Scientific Game

Change is now

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 16:40
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Inside Asian Gaming welcomes its newest columnist, Dr Brian To, who will provide his regular insights into the ever evolving world around us in his new column, Keen Observations. By Professor Dr Brian To


Professor Dr Brian To is a global strategist and senior practice professor with over six advanced degrees in business, management, policy, Chinese business and managing change. He consults to several Asian governments and militaries, Fortune 500 corporations and ultrahigh net worth individuals and their family-owned businesses in Asia and North America. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


No less than eight national leadership changes were experienced in 2016 and as we welcome the New Year we remain in the midst of economic turbulence across the globe.


Closer to home in Hong Kong, recent changes in the legislature among several young lawmakers reminds us that it is far from clear sailing for those who hold liberal and democratic values. In the midst of dynamic change in both political and corporate leadership, it seems that belt tightening exercises will no doubt continue throughout 2017.


While being mindful of all these changes, it is likely among blue collar workers that the shift in many parts of the world, including China, from labor intensive manufacturing to professional services is feeding change and job insecurity.


And while new alliances are being forged, other previous joint alliances are being abandoned. In America, for example, Presidentelect Trump has even threatened to dismantle the Trans Pacific Partnership, while in Europe the Brexit vote is a political tsunami the effects of which have not yet become a reality in terms of its long term impact on the UK and could lead to ever more uncertainty for several countries’ currencies, including the pound and the Euro.


The Chinese government has recently set aside 100 billion yuan for the relocation and retraining of workers who have been laid off in the coal and steel industries. The rise in the loss of manufacturing jobs will ultimately cause those who are not multi-skilled or have not benefited from higher education to be presented with some significant challenges in the event rapid change in large cities is not achieved.


The recent communication between US President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen sent shockwaves through Beijing, but alternatively in Taipei it renewed hopes that a rare trade deal might be possible in the future.


Taiwan's leader Tsai Ing-wen speaking to US President-elect Donald Trump recently


Change as we are currently experiencing will only become ever more prominent in our lives. While the potential relationship between Asia and Trump’s United States remains to be seen, Asia’s economic agenda remains an unknown quantity for the US, as it should be, despite the significant presence of US military forces in the Pacific and the South China Sea. Perhaps Asia’s future lies in a China initiative known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a proposed free trade agreement between the 10 ASEAN member states plus Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. These 16 nations cover more than a third of the world economy.


As a new tide of nationalism emerges throughout the globe, we are faced with sweeping changes in economics, immigration, policy, employment, labor and healthcare.


Keeping up with change is nearly impossible. For example, no sooner than we witnessed the cross border trading link between Shanghai and Hong Kong, along came the Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock trading scheme. The new scheme will enable mainland investors to directly trade over 400 stocks in Hong Kong.


How best to prepare to swallow the open fire hose of information, change and data? Not so simply presently, but as with the deluge of information one should take every opportunity to unlearn bad habits and to focus on positive outcomes. Spend more on the inside of your head (education) than the outside (cosmetics). Improve your attitude to strive for peak performance and finally ask a question and prepare for rampant change by embracing it, since we cannot control the onslaught.

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