ABOUT ASEAN HANDS

Just like the China Hands of the past, "ASEAN Hands" are those who can astutely navigate the business and political environment of Southeast Asian countries.

We are at the beginning of a Southeast Asian awakening. But this region, with its dynamism and rich cultural heritage, is by no means homogenous or simple. For a business to succeed across this region, it would require a deep understanding of local context in each country – from the business dynamics to political environment. 

Based in Singapore, ASEAN Hands seeks out the movers and shakers in Southeast Asia, bringing you deep insights and unparalleled access senior executives of international organisations, policymakers and business leaders in the region. Through podcast interviews , and feature articles, ASEAN Hands helps you keep in touch with the latest developments and opportunities in this region.

 

WHY SOUTHEAST ASIA?

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Shift of production bases from China down to Southeast Asia

With increasing costs in China pushing factories to lower cost destinations, and the US-China trade war, companies are increasingly looking to Southeast Asia as the next "factory of the world".

Massive emerging middle-class populations with consumption power

McKinsey predicts that rapid urbanization in Southeast Asia will propel the continued growth of the “consuming class,” which will double to 163 million households by 2030.

Surge in infrastructure and PE investments into the region

Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative has brought in massive infrastructural investment into the region, with the building of roads, rail and ports connecting the region to China. There is also a rise of Chinese M&A activity in the region and flooding in of international private equity investments.

YOUR HOSTS

Calvin Wee

Calvin is a junior in NUS Business School, studying a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a major in Finance. Currently, Calvin is a participant of the NUS Overseas College Program where he is based in Shanghai till January 2020, studying at Fudan University. He is the Head of Venture Investments of Z-Turner, a Shanghai based startup that aims to empower budding Chinese tertiary student entreprenuers by providing them with the resources and the ecosystem to turn their ideas from 0-1.

As a keen China-South East Asia watcher, Calvin is a founding member of ASEANITE’s Singapore chapter, and is currently serving the second term as the Vice President of Business China Youth Chapter. Calvin is a budding learner of Bahasa Indonesia, an avid gym rat, an amateur golfer and is on the constant lookout for interesting whisky and watches.

 
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Zech yap jia qing

Zech is a research assistant on regulating AI at the National University of Singapore Law Faculty, and Executive Director of the Emerging Technologies Policy Forum. He was the founder of a venture-backed AI startup, taught data science and deep learning for the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute and General Assembly, and spoke on AI at international conferences like the NVIDIA AI Conference, ReWork Deep Learning Summit, TEDxSUTD and the Yunqi2050. He is a former President of the Business China Youth Chapter.

As a full-stack software and AI engineer, Zech builds software applications which he deems useful for the Chinese and Southeast Asian tech ecosystem. In his leisure time, he appreciates and makes the occasional cocktail, and can be regularly seen hitting the bags at Muay Thai sessions.

 

zixin lee

Zi Xin holds a BA from UPenn and an MA from Peking University, where she studied Economics, Political Science and Finance. Prior to university, she took part in Bahasa classes, area studies classes and overseas field trips to ASEAN countries through the Regional Studies Program. She has been interested in ASEAN since then, and was awarded the inaugural Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students (Malay).

Zi Xin is now rotating through various roles in the public sector as part of Singapore’s public service leadership program. In her free time, she enjoys table tennis, golf and attending Toastmasters meetings. As Startup Genome ambassador for Singapore, she also closely follows startup ecosystems in Southeast Asia.