At Summer’s End, Back to Business

Beautiful beach in Hong Kong

We had a break over summer at Asia Insight Circle. And as a business that delivers face-to-face thought leadership events, we also had an extended break during Covid. The waves of pandemic took great chunks out of many businesses. Ours was one.

Our bespoke, in-person gatherings of CEOs weren’t as effective online. After several virtual sessions we paused programming. Zoom was wonderful until it wasn’t. June 2020 was the last in-person event – but what an event! Some 40+ gathered for “Banking Disrupted: Virtual Banks.”

We look forward later this week to announcing new events from September 2023 onwards.

Deeper Introductions Needed?

As we may have fallen out of touch, allow me to introduce Asia Insight Circle. Our C-suite members and guests meet monthly for networking, moderated dialogue, and insights from some of the most prominent leaders in business:

  • Gordon Orr, former Chairman of McKinsey Asia, provided advice for getting on boards and how to manage numerous positions. He serves as a non-executive director on the boards of Lenovo, Swire, Meituan, and more;
  • Tech influencers Robert Scoble and Marsha Collier predicted the Coronavirus growth boom for Zoom and Dropbox in their “Coronavirus Tech” talk as we all pivoted to virtual;
  • Vincent Lo, Chairman of Shui On Group, provided the inaugural talk in July 2013 on the changes expected with Xi Jinping’s appointment in November 2012.

Rich Heritage

Asia Insight Circle was founded in 2013 by Robyn Meredith, former editor for Forbes Asia. Many founding members were interviewed for her best-selling book “The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What it Means for All of Us.” The network thrived under her curation and regularly featured top-level leaders and newsmakers, from Swire to GE, Columbia University to Occupy Central.

In 2015, the late, great Sam Moon provided an introduction to Robyn, as a new role precluded her continued involvement in the business. Sam had led events and CEO networks for BusinessWeek among others. Santo Rizzuto and I were humbled and motivated to lead Asia Insight Circle. 

We look forward to re-engaging you all with new content, new events, and new insights. We host our next event in September and will post separately on that event.

What will never change is our commitment to smart events with real dialogue and expertise. These aren’t large-scale events. We select the experts and curate the audiences. We pay bespoke attention to detail, offer engaging dialogue, and timely insights.

Most importantly, Asia Insight Circle offers a fantastic peer group. It’s great to meet again and again with fellow CEOs so we all better understand the challenges and opportunities that come with the role.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Warm Regards,

Walter Jennings
CEO & Director, Asia Insight Circle

Facebook Live: Marketing to Machines & Augmented Humans with Tamara McCleary

The global pandemic is accelerating new technology usage at a heart-quickening pace. The impact of overnight adoption of remote working tools nearly waterboarded many companies, especially those who were not poised to pivot to a digital, remote workforce.

The impact upon our lives personally and professionally is palpable. Our overnight plunge into automation and reliance upon machines and technology to cover for our human frailty is opening a window from which we can see and “feel into” the future.

If marketing is about exquisite connection impacting decision-making then marketers take heed for the human-machine partnership has begun. The genie is out of the bottle. We won’t go back to the pre-SARS-CoV-2 world, but we can shape how we respond now and in the future, and we can shape how we create and leverage opportunities.

If you’re working from home, pour yourself a coffee and join this virtual seminar.

Focus and Resilience in Uncertain Times

Tune into our Facebook Live session as we continued our focus on mental health and well-being during the #Coronavirus lock-down.

In Hong Kong, we continue to experience volatility due to the coronavirus outbreak and continued political unrest. The world that we live in is becoming more VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous.

The key to being able to navigate the turbulent world we live in, no matter what external circumstances may present, is being able to maintain excellent mental and emotional balance.

Learn from Tony Dickel, CEO, Transcend International will share insights and strategies for managing in uncertain times.

Facebook Live: First-Timer’s Mistakes and Lessons

Last Friday we hosted our first “Facebook Live” event at Asia Insight Circle. We wanted to reach out to members and friends to discuss a hot, trending topic. Here in Hong Kong we’re in the middle of the world’s largest “work from home” experiment. I called on former speaker Diana Wu David to speak about making a success of remote work.

Live from Hong Kong! The World's Largest Work From Home Experiment

Posted by Asia Insight Circle on Thursday, February 13, 2020

Have you undertaken a Facebook Live? It’s super easy – and that’s what makes it harder! Setting up is super simple. Open a new post, and choose “Go Live.” Before you start you can add a title. That’s it.

Once you start, there is no one watching. Yet remember – most people will watch this in recording. We started with soft introductions and hoped the audience would build.

When we’re good, Diana and I are in a really engaged conversation. When we’re bad, we’re very distracted and jumpy from subject to subject. On replay the video doesn’t always show the full picture. Did you see the three kids working at the same dining table? Did you see the boys crawl – then slide – behind us to get from room to room.

Even without kids, there are distractions on the screen. You’ll see who’s watching and who has recently joined. Wave at them! Say hello. Viewers can post questions. My advice – agree which one will review questions. Both of you distracted isn’t great.

Use the audience questions to build rapport. You can see who is asking what – Hello Kevin Devlin! You can respond to each person’s question and mention their name. It’s wonderful transparency.

Consider the timing, also. We stretched our session to one hour. Perhaps it would be better at 25-45 minutes – like podcasts.

We’re going to try again this Friday, with advice for all us home-bound workers. During the Coronavirus quarantine it may benefit people to learn new techniques and skills.

Do watch the video and if you have further feedback, please let us know. Thanks – Walter

Brave Together in the 852: The Marketing Society & Asia Insight Circle

The networking and the setting were fantastic”

Well organised, humble hosts, fantastic service and venue

In the exclusive and luxurious VIP Tent at The AIA Great European Carnival, some 60 members and guests of Asia Insight Circle and The Marketing Society met together to explore Bravery. “Brave Together” is the latest in a series of talks organised worldwide to explore how marketers make the tough calls and deal with all the challenging aspects of marketing in today’s fractious world.

Mind-opening chat

Opening the session were Walter Jennings, CEO, Asia Insight Circle and Darren Chuckry, Chair of The Marketing Society Hong Kong. From there the main discussion was led by Gemma Greaves, CEO of London-based The Marketing Society. She explored bravery in marketing and leadership with Christy Kilmartin, VP Marketing for Kontoor Brands (Lee & Wrangler Asia Pacific).  The conversation was part of the “Brave Together” global series.

“We are interested in the untold stories, challenges that have been faced and overcome, brave decisions that have been taken, making the invisible visible and understanding how we as leaders can make a positive impact at work and on society as a whole.” The Marketing Society

“On behalf of Asia Insight Circle and our partner The Marketing Society I wanted to thank everyone for attending and contributing to a great night,” said Walter Jennings.

Speakers at After Dark @ Asia Insight Circle

Great event, highly recommend


Fabulous energetic networking

“We had 57 attendees and received a 5/5 rating”

Defying Hong Kong’s Cancel Culture: Diversity in the Face of Adversity at the Carnival

The continued unrest in Hong Kong has event organisers, entertainers, conference leaders, and scrambling to find alternative cities for their events. And many of the mainstays of the cultural calendar have been cancelled in the last six months. From small conferences to large-scale productions there have been so many cancellations that locals are more surprised when an event proceeds.

Clockenflap was perhaps the highest profile event to get the axe. This three day music festival is held over a three day weekend each November. In 2019 the line-up of global performers was a who’s who in contemporary music – Mumford & Sons, Halsey, and Lil Pump were all announced in the first round line-up. A few weeks before the event, Clockenflap was cancelled.

Other cancellations included the New Year’s Eve fireworks, HKFC 10s Rugby Tournament, the technology conference RISE 2020, and most recently the Chinese New Year parade – a perennial favourite for families and visitors. The e-magazine “Hong Kong Living” maintains a site to track all cancellations.

Many of the cancellations have been due to safety and security fears. Over 40 countries have travel advisories warning their citizens about the unrest in Hong Kong. That’s led to a precipitous drop in visitors. From a peak of 65 million visitors in 2018, overall visitor numbers fell precipitously in 2019. As example, in November 2019 overall visits dropped 56% year-on-year.

One wonderful exception to Hong Kong’s “Cancel Culture” is The AIA Great European Carnival, now open on the waterfront in Central. This family-focused fair has rides, games, shows, food, and lots of fun. It’s the brainchild of Michael Denmark, founder of The Great Entertainment Group. The show opened on 12 December and closes on 16 February.

“After Dark @ Asia Insight Circle” will be meeting under the VIP Tent at the carnival on Thursday, 16 January 2020 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Together with The Marketing Society, this co-sponsored event focuses on “Brave Conversations” and features Gemma Greaves, the Society’s global CEO. Featured will be an overview of bringing the carnival to Hong Kong by Mr Denmark. With the numerous cancellations and continuing protests, it’s nice to see a family-focused event open in Hong Kong. It’s important for children and adults alike to have a little fun in-between the challenges facing the city.

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