division of Japan’s
Mizuho Bank, Wixom accepted an offer at Yewno, an artifi-
cial-intelligence startup in Redwood City, California. Already
working and based in New York City, he is building new financial products driven by machine learning. “If you want to measure a true exposure to a country, maybe you want to measure
political unrest, right? We can now build indexes by connecting concepts, by measuring the performance of a concept over
time. The idea is that you understand what’s driving the markets in the same way that a human analyst does. This is really
exciting to me.”
Wixom is one of 32 such quantitative finance graduates in
Stevens’ class of 2017. QF, as it is known on the 55-acre campus, is a hot new major—another is cybersecurity—that is helping make Stevens one of the most desirable STEM colleges in
the nation. With more than 90% of its students securing employment or a spot in graduate school, and placements at employers ranging from Google to Goldman Sachs to 2Sigma to
Verizon and Johnson & Johnson, the school has been attracting
record numbers of applications even as its median SAT scores
have risen by more than 50 points in the past five years. Its admissions rate has fallen to 39% in 2016 from 54% a decade ago.
It ranks 180th on Forbes’ annual list of America’s Top Colleges,
up 68 spots from last year.
It’s part of an impressive turnaround orchestrated by Stevens’ president, Nariman Farvardin, an Iranian-born, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute-trained electrical engineer who has
been running the college since 2011. Farvardin’s CV is more
than you might expect from someone in charge of a regional tech school. Besides his seven U.S. patents and 150 technical research papers, he has cofounded two companies: a fabless
semiconductor firm and a startup that sought to make buildings more energy-efficient. He did all this during his 27-year
tenure at the University of Maryland, including 7 years as dean
of its Clark School of Engineering, 4 years as provost of the entire university and a spell as acting president. He was recruited
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 65
FORBES ASIA
to Stevens after the college’s former president became embroiled
in a self-dealing scandal that leveled the school’s finances and
morale.
Farvardin has streamlined Stevens’ senior management,
plucking talent from not only industry but also nontraditional sources like New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology,
where Stevens found its new enrollment czar, Marybeth Murphy, who arrived in 2013 with a mission that included boosting female enrollment (it’s now at 30%). Overall undergraduate
enrollment is up 28% in the past five years, to 3,100. Operating
revenues are on the rise, and despite major construction under
way all over campus, its endowment has increased to $166 million from $144 million five years ago. Stevens’ debt was recently
upgraded by Standard & Poor’s to A–.
At most tuition-dependent schools, the key to success is filling classrooms with new students every year. For Stevens, the
critical factor in its recent popularity amid increasing STEM
competition may be Farvardin’s willingness to break free from
stodgy ivory-tower curriculums in favor of creating what are
essentially four-year boot camps designed to train industryspecific, technology-savvy specialists.
“We believe very strongly that the role of machines in the future will be far more significant, and perhaps even more significant than the role of human beings. And we want to be the university that is at the forefront of this,” say Farvardin as he peers
across the river to Lower Manhattan from his penthouse office
suite. “A student in quantitative finance at this university takes
more courses in mathematics than an engineering student has
to. These are very analytical people. They understand finance
like the back of their hand. But they are masters of mathematics. And they are very conversant with the basics of computer
science.”
The architect of Stevens’ QF curriculum is George Calhoun,
a Wharton Ph.D. with a 25-year background running publicly
traded technology companies, mostly in wireless. His last post
was a stint as the CEO of Illinois Superconductor, where he had
been handpicked by hedge fund managers Paul Singer of Elliott
Associates and Mark Brodsky, now of Aurelius Capital.
“Stevens benefited from not having a legacy business school.
[Academia] is not used to listening to the market and thinking in terms of product development and customers,” says Calhoun, who took the job in 2003 after seeing a small ad in The
Economist about a new business school being formed at Stevens. “The typical academic model is: ‘I’m a tenured professor.
I’ve been here for 20 years. This is the research I do. If you want
some of that, you can pay me.’ ”
Calhoun shaped Stevens’ quantitative finance program by
talking to the folks in the industry who hire graduates. “I personally probably met 25 companies, mostly in the finance industry. I spent two or three hours, a long lunch, with the treasurer of Johnson & Johnson. Plus Honeywell and GE Capital. I
asked, ‘What do you need?’ ”
Inevitably, Calhoun would grill the execs about critical skills,
and Stevens’ computer-programming and math-heavy course
load was the result. “The two that were always at the top, oddly
66 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
enough, were Excel and C++. Both
ends of the spectrum. And increasingly later on, it was Python,” says Calhoun, referring to a programming language now widely used in back-end
Web development, data analysis and
AI. “The QF program is not about
breeding any one particular narrow
type. It’s based on the premise that any
job in finance today is a high-tech job.
So it can be asset management, trading, risk, audit or insurance. Modeling,
startups, fintech—they’re all driven by
the same set of requirements.”
Calhoun still teaches QF101, the
introductory class for quantitative finance majors, in which beating the
S&P 500 on a virtual portfolio for the
semester will earn you an A on the
final. This fall’s class is already filled,
with 95 students registered.
As an undergraduate, Dakota
Wixom was one of 25 or so students to
earn a spot on Stevens’ Student Managed Investment Fund, which has a
$400,000 real-money portfolio currently invested in stocks like D.R. Horton, Tesoro, AT&T, Alphabet and Cognizant Technology. In his role as head
of risk and asset allocation, he built an
app that members could use to screen
out overly risky investments. Besides
his undergraduate research project
on two-stage stochastic programming
problems for portfolio optimization,
Wixom also started Quantbros.com
and Quantcourse.com: The first is an
educational website for young quants,
Preparing for the age
the second an online course in which
of machines: Nariman
he teaches novices about multivariFarvardin, president of
ate regressions using factor analysis
the Stevens Institute
of Technology, at
and “how to program with financial
the school’s Hanlon
time series” in R, a language geared to
Laboratory for Financial
Analytics & Data
statistical computing and graphics.
Visualization.
What lessons can investors glean
from what’s going in Stevens’ classrooms? The biggest takeaway revolves around how, in a market driven by index funds, portfolio construction trumps securities selection in the long run. To this end, Stevens’ students
have been using a model called Black-Litterman, a variant of
Markowitz’s Modern Portfolio Theory and Sharpe’s Capital
Asset Pricing Model developed in 1990 by the late mathematicians Fischer Black and Robert Litterman. The model basically allows more flexibility in creating return assumptions on various assets.
MATTHEW FURMAN FOR FORBES
EDUCATION
Systematic rule-based investing is another mantra among
Stevens’ budding quants, and Wixom’s personal algorithm-driven portfolio on Quantopian.com attempts to profit from the inevitable buy-sell order flow that results from the rebalancing of
stock indexes.
Calhoun adds that one of the lessons his Stevens students
learned the hard way is to constantly question widely accepted market practices. He cites the China-induced stock market
flash crash of August 2015. Because of “prudent” governance
rules set up by its alumni-advised investment committee, Stevens’ student-run fund was forced to maintain stop-loss rules
on its stock portfolio, and as a result it sold out nearly all its
holdings during the sudden dip, at a big loss.
“It just destroyed our portfolio for a few weeks there,”
Wixom says. “It’s the traditional investing methods. We were
kind of struggling with them.” F
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 67
The Philippines’ 50 Richest
ROBERTO ONGPIN
Laps of Luxury
The Ongpin saga is culminating in a rollout
of regal residences for the regional elite.
A
t 12:30 sharp, Roberto Ongpin opens his office
door on the fifth floor of the glittering Makati
Place in Manila. It’s his new, triple-towered luxury development of residences, commercial space
and the swank members-only City Club, packed
with amenities that include tennis and badminton courts, nine
themed restaurants, a cocktail lounge and a wellness center. This
is the nerve center for Alphaland Group, the upper-crust property firm whose shares Ongpin plans to list by the end of 2018.
Dressed in a casual zippered vest and smoking a Tabacalera
cigar, the 80-year-old Ongpin proceeds to share his remnants-toriches life story over lunch at a City Club private dining room.
Known for courting controversy, Ongpin retains tight control
of Alphaland, which he established in 2006 and delisted in 2014
after a messy split from U.K. investment group Ashmore. As
chairman, Ongpin took over Ashmore’s 69% share and divided
the assets. He kept Makati Place, the Makati Southgate office
building, his opulent members-only Balesin Island Club, 25
minutes by air from Manila, and Baguio Mountain Lodges in
northern Luzon, which is now being developed. “We are very
exclusive,” he explains. “Snob appeal—that’s my business.”
Alphaland is worth $1.1 billion, the silver-haired tycoon
says, and he owns 92%. (He says the company netted better
than $150 million in 2016.) He is also chairman of Atok-Big
Wedge, a listed mining company of which he holds 58%.
Together they put Ongpin at the No. 16 spot on this year’s list,
with a net worth of $1.15 billion. Not included: an undisclosed
number of debts and private assets, such as the Tabacalera
cigar maker and 14 homes around the world, including in
Tuscany, London, Paris, Salzburg and Saint-Tropez. He splits
his time between Europe and the Philippines.
Though his great-grandfather was a wealthy stationer who
backed Filipino independence from Spain—a street in Manila
68 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
bears the Ongpin name—there was no silver spoon left when
Roberto was born in 1937. The first son in a family of seven children, his earliest memories track to Japan’s wartime occupation:
hunger pangs at bedtime, his father hauled away three times for
interrogation, the baby of a suspected guerrilla speared by an
enemy bayonet. “That’s why I’m a little guy,” he quips, referring
to his 5-foot-6 frame. “I never had enough food.”
At age 12, Ongpin was valedictorian at grade school. His
grandmother wanted him to attend Ateneo de Manila University, the “Harvard of the Philippines,” getting him a scholarship by
relentlessly badgering the Jesuit headmaster. It was the most formative period of his life. He graduated at 20 with an accounting
degree and joined Procter & Gamble for two years before going
to Harvard for an M.B.A. Returning to the Philippines in 1964,
married and with a newborn son, he ascended the corporate
ladder at SGV, an accounting firm, becoming managing partner
in 1970. Nine years later, President Ferdinand Marcos tapped
him for a cabinet post. He was 42 years old and served the seven
remaining years of Marcos’ rule.
Ongpin—“Bobby” to his friends, “RVO” to his staff—calls
himself a visionary, a fighter and a survivor. From savvy trade
and industry minister in the dictatorship, when accusations of
corruption began sticking to his reputation—accusations he
denies, saying he was a technocrat, not a crony—he moved on to
myriad business ventures. “I have had many setbacks but more
successes,” he summarizes as a plate of fried catfish salad arrives,
the lettuce garnish flown in from Balesin’s working farm.
Still, the octogenarian seems slightly gun-shy a year after the
most ignominious ordeal of his life—the day in August 2016
when Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte went on national
television to single him out as a favored oligarch, vowing to
destroy him.
The threat, which Ongpin calls a “bolt out of the blue,” was
SONNY THAKUR FOR FORBES
BY JANE A. PETERSON
“Snob appeal—
that’s my business”:
Roberto Ongpin, with
daughter Anna.
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 69
The Philippines’ 50 Richest
ROBERTO ONGPIN
FAMILY TIES—AND KNOTS
coupled with an earlier vow to destroy
online gaming. Together they dealt a
harsh blow. Shares in PhilWeb, the onlinegambling operator that Ongpin led,
dropped 90%; Ongpin resigned as chairman and sold his 57% stake to a Marcos
relative. “I lost $360 million—I became a
pariah,” he recounts, his voice just above
a whisper, noting that unnamed friends
and banks immediately shied away.
But Ongpin is quick to stress he bears
no rancor: “He is my president, and I
will do all I can to support him and his
policies. I am still optimistic about this
government.”
The dark days have passed, he says.
Without PhilWeb’s cash flow, Ongpin
had to put personal funds into Alphaland until he secured a seven-year loan
from the Sy family’s BDO Unibank in
February. Alphaland, he claims, has
only a healthy 15% debt load. Existing
office and commercial space is nearly all
leased. At Makati Place, 60% of residential
units in two towers are sold, he says, at
70 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
Ongpin for nine years.
Meanwhile, Ongpin’s
wife of 55 years, Monica,
remains at their home in
Tuscany, where she has
lived for the past 25 years.
An Italian-Chilean, she
met Ongpin while they
were graduate students
“I came back because I owe him,
in the U.S. Ongpin says
and he needed me,” says Anna.
Monica came to accept
his infidelity long ago. “She knew she could not fence me,”
he explains, “but she told me, ‘Don’t flaunt it.’ What I am is
what I am.”
When he’s not in Italy, the couple keep in touch with daily
phone calls. “All the while I have loved my wife,” he says. “I
never stopped loving her.” Still, their marriage was shaken
when Monica learned about baby Michelle. Calling his wife
“very bright and unique,” Ongpin says she has embraced his
former lover and accepted Michelle and Julian as her own,
insisting they each receive equal portions of his estate. —J.A.P.
prices ranging to near $1 million for a
three-bedroom. A third tower, originally
designed as service apartments, has been
retrofitted into 27 floors of offices, ready
for occupancy in September.
Meanwhile, City Club’s offerings await
a big uptake. Planned for 5,000 memberships at $30,000 a piece, the club has sold
650, adding about 100 each year.
Ongpin appears engrossed in launching a series of new projects at Alphaland,
based on his belief that with the end of
the subprime crisis, demand for luxury
property in the Philippines (including
from Hong Kong weekenders) will remain buoyant—and interest rates low. On
Balesin (see box, p. 72), which he considers his most valuable asset, a cluster of 12
homes at $3 million to $5.5 million apiece
is being built to order. He also recently
bought the nearby Patnanungan Island,
called Balesin Gateway, where Alphaland
is designing an international airport, a
golf course, a 300-room hotel and 500
private beach villas.
And Alphaland is developing the first
phase of Baguio Mountain Lodges—50
American-style log homes that are a
four-hour drive north of Manila—with
250 more on the drawing board. “I make
three times my cost every time I sell a log
home,” Ongpin says, noting the initial
bunch should sell out within three years.
Ongpin wants to list Alphaland in either Bangkok or Singapore. Domestically,
until 2019 it is barred from trading shares
and Ongpin cannot become a director of
a new listed Philippine company. The fiveyear ban was imposed by the Philippine
Stock Exchange for disclosure failures
related to the Ashmore divorce.
In 2009, Philippine securities regulators charged Ongpin with insider trading
at Philex Mining, when as vice chairman he sold shares to the chairman. His
temper flares when asked for details about
what he regards as a politically motived
accusation. He appealed, winning in
court four times, and the country’s SEC is
restrained from any enforcement.
SONNY THAKUR FOR FORBES
Over a Friday dinner at Mykonos, City Club’s Greek restaurant,
Anna Ongpin says she reluctantly returned to the Philippines,
after nearly 30 years in America, at the behest of her father. “I
came back because I owe him, and he needed me,” she says,
noting her background as a management consultant. “He
wants to trust family members. There was no one else.” The
bargain she struck: two weeks in California every quarter.
Anna, who acts and sounds American, considers her father
a strategic-thinking micromanager with an incredible memory
for numbers, as well as extremely demanding and prone to
yelling. “I turn off my phone at night,” she admits. “I work a lot,
but not as much as he does.”
Among Ongpin’s other three children, his second daughter, Michelle—her German mother has been Ongpin’s live-in
partner for ten years—worked at Alphaland and Philweb for
nearly three years. Wanting a lifestyle change, Michelle left
in 2012 for a stint in London working with Malaysian tycoon
Ananda Krishnan. She now lives at Makati Place with her photographer husband and is half-owner of a Manila restaurant.
Also in residence is the patriarch’s youngest, Julian, an artist.
His Australian mother, who recently died of cancer, lived with
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The Philippines’ 50 Richest
ROBERTO ONGPIN
ISLAND OPUS
Getting outside analysis on Alphaland proves difficult. Ashmore Group
did not respond to repeated requests
for comment. Property analysts no
longer track the company now that it’s
private and refuse to go on the record
with personal conjecture. Meanwhile,
Hannah Yulo, Alphaland’s CFO from
2011 to 2014 and now CIO at DoubleDragon Properties, exudes praise for
her former boss. As a frequent user of
City Club and Balesin, she foresees a
bright future for both. Metro Manila,
she believes, has enough well-heeled
residents to afford the membership fees.
“Ongpin is brilliant,” she says. “No one
else has developed anything like Balesin.
Aman [resort] is beautiful, but it’s not a
members’ club.”
During the workweek, when he’s in
the Philippines, Ongpin rarely leaves
Makati Place. He lives in the penthouse,
72 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
rising at 6 a.m. to hit the gym for an
hour, a regime prescribed by his wellness-center doctor, who pronounces
his health excellent. Most of the day is
spent in his palatial office, with adjacent
nap room. He enjoys a drink in the
bar, a smoke in the cigar boutique and
dining in his themed restaurants. For
outside lunch dates in Manila, he takes
a helicopter to avoid the traffic.
Inside Ongpin’s office, a massive desk
is piled with contracts, a MacBook, a
computer screen linked to his stock portfolio and the galley copy of a book he’s
editing about Balesin. On the wall above
is his most prized possession: painted
portraits of his great-grandparents.
Other personal items include artwork
from two preschool-age grandsons who
live in London. Among photos from the
Marcos years: Ongpin with former Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein.
Working closely with Ongpin is a
fiercely loyal cadre of two dozen senior
staffers—his secretary of 50 years is the
longest-serving, followed by his CEO,
with 40 years. One perk will be “very
large” stock options if and when the
company goes public. “I am good to my
people, but I drive them hard,” Ongpin
confesses, noting he has fired a dozen
senior staff at Alphaland through the
years. “If they can’t take it, they must
leave. I want the best.”
Top lieutenants also live in units at
Makati Place rent-free, often gathering
after hours at the club bar. They seem
like a happy family, always available—a
requirement, they say, that comes with
the job. That includes his 52-year-old
daughter, Anna, named Alphaland’s
vice chairman and president last year.
While she’s slated to succeed her father,
that day seems a long way off. F
SONNY THAKUR FOR FORBES
One Saturday morning in July, Alphaland’s hangar at the Manila airport is
bustling as 66 elite Filipinos fill the
company’s private jet for a quick flight—
beyond the smog—to their weekend
playground. Slipping in last is Ongpin
himself.
On arrival, smiling staff offer flowered
necklaces and whisk away luggage to
two themed villages—Balesin and SaintTropez—open this particular weekend.
Guests fan out to myriad activities from
horse-riding to antiaging treatments. The
Aegle Wellness Center, attached to the
Balesin Island Club offers seven themed villages, after Ongpin’s favorite destinations.
Mykonos village and staffed by doctors,
To join Balesin, private members pay $60,000 for Gold
offers hormone replacements, thalasstatus, which includes 7 free overnight visits, or $100,000 for
sotherapy whirlpools and wraps, and a hyperbaric oxygen
Diamond status and 14 nights. Corporate memberships go for
chamber (the center is open even when Mykonos is not).
more.
It’s no exaggeration to call Balesin Island Club “Philippines’
While the club counts 1,200 members, Ongpin hopes numShangri-La.” Seven themed villages, patterned after Ongpin’s
bers will swell to as many as 6,000 once an international marfavorite global destinations, are ringed by pristine white-sand
beaches and lush vegetation. Accommodations and restaurants keting campaign kicks off, the bigger runway at Patnanungan is
built and Manila airport congestion eases. Alphaland intends to
are exquisitely furnished from the theme locales and from
have sales offices in Hong Kong and Singapore. —J.A.P.
artisans who live in their own cluster of huts on stilts.
Credit Suisse.
Helping
entrepreneurs
and businesses
succeed in
$VLD3DFLƟF
Philippines’ 50 Richest
BY GRACE CHUNG
High on Development
Some tycoons are big builders on earlier gains, while half fall back.
JAY DIRECTO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
B
risk economic growth in
volatile political environment. Althe Philippines—nearly
fredo Yao was down 26% as shares
7% this year—is expected
in his soft drink maker, Macay,
to carry into 2018 and is
dipped 21% on news that Duterte
helping magnates who
was aiming to raise taxes on sugary
enjoy a broad business reach. Espedrinks as part of a larger tax reform.
cially benefiting are those tied to an
Others just weren’t able to sustain
infrastructure push by the Rodrigo
sharp increases as in previous years.
Duterte administration.
Edgar Sia, for example, fell by
No one captures the GDP boost
32% as shares in his DoubleDragon
better than the country’s richest,
Properties retreated.
92-year-old Henry Sy. His net worth
Mining interests had a mixed
has surged to a staggering $18 billion,
year. The sector accounted for the
up from $13.7 billion in 2016 and
return of Philip Ang and Walter
better than three times that of the
Brown after a one-year hiatus but
closest runner-up. SM Investments,
saw a drop-off: Tomas Alcantara
in which Sy holds a 54% stake, reof Alsons Consolidated Resources.
capitalized to expand its retail malls
Also missing is the fortune of
at home and in China, and stock
Alfonso Yuchengco of Rizal Cominvestors approved. Among other
mercial Banking Corp., who died in
new plays, the company bought into
April at age 94. His estate has not
a chain of dormitories to house a risyet been settled.
ing student population.
The benchmark Philippine
Seven of the ten biggest dollar
stock index was virtually flat over
The sky’s the limit for Sy’s wealth, at $18 billion.
gainers have sizable interests in
the period while the peso slumped
construction and property development. Other notable
against the U.S. dollar on a surge in imports, thus paring
gainers include David Consunji of DMCI Holdings,
our converted valuations.
Edgar Saavedra and Michael Cosiquien of Megawide
These rankings are based on stock prices and exchange
Construction and Ramon Ang of San Miguel (see p. 77).
rates as of August 14. Private companies were valued by
Newbie Eusebio Tanco debuts on the ranking as
using comparisons with similar publicly traded companies.
shares rose in his STI Education (see p. 76).
Additional reporting by Ambika Behal, Caroline Chen, Sean
However, half of the 50 saw their totals take a hit in a
Kilachand, Anu Raghunathan, Jessica Tan and Katie Taylor.
THE LIST
1
HENRY SY
$18 BILLION S
SM INVESTMENTS AGE: 92
2
JOHN GOKONGWEI JR.
$5.5 BILLION T
JG SUMMIT AGE: 91
3
ENRIQUE RAZON JR.
$4.3 BILLION S
INTERNATIONAL CONTAINER
TERMINAL SERVICES
AGE: 57
4
LUCIO TAN
$4.2 BILLION T
LT GROUP AGE: 83
5
JAIME ZOBEL DE AYALA
$3.7 BILLION
AYALA CORP. AGE: 83
6
DAVID CONSUNJI
$3.68 BILLION S
DMCI AGE: 95
7
GEORGE TY
$3.6 BILLION T
GT CAPITAL HOLDINGS
AGE: 84
8
TONY TAN CAKTIONG
$3.4 BILLION T
JOLLIBEE AGE: 64
9
ANDREW TAN
$2.5 BILLION T
ALLIANCE GLOBAL AGE: 65
10
RAMON ANG
$2.3 BILLION S
SAN MIGUEL AGE: 63
11
MICHAEL COSIQUIEN AND EDGAR SAAVEDRA: MEGA BUILDERS
Cofounders of the $342 million (2016 sales) infrastructure
company Megawide saw their fortunes rise by more than
45%, buoyed by a 30% uptick in the stock. The 20-yearold company, which is handling construction of schools,
the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the country’s
first intermodal transportation hub, reported a rise in
construction and airport revenues over the past year.
Megawide is the largest private airport operator in the
Philippines. In 2014, it won a 25-year contract for Mactan
Cebu in partnership with Indian infrastructure giant GMR.
It’s building a second terminal there and readying a bid for
its first overseas project, in western India. The company
also operates three solar power projects, supplying 100
megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
LUCIO & SUSAN CO
$1.8 BILLION
PUREGOLD PRICE CLUB
AGES: 62, 59
12
MANUEL VILLAR
$1.65 BILLION
STARMALLS AGE: 67
SUP MORE THAN 10% TDOWN MORE THAN 10%
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
EUSEBIO TANCO: NEWCOMER
Shares in Eusebio Tanco’s key asset, STI Education Systems, soared
136% over the past year thanks to an expanding demand for courses
in fields such as information and communication technology, and
business and management. Holding company Tanco Group also has
interests in shipping, property, energy and financial services. The
debut listee studied economics at Ateneo de Manila University and
got a master’s degree at London School of Economics. He started as a
stockbroker.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
Philippines’ 50 Richest
THE LIST
13
INIGO & MERCEDES ZOBEL
$1.6 BILLION
AYALA CORP. AGES: 61, 60
14
ROBERT COYIUTO JR.
$1.5 BILLION T
PRUDENTIAL GUARANTEE &
ASSURANCE AGE: 64
15
MERCEDES GOTIANUN
$1.4 BILLION
FILINVEST DEVELOPMENT AGE: 89
16
ROBERTO ONGPIN
$1.15 BILLION
ALPHALAND AGE: 80
RAMON ANG
Ink in His Veins?
R
JULIAN ABRAM WAINWRIGHT/BLOOMBERG
amon Ang is known for diversifying San
Miguel Corp., which he runs, as well as for
his sometimes pointed personal opinions.
But Ang’s most recent move, entering talks to
personally buy a controlling interest in the Inquirer
Group, one of the Philippines’ biggest media firms
and publisher of its most-read broadsheet, has
raised eyebrows.
Earlier this year the Philippine Daily Inquirer
came under intense public criticism by President
Rodrigo Duterte, who has railed against what he
considers unfair, biased and inaccurate reporting on
his administration and its war on drugs.
“Inquirer, you are bulls---,” Duterte said at an
oath-taking of government officials in March.
His government has threatened tax-evasion
charges and stepped up an eviction case against
the owning Prieto family, involving their lease
of government-owned land. But Ang speaks of
Duterte as a “fast friend,” and a Rappler online
report had the president praising Ang for becoming
a billionaire from “his own hard work.” Ang, No. 10
on the list (and no relation to Betty Ang, No. 20, or
Philip Ang, No. 50), nearly doubled his net worth to
$2.3 billion, due largely to his Eagle Cement, which
saw a favorable IPO in May amid an infrastructure
push by Duterte’s government.
17
Tony La Vina, former dean of the Ateneo
School of Government, argues there is no special
relationship between Ang and Duterte and that
their friendship is “not a longtime thing.” “He is a
tycoon who supported him during the election but
probably also supported other candidates. They
are friends, but Ang was also a friend of President
Aquino during his term.”
Though the Inquirer deal caught most by
surprise, Ang’s interest in media is not new. He
already owns a portion of Solar TV network and is a
minority owner of Nine Media Corp., which carries
the CNN Philippines brand. His attempt to buy the
country’s second-biggest broadcaster, GMA Network, failed in 2014. Jomar Lacson, head of equity
research at ATR Asset Management, says an Inquirer investment makes business sense if Ang aims
to create a portfolio of media companies with strong
content that gives him leverage over advertisers.
Randy David, sociology professor at the University of the Philippines and an Inquirer columnist,
notes it “would become a different paper and lose
credibility if it decided to enforce a policy of noncriticism of the administration. . . . I don’t think that
Ang wants to acquire it in order to destroy it. He
would not want to be remembered as the man who
did that.” —Sunshine Lichauco de Leon
EDUARDO COJUANGCO
$1.1 BILLION
SAN MIGUEL AGE: 82
18
DEAN LAO
$1 BILLION T
D&L INDUSTRIES AGE: 58
19
RICARDO PO SR.
$980 MILLION
CENTURY PACIFIC FOODS
AGE: 86
20
BETTY ANG
$880 MILLION
MONDE NISSIN
21
EDGAR SIA II
$820 MILLION T
DOUBLEDRAGON PROPERTIES
AGE: 40
22
OSCAR LOPEZ
$760 MILLION T
ABS-CBN CORP. AGE: 87
23
BEATRICE CAMPOS
$650 MILLION
UNITED LABORATORIES
24
CARLOS CHAN
$620 MILLION S
OISHI AGE: 76
SUP MORE THAN 10% TDOWN MORE THAN 10%
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
Philippines’ 50 Richest
Money Into
Mindanao
BY GRACE CHUNG AND REBECCA FENG
M
artial law in Mindanao was extended in July to quell
an escalating revolt by militants tied to the Islamic
State. Occupying the city of Marawi, the rebel groups
have battled with Philippine security forces since May, resulting
in 775 deaths (mostly insurgents) and prompting some 23,000
residents to flee to nearby evacuation centers, according to the
latest official numbers.
Even before the violence of recent years established it as the
IS epicenter in the Philippines, the sizable island was outside
of the nation’s economic mainstream, constituting just 15% of
GDP. But it remains rich in resources and potential. In a June
report the World Bank noted, “Unless there is development
in Mindanao, it is hard to see how the Philippines can achieve
sustained and inclusive growth.”
More than a dozen of the country’s 50 richest have interests
in the area, but we’ve limited the names here to those involved in
three key sectors; they are representative of the most productive
or recently launched business activities. The bulk of the investments are in developments that include high-rise condos, office
space and commercial properties. Through his Megaworld,
Andrew Tan (No. 9), for one, is building out the 28-acre Davao
Park District township, a first for the island, which will include
a school and an upscale hospital. It’s expected to create a total of
100,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2020.
THE LIST
25
ALFREDO YAO
$600 MILLION T
MACAY HOLDINGS AGE: 73
26
FREDERICK DY
$520 MILLION
SECURITY BANK AGE: 62
27
JACINTO NG
$420 MILLION S
ASIA UNITED BANK AGE: 75
28
JOSE & ROBBIE ANTONIO
$400 MILLION S
CENTURY PROPERTIES AGES: 70, 40
29
MICHAEL COSIQUIEN
$385 MILLION S
MEGAWIDE CONSTRUCTION AGE: 43
30
JORGE ARANETA
$380 MILLION T
ARANETA GROUP
31
EDGAR SAAVEDRA
$375 MILLION S
MEGAWIDE CONSTRUCTION AGE: 42
32
MARIANO TAN JR.
$370 MILLION
UNITED LABORATORIES AGE: 55
33
JON & MIKEL ABOITIZ
$350 MILLION
ABOITIZ EQUITY VENTURES AGES: 69, 62
34
MANUEL ZAMORA JR.
$280 MILLION
NICKEL ASIA AGE: 77
35
WILFRED STEVEN UYTENGSU JR.
$240 MILLION
ALASKA MILK AGE: 55
36
VIVIAN QUE AZCONA
$230 MILLION
MERCURY DRUG
37
ERIC RECTO
$225 MILLION
BEDFORDBURY DEVELOPMENT AGE: 54
SUP MORE THAN 10% TDOWN MORE THAN 10%
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
Philippines’ 50 Richest
JOSE & ROBBIE ANTONIO: DYNAMIC DUO
Robbie joins his father at No. 28 this year thanks to his Revolution
Prefabricated, a maker of factory-built luxury homes in Asia and the West
that cost an average of $70,000 and $120,000, respectively. In its first funding
round in March the company raised $15.4 million from Silicon Valley VC firm
500 Startups and other angel investors, putting Revo’s valuation north of
$250 million. To cater to the larger Southeast Asian market, Robbie says
he’s working on affordable homes that would cost $25,000 to $30,000.
The family’s flagship Century Properties, founded by Jose 30 years ago, is a
developer of high-end real estate and has licensing deals with Forbes Media,
Donald Trump, Giorgio Armani and Paris Hilton. It saw $130 million in revenue
last year. Last November, President Duterte named Jose as special envoy of
trade to the U.S.
Vivian’s father, the storied founder of Mercury Drugs, the largest drugstore chain in the
country, died in March at age 96. Following the liberation from the Japanese occupation,
Mariano Que began selling medicine from a pushcart and opened his first pharmacy in
Manila in 1945, providing affordable drugs in a city devastated by WWII. Today the chain
spans 1,000 locations across the Philippines. Last year, we attributed the entire family’s
fortune to Vivian, who has been running the business for years, because she owned a much
larger stake than her father and her siblings. With Mariano’s passing, we’ve split the fortune,
and now the figure for Vivian, $230 million (No. 36), reflects only her personal stake.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER (BOTTOM)
VIVIAN QUE AZCONA:
LIFE AFTER MARIANO
THE LIST
BETTY ANG
Shrouded in Secrecy
B
PATRICK WELSH FOR FORBES
net income by 33% over the previous year to $105
etty Ang makes the Philippines’ richest for
the 11th straight year and yet remains a most million, and revenue climbed by 30% over the same
period to $985 million.
elusive, mysterious tycoon. Listed as presiLeading the Monde Nissin board is Chairman
dent of powerhouse Monde Nissin, the nation’s top
Hartono Kweefanus, with a 28% stake. A brother,
biscuit and noodle maker, she and her staff do not
Vice Chairman Hoediono Kweefanus, is Ang’s
respond to emails or phone calls, and the company
husband and owns 3.1%; the two have six children.
website makes no mention of her or its nineAmong the 12 other shareholders are Hartono and
member board of directors. Even basic information
Hoediono’s three female relatives,
about her is uncertain, such as
likely their sisters, who own a
her age. This year, based on new
combined 12.5%, and Chief
information that her husband
Executive Henry Soesanto, owner
owns a stake, Forbes Asia is
of 13.8%. He’s a family member
combining the value of her and
by marriage.
her husband’s stakes, as we norAs for Khong Guan Indonemally do for spouses, giving the
sia, the same Indonesian family
couple an estimated fortune of
members are listed on the boards
$880 million and ranking them
of its various units, but with the
at No. 20.
addition of the company’s foundThe privately held Manilaer—Hartono and Hoediono’s
based company is actually
father, Hidayat Darmono, also
owned mainly by her husband’s
known as Kwee Boen Twie.
extended Indonesian family,
Monde Nissin is expandaccording to its 2015 filing
Hoediono Kweefanus and Betty Ang
ing at home and abroad, so it’s
with the Philippines’ Securities
worth keeping a weather eye on the group. Last
& Exchange Commission. The family also owns
Khong Guan Biscuit Factory Indonesia—a similarly year, it joined with Indonesian food producer
Nippon Indosari Corpindo to launch Sarimonde
veiled operation.
Foods; in 2015, it acquired the U.K.’s Quorn, a
Monde Nissin’s Indonesian shareholders own
meat-alternative outfit, and teamed up with Thai
a combined 70.6% stake, with Ang and other
juice maker Malee Sampran to launch Monde
Filipinos owning the rest; she holds 24.85%. Forbes
Malee Beverage. With plans to become a globAsia values private companies by comparing them
ally diversified player, Monde Nissin has been
with similar listed companies. With the country’s
contemplating an initial public offering since
food industry booming over the past decade, the
2015, originally planning to raise $300 million to
rising value of that stake propelled her wealth from
$500 million. If the listing happens, much of the
an estimated $100 million in 2007 to $905 million
mystery surrounding Ang and the company may
in 2015 and $800 million last year. The company
hasn’t filed its 2016 report yet, but in 2015 it boosted finally be solved. —Jane A. Peterson
FOR METHODOLOGY AND ALL BIOS, GO TO FORBES.COM/PHILIPPINES.
38
JOSE MA. CONCEPCION
$220 MILLION
CONCEPCION INDUSTRIAL
39
BIENVENIDO TANTOCO SR.
$190 MILLION S
SSI GROUP AGE: 96
40
P.J. LHUILLIER
$180 MILLION
CEBUANA LHUILLIER AGE: 72
41
FELIPE GOZON
$170 MILLION
GMA NETWORK AGE: 77
42
MENARDO JIMENEZ
$165 MILLION
GMA NETWORK AGE: 84
43
WALTER BROWN
$160 MILLION
ATOK-BIG WEDGE AGE: 78
44
GILBERTO DUAVIT
$ 155 MILLION T
GMA NETWORK AGE: 82
45
EUSEBIO TANCO
$150 MILLION Ì
STI EDUCATION SYS. HOLDINGS AGE: 68
46
JULIETTE ROMUALDEZ
$145 MILLION
BANCO DE ORO AGE: 81
47
MICHAEL ROMERO
$135 MILLION
GLOBALPORT 900 AGE: 44
48
ERRAMON ABOITIZ
$130 MILLION
ABOITIZ EQUITY VENTURES AGE: 61
49
LUIS VIRATA
$125 MILLION T
NICKEL ASIA AGE: 63
50
PHILIP ANG
$120 MILLION
NICKEL ASIA AGE: 76
SUP MORE THAN 10% TDOWN MORE THAN 10%
ÌNEW TO LIST 3RETURNEE
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FORBES ASIA
LICENSEE COVERS
Around Asia
In Forbes:
FORBES INDONESIA AUGUST
Candra Ciputra, eldest son of a venerable Indonesian rich lister,
leads his clan’s eponymous property firm onto the magazine’s
annual 50 Best of the Best companies list.
(forbesindonesia.com)
FORBES THAILAND AUGUST
Clockwise from front: Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, group CEO of WHA Corp, cofounded
the developer of warehouse-distribution centers that now exceeds $1 billion in
market cap; Thida Kaewbootta, managing director of the Srisawad consumer
finance business founded by her Thai rich-lister father; Ariya Jutanugarn, this year
ranked the world’s No. 1 lady golfer; and Suphajee Suthampun, an IT industry vet
who took over as CEO of hospitality firm Dusit Thani. (forbesthailand.com)
FORBES INDIA SEPTEMBER 1
Amazon India boss Amit Agarwal
counts up gains from bringing the
multinational’s Prime delivery option
to the country’s fierce e-commerce
battle. (forbesindia.com)
FORBES KOREA AUGUST
Han Tae-Keun is CEO of closely
held Air Busan, which claims
the highest profitability in the
nation’s competitive but insular
battle among low-cost air carriers.
(forbeskorea.com)
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 83
Forbes Life
Electric Avenue
Three Chinese car companies are taking over Formula E racing.
BY PAMELA AMBLER
F
ormula E, the electric-race-car event, wrapped
up its third season in July, and the Chinese team
Techeetah claimed its first E-Prix victory, a significant achievement. Teams are now gearing up for
season four of the global Fédération Internationale
de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula E Championship, to kick off
in Hong Kong. Racing will take place along the scenic Central
Harborfront beginning December 2.
Adding to the excitement, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche announced commitments to join the series in season six, signaling a seismic shift within the auto industry toward electric.
Of the ten participating international teams, two are Chinese-owned. A third, Faraday Future, a California-based automotive startup that surfaced in 2015, is heavily bankrolled
by Chinese consumer-electronics conglomerate LeEco. The
company, known as the Netflix of China, is undergoing financial turmoil at the moment, but that hasn’t put a damper on
Faraday’s racing ambitions.
The three teams have very different approaches to the motorsport. Techeetah belongs to SECA, a sports-and-entertainment company based in Shanghai. SECA owns football clubs
and streaming rights to sporting events but it isn’t so involved
on the technical side. “They’re interested in the growth of the
series, they’re interested in growing a new sport,” says team
principal Mark Preston, who has 15 years’ experience in F1
with McLaren and Arrows. While Techeetah’s powertrain is
built by Renault in Paris, Preston believes that having a Chinese brand in the series helps further promote electric vehicles (EVs) to consumers. “If China becomes the leader in
EVs,” he says, “it’s going to drive down the cost of batteries
and technology needed to make EVs more prevalent around
the world.”
China is already leading the way. In May alone there were
40,000 new EV registrations, a 49% increase over the same
month last year. Twice the number of electric cars were sold
in 2016 in China than in the U.S., with manufacturers like
Warren Buffett-backed BYD, BAIC and Zhejiang Geely leading the charge. Geely made an all-cash purchase of Volvo
from Ford for $1.3 billion in 2010, the largest overseas acqui84 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
sition by a Chinese automaker. Volvo recently announced all new
models will include an
electric motor beginning in 2019. The decision makes the Swedish
giant the first major car
brand to end production of pure combustion engines.
Chinese companies are throwing their
weight behind battery
power on all fronts.
Private equity group
China Media Capital,
the parent company of
SECA, has officially become a shareholder in
FIA Formula E. “There
will be some races on
the mainland in the
near future . . . definitely it’s coming,” says Preston.
The other Chinese contender in the electric race is NextEV,
better known as NIO, a road car brand with an unusual story.
It emerged on the scene when it debuted its supercar, the EP9.
With 1,360 horsepower, the vehicle quickly broke five records
for the fastest lap car in the world. The team has evolved since
season one, when it was named Team China Racing.
Prior to 2016, the NIO brand produced no vehicles, but
it has since manufactured ten EP9s out of its factory in Nanjing, with six more expected to be delivered. “We have no history in terms of ICEs [internal combustion engines], hybrids.
We are purely electric-vehicle manufacturers,” says Gerry
Hughes, team principal of NextEV. The startup unveiled its
seven-seater SUV at the 2017 Shanghai auto show. The car
will officially be launched in the fourth quarter. “We’re just
on the cusp of becoming a mass producer of electric vehicles.
CHARGED UP
PHOTOPQR/NICE MATIN/MAXPP/NEWSCOM
Racing without fumes: Team Techeetah competing in Monaco in May.
Provisionally in China and going global. But certainly starting in China.” For NextEV the ES9 is meant to bridge the gap
between race cars and road cars, because ultimately NIO aims
to be a mass-market, user-friendly enterprise. “The EP9, that
is a very specific vehicle which was a brand-awareness tool
for the NIO brand,” says Hughes.
Like any other forward-looking car company, NIO has also
ventured into self-driving technology, with both the EP9 as well
as its concept car, Eve. “Autonomous technology is very much
a part of NIO’s DNA,” says Hughes. The company counts internet giant Tencent, search engine Baidu and PC maker Lenovo
among its many deep-pocketed investors. And with the Chinese
government on its side in encouraging alternative, sustainable
energy approaches, NIO may be poised to take on Tesla, with its
first consumer car set to go into production in 2018.
Formula E allows car companies like NIO to showcase
their electric technology on a global scale. For the time being,
however, batteries don’t have enough energy capacity to cover
the distance of a full race. Thus each team has two vehicles,
with a pit stop to switch cars, as in years past. Hughes points
out that a few car companies have shied away from the series for this very reason. He describes it as “range anxiety.”
“BMW have openly stated they don’t want to be involved in
the championship until they can have just one car in the race,”
he says.
E-Prix will return to Hong Kong with a doubleheader for a
second year on the urban circuit as the EV revolution continues to charge ahead. F
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 85
Forbes Life
Social Security
Sumptuous villas in Chiang Mai come with all the amenities,
including the ultimate in home bunker arrangements.
BY JIM DOBSON
O
n my recent visit to Thailand I came across a
spectacular new property under development
that is the first of its kind in Asia. Comprising six high-end luxury villas, the Sanctum
project incorporates the ultimate in safety for
its owners, complete with private, high-tech nuclear fallout
shelters.
Located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and positioned along
a greenbelt zone adjacent to a national park, the property will never be near new developments and promises complete privacy. It is conveniently located 7 miles from Chiang
Mai Airport in a rural location only minutes from the bustling city.
To achieve the ultimate in safety, security and privacy,
the designers positioned the villas back to back to create a
rectangular space. Designers added 22-foot-high green walls
to surround the villas securing the boundaries of the development. Each villa is designed with steel-reinforced concrete walls, earthquake-resistant structures and bulletproof
security-glass windows. A stunning state-of-the-art security
system also protects each home.
The villas also utilize solar power to reduce environmental impact, eco-spray foam was used for the roof insulation,
natural ventilation systems were designed around the villa,
and palm trees were positioned to shade the villa and minimize climate control requirements. The exterior walls, built
using hydraulic lime render, were developed from local materials, and earth pigments were integrated eliminating the
need for paint. As the lime cures, it absorbs CO2 and hardens into limestone, creating an easily maintained exterior. Interior walls were made of natural clay that will never
require painting.
A grey water-irrigation system, a compost bin and numerous fruit trees in the gardens are included with every
villa. The villa’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows look over a
sea of greenery and lush tropical gardens, high ceilings, an
infinity saltwater swimming pool cascades from the first
floor and a skylight floods each villa with natural light. A
spa, gym and home theater come as standard in the Sanctum villa, and outdoor soaking tubs with bio-alcohol fireplaces adjoin the bedrooms.
86 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
But it is perhaps the most timely
addition of a fully equipped concrete
nuclear-fallout shelter that has buyers
excited. Built into the ground floor of
each villa, with its own HEPA air-filtration system, the shelter doubles as
a home spa or third bedroom, and is
made of the most advanced designs
from Hardened Structures, one of the
top American engineering companies
specializing in custom bomb shelters.
The villas also feature a unique
panic room that can be used as a
private office and is built into the
master bedroom, complete with reinforced concrete walls as well as a
roof escape hatch. Other advanced
security features include an IR detection system to monitor the perimeter, a centralized alarm system monitoring the property, motion light
sensors and a CCTV system with
monitors inside the villa and on the
owner’s tablet. Even the entrance
gate to the villa is made of solid steel
with metal mesh, while the garage
door runs on hydraulics made of
steel and mesh.
Premium-package villas are furnished with numerous luxury features such as a four-car garage, and a home spa room with steam room, rain shower, massage tables and flotation tank. The Imperial Package
includes a stone kitchen from Italian designer Minotticucine, German Gaggenau appliances, SONOS speaker systems throughout the home, as well as entire home control
via smartphone or iPad.
Sheldon Augustyn was the designer, along with architect
Klitthi Hiranras and interior designers Hatainan Mahayodkul and Apichat Pankratuk, who made designs fit the regulations and put the final touches on the project. Augustyn
tells me, “The concept of Sanctum is unique. Our vision ad-
DR. STRANGELOVE SLEPT HERE
“Thailand is a very safe place—right now, that is. The future is always
changing, and we wanted to be prepared should it become not so safe.”
heres to three essential constituents: security, sustainability, luxury.” He adds, “Thailand is a very safe
place—right now, that is. The future is always changing, and we wanted to be prepared should it become
not so safe. But regardless, we feel that your home is
your castle, and your castle should be secure, right?
So we designed a luxury villa that is very secure, without using unsightly bars on the windows. We did not
want to live in a jail.” F
Adapted from Forbes.com.
SEPTEMBER 2017 FORBES ASIA | 87
THOUGHTS ON
Inventions
—LAUREN WILLIG
“I JUST INVENT, THEN
WAIT UNTIL MAN
COMES AROUND TO
NEEDING WHAT I’VE
INVENTED.”
“An inventor
is a person
who makes
an ingenious
arrangement of
wheels, levers
and springs,
and believes it
civilization.”
—AMBROSE BIERCE
“COME QUICKLY—I AM
TASTING THE STARS!”
“The thing itself,
the first thing,
will never do us
alone. We must
be elaborating,
improving,
poeticizing.”
—DOM PÉRIGNON
—SEBASTIAN BARRY
—BUCKMINSTER FULLER
“From the dawn of time,
whenever humanity has
wanted to know more . . .
we have learned primarily
by tinkering.”
“I don’t think necessity
is the mother of
invention. Invention
arises directly from
idleness, possibly also
from laziness. To save
oneself trouble.”
—CURT GABRIELSON
“Many of the younger
generation know my
name in a vague way.
. . . They think I am a
nonperson, just a name
that signifies a tangled
web of pipes or wires
or strings that suggest
machinery.”
—RUBE GOLDBERG
“TO INVENT,
YOU NEED A GOOD
IMAGINATION AND
A PILE OF JUNK.”
—AGATHA CHRISTIE
—THOMAS EDISON
“The satisfactions of manifesting oneself
concretely in the world through manual
competence have been known to make a
man quiet and easy.”
—MATTHEW B. CRAWFORD
“Mark the spirit
of invention
everywhere, thy
rapid patents,
thy continual
workshops,
foundries, risen
or rising. See from
their chimneys how
tall the flame-fires
stream.”
“Invention, it must
be humbly admitted,
does not consist in
creating out of void
but out of chaos.”
—MARY SHELLEY
—WALT WHITMAN
“REBELS REVEL IN
REWRITING REALITY’S
RESTRICTIONS.”
—RYAN LILLY
FINAL
THOUGHT
“I FORM THE LIGHT AND CREATE DARKNESS;
I BRING PROSPERITY AND CREATE DISASTER.
I, THE LORD, DO ALL THESE THINGS.”
“Imagination
provides the wings
for life’s airplanes;
work, the motor.”
—ISAIAH 45:7
—B.C. FORBES
SOURCES: THE TIMES BOOK OF QUOTATIONS; THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY, BY AMBROSE BIERCE; INVENTIONS,
BY RUBE GOLDBERG; TINKERING, BY CURT GABRIELSON; SHOP CLASS AS SOULCRAFT, BY MATTHEW B.
CRAWFORD; AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, BY AGATHA CHRISTIE; THE GARDEN INTRIGUE, BY LAUREN WILLIG.
88 | FORBES ASIA SEPTEMBER 2017
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP CENTER: ART COLLECTION/ALAMY; HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES; CULTURE CLUB/GETTY IMAGES;
HULTON-DEUTSCH COLLECTION/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES; JOHN LINDSAY/AP; BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES
“They were a
strange and
mercantile people,
these Americans.
One never knew
what they might
come up with next.”
CLASSIQU E 7147
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