ZWC's Inaugural Cross Border Summit Brings Together Tencent's HR Mastermind & Sea Group CEO Forrest Li
20/12/2019

The Southeast Asian market keeps growing at an “amazing” pace. With the continuous implementation of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, Chinese companies see greater profit margins and receives stronger policy support in the Southeast Asian market.

On the other side, Southeast Asia is likely to embrace technologies faster than their Western counterparts, thanks to the progress of local governments and relatively affordable and reliable Internet connections, as well as a large young population.

Emerging entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in Asia are tilting towards Southeast Asia.

ZWC Partners held its China & Southeast Asia Innovation and Growth Summit in Singapore on December 16.

Its Founding and Managing Partner, Patrick Cheung, invited Forrest Li, Founder and CEO of Sea Group, the largest Internet company in Southeast Asia, and Professor Arthur Yeung, Senior Management Advisor to Tencent Group and co-author of Reinventing the Organization, to share in a panel their management and innovation experience learned during the innovation and growth of companies.

The closed door, exclusive event also highlighted the launch of the latest work from Prof. Arthur Yeung: Reinventing the Organization, which is also highly recommended by many successful entrepreneurs, such as Pony Ma(Core founder, Chairman & CEO, Tencent), Will Cheng(Founder, Chairman & CEO, Didi), Richard Liu(Founder, Chairman & CEO, JD).

Learning the logic and principles from all the leading tech companies that the authors had direct access to will help organizations to avoid becoming the next Blockbuster that failed to reorganize when market conditions shifted. Once leaders learn these principles, theyll learn to let go of organizational assumptions and will instead capitalize on a design logic and language for reinvention. Organizations will learn to examine unstructured data for ‘what could be’ instead of structured data is for ‘what has been’ and how to pivot to opportunities fluidly, transforming the company as fast as the environment changes.

 

Prof. Arthur Yeung addressing “Reinventing the Organization” at the summit
Photo Credits:ZWC Partners

 

This event also featured the following topic – Experiences from China: How companies can deliver radically greater value in fast-changing markets, the panel highlighted both speakers’ experience in cross-border operations in China and Southeast Asia from the perspective of organizational structure and leadership, fully demonstrating the in-depth interaction among companies, scholars and investors.

 

From left to right: Joji Philip, Forrest Li, Arthur Yeung, Patrick Cheung
Photo CreditsZWC Partners

 

The following is a transcript of the summit:

 

Joji Philip(Founder & CEO, DealStreetAsia):

You have the most valuable company in Southeast Asia today, thousands of employees, how do founders keep pace with companies that grow at this rate? And what time do you decided that you need to bring in a purpose of management? Or do you think founder can actually keep pace?

Forrest Li:

Number one is really building up. You have to be in that connector to have put a team together. The other one is talking to the investors. You always want to make sure you have enough capital to operate the company.

I made very critical decisions which is very related to our today’s success. One is that we decided not to be just a publisher in the gaming industry and we want to be a game developer. I actually moved my entire family from Singapore to Shanghai to set up our game studio there and we decided to take on the tailored resources in China. And so I can keep the first 100 game developers become the foundation of the studio. And that studio actually produced a very smash hit game today; Free Fire. Which generated a billion dollars revenue in the past two years.

Another big decision I’ve made is that we decide to launch our ecommerce business. We are capable to identify some great opportunities in the market and we decided to give a try. That is what we called MAKER.

 

From left to right: Joji Philip, Forrest Li, Arthur Yeung, Patrick Cheung
Photo CreditsZWC Partners

 

Joji Philip:

From your experience in the case studies, as companies become really big and they got many of the unicorns in China, you also see that innovation slows down. whats your experience in how the companies maintain that high level of innovation? How critical was this factor of founders being able to keep pace of scale up as their companys grow?

Arthur Yeung:

When I joined Tencent 10 years ago, Tencent was at that stage, growing very fast and people work very hard, fully energized. That is why if you grow to a certain stage, I think we need to really trust our younger people more. So my hope is that as the company become more mature, their ability to innovate goes down, they need to reinvent their organization. So they give more room to small autonomous team, give them some platform they can provide plug and play environment so that they can experiment. They need to re-energize, to reinvent so that they can become more innovative and people are also can be committed.

Absolutely, I think how high or how far can a company grow very much depends on the leaders. Mission-driven, resilient, quick learning and committed. As a top leader, the founder, they need to play several major roles as they grow the company. The first thing is you always look ahead. The second one is you need to architect your organization. The third one is you need to define the culture of the company. And the fourth role for a CEO and founder is that you need to manage your talent well, hire the best and grow them.

Joji Philip:

How much of the China playbook can be replicated in markets like Southeast Asia and India? what’s the role of a cross-border investor in helping companies when talking about value-add service?

Patrick Cheung:

“Don’t use 100% China model and enter the market in South Asia.” Lots of good entrepreneurs from Chinaare they really wanted to be local?  I just find that is a very big weakness because they have not 100% come into the market. Secondly, the key is about really understanding the market, customer and the culture. It should the measure between how they can leverage the China ability and also to China know-how and then mix with the local team. And make themselves more local. The China edge is about the experience and they know the path how the business model and how the market they can evolve.

With an influx of capital to the SEA markets from China, ZWC has been differentiating itself from other funds in providing 360 value adds to our portfolios. Close to market approach to provide on the ground value-add services to portfolios.Our value adds are frequently recognized by our portfolios.

We have setup local team in both Singapore and Jakarta, enabling direct access to market and dynamic interactions with portfolios.

Prof. Arthur Yeung’s HR advisory also value add our portfolios in all spectrum of organization management including organization structure, talent recruitment and training, etc. Our Co-founding shareholder, Jason Jiang, Chairman and CEO of Focus Media Group, as an expert in marketing and branding can advises on growth and brand strategies for our portfolios.

Ongoing expansion of our Venture Partners ecosystem to strengthen our strategic value adds to portfolio. We proactively invite domain experts to join us annually. For example, we have on board this year Eric Ye, ex-CTO and Chief Scientist of Ctrip International, pivotal to growing Ctrip OTA marketplace to be the largest one in Asia.Internally, we also set up a role to help our portfolio companies recruit top talents, and assist in recruitment strategy.

 

Relive some of the best moments at ZWC China & SEA Innovations and Growth Summit!