Thank you very much.
Actually I was born in Malaysia, but my business is now in Hong Kong, a financial company.
I felt very privileged to be accepted for this prestigious course, at the time of a historical transformationin in People’s Republic of China.
In my career, initially I was a journalist with Wall Street Journal. I was working across boarders, in Malaysia,and then in Hong Kong, and in Singapore and Paris and London.
I have witness, since the opening-up policy in 1978, as this huge transformation taken place in the Chinese nation. And there is so much we can learn from it, mistakes we made, good decisions we made, especially in here Tsinghua University. We’d be able to reflect, share experiences,and look at the future.
I want to think about some of the things that have happened in the last two generations of Chinese history, we have seen here in China. First of all, a transition from a plan economy to a socialist market economy, lead by predominantly the price and amazing amount of changes that came about as a result.
I still remember my first visit to China in1983, when the foreign people like us were stillusing FEC notes. Because the China’s currency was not allowed to circulate, except among Chinese people.
China has also transformed itself from experiencing a huge deficit capital to a surplus capital. In fact, when my company started, my job was to organize the debt from the United States, Europe and Japan, and invest it in China, because China is really an important capital.
In recent years, my job has changed to managing money for Chinese people. Money from mainland of China is moving out gradually to be managed by fund managers. In fact, I’m told that China has now become the second largest credit nation, after Japan. That means China lends money to foreign countries.
At the same time, we see China has transformed in just two generations from one of the world’s poor nations to a middle-income country. There was a time I think, not that long ago, there are some people in China who are actually starving. But now amazingly five hundred million people have been lifted out of poverty to make their income raise in just two generations.
And very ironically, China used to be very much closed to the outside world. Today, it is considered to be a leader in advocating and promoting free trade and globalization. I think when the Belt and Road system was first announced four years ago, some people are very skeptical. They said this is another form of aid for developing country. But more recently, people become to take it much more seriously. They realized that this is actually making an initiative from the People’s Republic of China to promote partnership, free trade, law barriers, and also a way for China to make use of its abundant resources and capacity to build up infrastructure in neighboring country.
This perception that Belt and Road initiative is really serious, has been taken seriously, became very real concern. When the new administration in the United States decided that they no longer want to continue with discussions for TPP, the Trump’s specific financial change. This is when a proof and more of a truth that many of the medium and small countries in South Asia, countries that are counting on TPP to open the barrier, to open the door to freer trade. Now that we realized that the western society has their own problems, and they are looking more in ward, a lot less support now in the western world for globalization and free trade. Belt and Road has become really significant.
ladies and gentlemen, we are here in this great transformation as I mentioned. Mistakes we made through, we can learn from them; many of the decisions we made, we can also learn from them. The kind of change we have seen on the mainland of this country, since the late 1970s, is, there are very few precedents for that, few precedents for that in the history of mankind.
We have seldom seen a country and society that is able to transform itself this way. There are many development lessons we can share, many things we can learn by negative and positive examples.
So I am very happy to be here today. I believe I’ve done my research and this is a highly-recognized, prestigious, well-connected course. It is also an interesting and joint adventure with people who stay in China, which I think will more excite ourthinking, and how we position China for the next few decades.
Thank you very much.