Blog Dong Tao: Disruption is the Sudden Change in Direction from Traditional Logic

Dong Tao: Disruption is the Sudden Change in Direction from Traditional Logic
Dong Tao is Vice Chairman Greater China for Private Banking Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse

The theme of this year’s Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference is 'Disruption as Usual'. What does disruption mean to you?

Dong Tao: One famous brand of instant noodles saw its sales dropping sharply. It was not the rival gaining market share, but rather that the on-line order and home delivery model became the new trend amidst the IT revolution. The instant noodles brand spent decades competing against its rival brands, but what really hit them hard was something completely unexpected.

That’s what I would call disruption. It’s the sudden change in direction that disrupts traditional logic, operational models, sometimes even “common sense”.

Do you think disruption is the new norm? Why do you think that?

DT: Disruption happens all the time in history. When humans discovered the use of fire, it became a disruption to the traditional way of living. The same can be said about tools, steam power, electricity, computer, email etc. This happens all the time and is part of the norms in our history. However, disruption has accelerated in recent years.

Disruption is the sudden change in direction that disrupts traditional logic, operational models, sometimes even “common sense”.

Disruption: Friend or foe for investors?

DT: It depends on who you are. If you own IT stocks, the latest development in IT disruption is your friend. If you are the owner of department stores at Huaihai Road in Shanghai, foe.

What’s going to be the next wave of global disruption from China’s entrepreneurs?

DT: China has participated in this round of disruption, and has been at the forefront in some areas. The amount of engineers graduating from Chinese universities every year is about the same as the entire population of Silicon Valley. Those people work very hard. With the help of big data, I think China will achieve some major breakthroughs in innovation in the coming decade. I like the potential of China’s AI research.