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Metamorphosis 25: Asia’s transformation accelerates

How will advances in technology, finance and sustainability shape this vibrant region’s next stage of growth?

The first Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC) was held in Hong Kong amid the ravages of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. Over the following 25 years, the region became the world’s powerhouse of growth and moved to the core of global investment portfolios. The 2022 AIC will explore how the digitalization of everything from money to retail and a historic shift of capital towards sustainable investments will transform the continent’s vibrant economies over the next quarter century and beyond – and create opportunities for investors.

Asia’s legendary growth story is becoming more complex. China’s multi-decade super-cycle is entering a different phase, as policy priorities change and new risks emerge. Asia is at the forefront of global innovation and consumption – not to mention cultural trends – but its population is aging faster than that of any other part of the world. Led by China, the region is driving global investment in renewable energy, but it is also most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. 

As Asia begins to look to a future beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, these trends are driving a metamorphosis with profound implications for investors everywhere. New technologies and a growing commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by mid-century promise to transform its economies, enterprises and markets. 

The 25th AIC, which returns in virtual format from March 21-24, will provide new insights into these historic changes from the people who are making them happen. The interactive event will bring together more than 2,000 investors and entrepreneurs as well as over 350 global corporates to explore what the next 25 years holds in store for Asia and the rest of the world – and the implications of this metamorphosis from the macroeconomic level to the way that individuals approach change. 

Gender gap in time spent in unpaid work shows a range of countries where women are spending more minutes per day in unpaid caring roles than men. With Canada 75.6 minutes difference, through to Japan 184.5 minutes difference.

Building resilience, inspiring others

Two years into a global pandemic that has caused loss, stress and suffering for billions, this year’s AIC will showcase stories of human resilience, adaptability and determination. 

The award-winning actor, author and activist Michael J. Fox famously suffers from early-onset Parkinson’s disease, but by focusing his energy on fundraising, research and helping others, his response to adversity has become an inspiration to many. As we look towards the next 25 years, Michael will explain why there’s ‘no time like the future’ to channel our energies towards building a life of resilience and hope. 

For an individual, as for a business, reaching your full potential requires great resilience and a clear sense of purpose. Tennis champion, philanthropist and Credit Suisse Global Brand Ambassador Roger Federer will discuss how you can maintain a competitive edge, exploring the importance of family and friends, consistency over the long-term and a clear-eyed assessment of strengths and risks. 

The transition to a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive world will also test our resilience in the face of dramatic change. From climate change to poverty, technology will be essential to tackling our biggest problems over the next 25 years. Mo Gawdat, author, Founder of One Billion Happy and former Chief Business Officer at Google X, will ask how artificial intelligence can transform our world over the next two decades, and Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Advisor, United Kingdom and Head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, offers a scientific perspective on the disruption to come in the battle against global warming.

As society transforms, new ideas and new voices have an opportunity to shine through. Indra Nooyi, the former Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo, will provide the AIC with an authoritative view on how companies can embrace diversity – as well as how this will actually help them reach their full potential.

Sian Proctor inspired millions as the first African American woman to pilot a spacecraft. Her time at the controls of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in September 2021, at the age of 50, realized a lifelong ambition and reflected the power of determination, application and faith. She joins the AIC to ask why so few astronauts are drawn from among minorities – and how she broke down the barriers she faced. 

The growth of women in management shows between 2016 and 2021 there are more women in management and more women on boards and there appears to be a corrolation as women on boards increases, women in management does too.

Markets and investing: inflation, geopolitics and Asia

Dramatic changes are at work in the global markets. Two specters from the 1970s – surging inflation and higher interest rates – have returned to haunt markets after more than a decade of loose monetary policy and, more recently, fiscal stimulus to ease the impacts of the pandemic. As US inflation touches a 40-year high, the AIC will provide expert insight into a radically changed macro environment from authoritative figures including James Bullard, President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Mohamed El-Erian, President, Queens' College, University of Cambridge, Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz and former Chair, Global Development Council during the Obama Administration; and John B. Taylor, Professor of Economics, Stanford University and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.

Rising geopolitical tensions, and now conflict, have dominated the news in 2022. As concerns mount over the stability of international relations, Dr Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State (2005-2009), will share her unique perspective on how the geopolitical developments may unfold and what role international capital will play in influencing the outcome. An expert view on how worried we should be about the near future will come from Adam Tooze, author and Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History at Columbia University. Justin Lin, Honorary Dean, National School of Development, Peking University, Councilor of the State Council and member of the Standing Committee, Chinese People’s Political Consultation Conference, will also discuss how China can make good use of its comparative advantages over the next decade, especially against the backdrop of its evolving relationship with the US. 

Tectonic shifts in the global macro-economic and geopolitical environment will have serious implications for investors in Asia, as they have since the inception of the AIC. Looking forward from 2022, though, technological disruption and the rise of regional investment in accordance with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles are also likely to have a growing impact. Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of HKEX, will share his views on the forces that will have the most influence over the next 25 years of investing in the region.

Women investors through the lifecycle lens shows phases where women invest differently depending on their age, 20-30 starting out, 30-45 new responsbilities, 45-60 shifting priorities, 60+ planning beyond work.

Technology: the future of money and assets

Emerging technologies from artificial intelligence to quantum computing have the potential to transform existing business models across the economy – while the rise of blockchain-based assets and platforms is beginning to create new systems for investing, transacting, playing and earning. As digital assets start to change perceptions of value and ownership itself, the AIC will dive deep into the metaverse.

Alexis Ohanian, Founder, Seven Seven Six, Co-Founder and former Executive Chairman of Reddit, will ask whether the metaverse can be the next great leap for humankind, enhancing opportunity for all and making the world more manageable. But metaverse was a term first coined in Neal Stephenson’s dystopian 1992 novel Snow Crash – so what will the metaverse of today and tomorrow look like? And what does the increasing value of virtual objects mean for the future of assets? The AIC will hear from an innovator whose Sandbox game is at the cutting edge of the metaverse: Yat Siu, the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Animoca Brands, and Founder and CEO of Outblaze.

Recognizing the risks as well as the promise of digital finance, Eswar Prasad, Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Head of the International Monetary Fund’s China Division, will discuss whether the future of money is more likely to be a bright new dawn or a waking nightmare. 

The established financial industry is already accelerating its integration of new technology and units of value. Blythe Masters, CEO of Motive Capital Corporation and member of the Board of Directors at Credit Suisse, will examine how new financial infrastructure and organizational concepts – such as decentralized finance (DeFi) and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) can help solve real-world problems and become part of tomorrow’s financial mainstream.

These speakers join Credit Suisse’s leading economists and experts to explore a wide range of topics that will uncover the latest global, regional and sectoral investment themes during the four-day AIC. 

Asia in 2022 is almost unrecognizable from the region that hosted the first AIC in 1997, and there will be more dramatic changes to come over the next 25 years. Tune in for insights from Nobel laureates, business leaders and industry experts on the opportunities ahead as Asia’s metamorphosis continues. 

AIC 2022: An event not to be missed

As the countdown begins to the 25th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC), watch a sneak preview featuring Neil Hosie, Head of Equities, Asia Pacific and EMEA.

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