6 Jul 2020

Business China’s ALP Alumni Programme 2020

Business China put together a special edition of “ALP Alumni Programme 2020” from 18 to 26 June 2020, due to the annual Advanced Leaders Programme (ALP) being postponed till 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The programme aimed to:

  1. Provide the ALP alumni with timely information and sharing of experiences by business leaders;
  2. Provide a platform to facilitate communication between political leaders and the young business leaders;
  3. Continue to engage and give value to our ALP alumni by updating them with current and useful content.

Titled “Business recovery and future planning in the COVID-19 crisis” (逆境求存 抗议寻机 - 企业的复原与发展), the programme comprised of two components – (1) Domestic Issues and (2) Global Perspectives, with a total of nine sessions conducted via the Zoom Meeting platform. Over 40 individuals participated in the programme, including Business China’s ALP Alumni (made up mainly of next generation business leaders, senior executives from the private sector and senior government officials) and invited guests.

In the opening speech conducted during the first session, Business China’s CEO Ms Tin Pei Ling, shared the objectives of the programme as well as the expectations and desired outcomes. She encouraged participants to persevere during this COVID-19 pandemic and hoped for businesses to emerge stronger after this crisis.

The first session focused on the economic impact of COVID-19 and the outlook for Singapore’s economy. Dr Andy Feng, Principal Economist from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Mr Irvin Seah, Executive Director at DBS Bank shared their perspectives candidly on the economic recovery ahead. Both speakers addressed queries on how Singapore can balance the need to re-open the economy while guarding against the healthcare risk of a second-wave of infections, as well as the transformation of China’s investment environment with COVID-19.

Next up for the day included a sharing by Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, and Executive Chairman of Thai Wah Public Company; as well as Mr Andrew Sim, CEO of J&T Express. From a global perspective, Mr Ho Kwon Ping gave his thoughts on how COVID-19 was different from other past crises, and shared about how he managed his business during such crises. Mr Andrew Sim then presented the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses (retailers, consumers and logistic players) and some mitigating strategies for businesses moving forward.

The programme for the second day (19 June 2020) was curated by the Singapore Management University (SMU). Moderated by Professor Annie Koh, SMU’s Vice President (Business Development) and Academic Director, Business Families Institute, renowned academics from the US and China were invited to share their insights with participants during the half-day session. In the opening keynote address, Dr Yukon Huang, Senior Fellow for the Asia Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace covered topics ranging from the US-China relations and its implications, to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the growth prospects for businesses.

Professor Chen Ling from Zhejiang University spoke on the risk management that businesses can explore on their road to recovery post COVID-19, and learning points from the current pandemic. In the last session of the day, Mr Alwyn Chong, Managing Director of Luxasia Group and Mr Arthur Chua, CEO of Goldbell Group shared openly on their personal experiences as a next-generation family business leader and the transformation journeys of their companies.

The final sharing session by business leaders focused on business transformation and industries arising and benefitting from the COVID-19 crisis. The speakers for the session were Mr Zhou Jun Jie, Chief Commercial Officer of Shopee and Dr Yau Teng Yan, Chief Medical Officer at Holmusk.

Mr Zhou Jun Jie elaborated on Shopee’s efforts in regulating their goods, while Dr Yau Teng Yan addressed a query on the possible replacement of some procedures in the medical industry with technology.

Two polls were conducted to gather participants’ thoughts on talent recruitment and digitalisation. The results for the polls were as follows:

Programme Highlights:

Three dialogue sessions were held with our political leaders and senior government officials.

The first dialogue conducted on 23 June 2020 saw Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for Manpower and National Development speaking on manpower-related issues. The moderator for the session was Mr Tey Soon Heng, CEO of Camomile Spring (ALP alumni of 2015 class). During the Q&A segment, participants expressed their concerns over a shortage of manpower during such unprecedented times. In his response, Mr Zaqy Mohamad touched on the Government’s efforts to help mitigate these problems.

The second dialogue session was held with Mr Stanley Loh, Second Permanent Secretary (Foreign Affairs) and moderated by Ms Jolyn Pek, Managing Director of Wolsch Global Consulting Pte Ltd (ALP alumni of 2018 class). Mr Stanley Loh spoke on how COVID-19 had changed the world and how Singapore’s relations with China would fit into the change, as well as elaborating on the 30 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China. Throughout the session, he avidly addressed participants queries with his views and examples from across the world.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry was invited to speak at the final dialogue session on 26 June 2020. Mr William Chang, Senior Vice President (JVs and Government Relations) of Sembcorp China (ALP alumni of 2019 class) was the moderator for the session. Dr Koh Poh Koon started by sharing his views on Singapore’s economic development post COVID-19, and progressed to speak on topics like food security and cryptocurrency in Singapore, as raised by participants. They were very appreciative of Dr Koh’s open and generous sharing.

The programme garnered very positive feedback from the participants, and they look forward to Business China organising more of such relevant and meaningful exclusive sharing sessions.