Hong Kong skyline with the International Commerce Centre where Credit Suisse is located in the foreground
Articles & stories

AIC 2023: Asia enters a new chapter of growth

What does Asia’s reopening mean for technology, sustainability and the future of the global economy?

Returning to an in-person format for the first time since 2019, the 26th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) will explore Asia’s place in a changed world. As the region reopens from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2023 AIC will offer informed insights on the outlook for Asia in a new reality of higher global interest rates and fractured geopolitical relations.

Asia is entering a new era. China, the region’s biggest economy, is moving on from the pandemic period with the rapid reopening of its borders, and visitors are returning to Hong Kong for the first time in years. This year’s AIC is one of the first and largest investment conferences in the city since Covid-19 restrictions were put in place in early 2020.

Yet, this reopening is taking place against a transformed global backdrop.

After a decade of ultra-low global interest rates, high inflation has forced major central banks to tighten monetary policy dramatically, curbing global growth.

The war in Ukraine, now into its second year, has also reshaped the global economy. As well as the dramatic impact on energy and commodity prices, the conflict forced world leaders to respond to Russia and reinvigorated companies to rethink their exposure to global supply chains. Competition for control of key technologies is also intensifying.

At the same time, Asia is facing demographic headwinds as populations age. Investors are more aware of the threat climate change poses to assets and earnings, against the increasing pressure to transition to a low-carbon future.

It is against this complex new reality that we need to understand Asia’s place in the global economic landscape and the challenges and opportunities specific to this region.

To help investors find their way through this period of change, the 26th AIC brings together global thought leaders, industry experts and visionary speakers to explore what may be in store for Asia and the rest of the world.

Returning to its traditional in-person format in Hong Kong from March 21-23, the forum will host more than 2,000 investors and 230 global corporates in a lively setting designed to facilitate conversations and unlock opportunities.

AIC 2023 speakers

Adapting to the unknown

The uncertainty created by these dramatic changes has roiled markets and tested the resilience of investment strategies and corporate business models. Many of Asia’s fast-growing companies must now adapt to higher costs of capital and a less accommodative regulatory environment.

For a fresh perspective on adapting, even thriving in the most hostile of environments, adventurer Bear Grylls joins this year’s AIC as a keynote speaker. Known for his extreme survival programs, Grylls will share his expertise on building a resilient mindset and pushing human abilities to their limits.

The AIC will also explore how policymakers have adapted to sudden changes in their external environment.

Public policy, of course, is not just about responding to external shocks. To explore the conditions needed for economies to thrive, Mariana Mazzucato, Professor, Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London (UCL), will explain her concept of creating sustainable value. At the AIC she’ll discuss the need for a ”moonshot approach” to solving global problems and why some countries are better at promoting innovation than others.

New green technologies are needed to solve the climate crisis, but which will scale quickly enough? What solutions do we have to tackle the “toughest third” of global emissions – those from industries that can’t simply be “plugged in” or electrified? Dr. Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman and Founder of Fortescue Metals Group and Fortescue Future Industries, will discuss green hydrogen and other green molecules that will be critical to enabling the world to step beyond fossil fuels.

With changes to the global environment and a never-ending stream of negative headlines demanding investors’ attention, best-selling author Nir Eyal will discuss how professionals can get ahead by taking control of their time and attention. By viewing focus as a finite resource, Mr. Eyal explains how to invest it meaningfully. By learning how to get the best out of our technology without letting it get the best of us, Eyal will explain a methodology for overcoming distraction to become “Indistractable.”

AIC 2023 speakers

Markets and investing: Asia in a multipolar world

Geopolitical tensions dominated the headlines in 2022, and the implications of the Russia-Ukraine war and the breakdown in US-China relations continue to reverberate through global markets.

To explore what Russia’s aggression means for Asia, the AIC welcomes Stephen Kotkin, Kleinheinz Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and John P. Birkelund '52 Professor in History and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University.

A noted scholar of Russian history, Professor Kotkin joins a specialist in Indo-Pacific geopolitics Professor C. Raja Mohan for a discussion of the global response to the Ukraine invasion with special reference to Asia and the Global South.

In this fractious geopolitical environment, tensions between the US and China will have profound implications for international trade and investment.  

At the AIC, economist Barry Eichengreen from the University of California, Berkeley will discuss how the contest between the world’s two largest economies is reshaping the global monetary system and heralding the return of a multipolar world.  

Historian Chris Miller, Assistant Professor of International History at Tufts University’s Fletcher School will explain how the US and China found themselves in a “Chip War” over access to advanced semiconductors, highlighting which industries face the greatest threat, and which companies are indispensable to both sides.

Additional sessions will examine the effects of this economic contest in other regions from ASEAN to Japan. The AIC will also explore relations between Asia and the Middle East, with insights from the Chairman of the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, Bilahari Kausikan and Ben Simpfendorfer, Partner and Asia Pacific Lead of Oliver Wyman Forum, Oliver Wyman.

AIC 2023 speakers

Technology defines the future

From fighting climate change to establishing or redefining industries, technology will be at the heart of investment stories for decades to come.

Artificial intelligence (AI), particularly with the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has captured headlines, imaginations and driven up share prices as this transformative technology sweeps through industries. But it is only the beginning of a long-term evolution in how businesses interact with customers and harness computing power to create new products and even deliver investment decisions.

Pranav Mistry, founder and CEO of TWO, an immersive AI platform, and former head of STAR Labs, Samsung’s advanced research division, will describe how this technology is moving from beta to application in industry after industry. AI is also transforming investing itself, by allowing investors to process an ever-increasing range of news, data and complex financial content into actionable information – and the AIC will show you how that’s happening.

Technology will also be integral to the transformation of industry as the race to net zero intensifies.

The AIC brings in a range of experts to discuss the viability of sustainable aviation fuel and other climate technology “earthshots”. Among this year’s debuts, the AIC welcomes Avishek Kumar, Founder and CEO of Singapore-based VFlowTech, who will outline the latest developments in energy storage and the potential use cases for emerging battery technologies.

Experts in technology feature prominently along with world leaders and world-leading economists at this year’s AIC. This year’s speakers will help investors explore a wide range of topics, helping to uncover the latest global, regional and sectoral themes that will shape investment in 2023 and beyond.