Global Leaders Series with IAB Guests

The ZIBS Global Leaders Series Forum, held on November 16 at ZIBS Lobby Hall, unfolded as a dynamic tapestry of insights on "Business Renaissance: Pioneering Change in the Digital Era." Attended by ZIBS International Advisory Board (IAB) members, the multifaceted discussions and presentations provided a comprehensive exploration of global issues, ranging from the landscape of globalization to the implications of AI and the challenges and opportunities in the automotive industry. The following review captures the essence of the forum, segmented into key thematic areas.




Global Perspectives: Navigating Cultural Enrichment, Shifting Dynamics, and Belt and Road Initiatives



The forum commenced with reflections from esteemed IAB members. Han Seung-Soo, Chairman of ZIBS IAB  and Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (UNCPGA), delved into global tensions, the changing landscape of globalization, and the recent XI Jinping-Biden meeting in San Francisco. He acknowledged the historical benefits of globalization but noted recent tensions and reversals. He expressed optimism about improved China-U.S. relations, anticipating positive global impacts and emphasizes the importance of shifting from competition to cooperation and from unilateral globalism to multilateralism.




Yaseen Anwar, member of ZIBS IAB and former governor of the Central Bank of Pakistan, highlighted the positive impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on Pakistan's access to finance and infrastructure development. He saw China playing a leading role in the new wave of globalization in the Global South region, emphasizing the importance of intraregional trade for economic resilience and noting China's significant role as a major export partner for over 100 countries.

Sergio Rial, member of ZIBS IAB and lead director in large listed US and Brazilian companies, reflected on the meaning of a global citizen, emphasizing the enriching experiences gained from living in different countries and the importance of cultural understanding. He believed that exposure to diverse cultures fosters self-reflection and a broader perspective.

BEN Shenglin, Dean of ZIBS, shared a positive overview of reconnecting with the world post-COVID through seven overseas trips. He emphasized the significance of face-to-face meetings, building partnerships, and maintaining a global mindset.



Exploring Ethical Challenges and Global Dynamics in AI Advancements and Data Governance



Sergio Rial underscored the increasing recognition of data as a valuable asset and emphasized the role of AI as an enabler, emphasizing the need for critical thinking skills in a data-abundant world. He acknowledged the positive aspects of AI but stressed the importance of ethical leadership to mitigate potential risks related to cyber attacks and data misuse.

BEN Shenglin emphasized ZIBS commitment to embracing innovative technologies and the challenges faced by legacy institutions in managing vast data resources. He echoed concerns about biased outputs from AI if the underlying data lacks quality, emphasizing the critical role of data integrity and protection, particularly in fintech practices.




Yaseen Anwar highlighted the transformative role of digitization in providing access to financial services, acknowledging the associated risks such as cyber attacks and financial crises. He underscored the importance of data protection, especially in the context of green investment principles and Belt and Road projects, expressing concerns about potential global regulatory fragmentation due to variations in adherence to standardized rules and regulations.



Demographic Dilemma: Perspectives on China's Falling Population and Global Solutions



Han Seung-soo expressed deep concern over China's declining population, viewing it as a significant demographic issue with potential parallels to the aging economies of Japan and Korea, where a decreasing birth rate has led to a markedly older population, posing economic challenges. He noted the shift in China's policy encouraging couples to have two to three children but acknowledged the challenges in convincing them due to economic concerns and lifestyle preferences.

Sergio Rial offered a contrasting perspective, advocating for a global rethink on immigration and highlighting its positive role in economic development across Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. He pointed out the impact of technology on labor markets, suggesting that traditional views on population growth may need reassessment in the face of changing work dynamics.




BEN Shenglin echoed Sergio Rial's sentiments, urging a reconsideration of the conventional notion that a larger population is inherently beneficial, particularly in the context of evolving job markets influenced by technological disruptions.

Yaseen Anwar underscored the importance of strategic immigration planning, particularly in countries like Brazil facing demographic challenges. He emphasized the need for a workforce to boost economic activity and stressed the importance of urban planning awareness in response to initiatives like the Belt and Road, citing Singapore as a successful model.



Charting the Course for Tomorrow's Roads: Insights into the Green Transition of the Global Automotive Industry



Han Seung-soo acknowledged China's ambitious plan for the automotive industry, aiming for 50% of new cars by 2035 to have electric or alternative powertrains. While he supported this effort, he stressed the broader challenge of addressing emissions across various sectors and the urgency of combatting climate change. He commended China's steps but called for additional actions to meet global climate goals.

Sergio Rial explored the evolving landscape of the automotive industry, noting a shift in consumer preferences towards software and driving experience. He highlighted challenges in developing infrastructure for widespread electrification, especially in large economies. He anticipated technological advancements making electric cars more affordable and emphasized the ethical considerations in green transition initiatives, advocating for a holistic approach to sustainable mobility.

BEN Shenglin saw the shift to electric vehicles as not just about environmental sustainability but also embracing digital technology. Expressing surprise at China's global vehicle export leadership, he underscored the need for industries to pioneer changes and adapt to the digitized era to avoid obsolescence.



Cryptocurrency Regulation: Varied Perspectives on Challenges and Transformations



Yaseen Anwar expressed caution regarding the regulation of cryptocurrencies, emphasizing the challenges faced by regulators in overseeing this rapidly expanding digital asset class. He highlighted the lack of a standardized global regulatory framework, raising concerns about the potential risks and unintended consequences associated with uncontrolled cryptocurrency proliferation. He underscored the importance of maintaining trust in the international monetary system and expressed discomfort with the current state of cryptocurrency regulation until more robust controls are established.




Sergio Rial provided a contrasting and optimistic perspective, emphasizing the unstoppable trend towards digital currencies. He envisioned a future where central banks become technologically advanced institutions overseeing digital assets, viewing this transformation as liberating for consumers. He embraced the positive impact of technology in reaching underserved populations and fostering economic growth. While acknowledging the need for controls, he welcomed the rapid advancements in technology and their potential to reshape the financial industry.

Han Seung-soo downplayed concerns about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), emphasizing their role as part of a broader trend in the digitalization of currency and daily life. He noted that the People's Bank of China initiated the move towards CBDCs several years ago, viewing them as one aspect of the overall digitalization process that influences various aspects of daily life.



Perspectives on Studying Abroad: Global Enrichment, Professional Growth, and Enduring International Connections



BEN Shenglin underscored the importance of studying in a foreign country for a global perspective, drawing from his challenging yet worthwhile experience pursuing a Ph.D. in the United States. He highly recommended young people explore the world and acknowledged the potential insights from other panelists.

Yaseen Anwar highlighted the changing dynamics of the world, advocating for individuals to bring back knowledge acquired abroad to address inequities in their home countries. He stressed the value of scholarships and opportunities in enhancing global exchange and cultural understanding.



Sergio Rial emphasized the broader experiences gained from studying abroad, asserting that companies increasingly value these experiences as crucial for personal and professional development. He encouraged students to seize the opportunity for self-broadening, highlighting the significant contribution of diverse experiences to career growth.

Han Seung-soo shared his enriching experience of studying economics in England, emphasizing exposure to a diverse environment. He encouraged the younger generation to broaden their perspectives through studying abroad and unique experiences. Reflecting on his global network, he highlighted the enduring impact of international connections, underscoring the enrichment such experiences bring to life.


Conclusion: A Mosaic of Insights Shaping the Digital Era



In summary, the 2023 ZIBS Global Leadership Forum offered a diverse array of insights on crucial global issues. From AI advancements and challenges in data governance to the green transition in the automotive industry, discussions covered the intricacies of business renaissance in the digital age. The forum also explored demographic concerns, cryptocurrency regulation, and the enduring impact of studying abroad. With leaders and visionaries sharing their perspectives, the forum served as a valuable platform for understanding the evolving landscape of our rapidly changing world.



Global Leaders Series with IAB Guests