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New South Wales

Speaker Bio

Keynote Speaker on Future Trends, Innovation, Leadership and Globalisation, David Thomas is well known throughout the Asia Pacific for his experience, credibility and deep understanding of China and Asia.

Keynote speaker, thought leader, author and entrepreneur, David Thomas equips business leaders with the knowledge and tools to navigate the cross-cultural challenges involved in doing business in Asia Pacific and helps them develop their own strategy for success in the region.

David is regularly asked to speak in conferences, seminars, workshops and board meetings around the world on a wide range of topics, including ‘Diversity’, ‘Future Trends’, ‘Innovation’, ‘Leadership’, ‘Disruption’ and ‘Globalisation’  with a particular focus on the Asia Pacific region and its changing role and impact on the global economy.

As a China expert speaker and thought leader, David is a charismatic, passionate and warm presenter with a unique ability to demystify a country that has long been hidden to the western world. He is bold in questioning the myths that many people in the west have about embracing a view to China, and at the same time empowers audiences with clear take-aways enabling them to successfully see the opportunity for what it is.

He is also the publisher of 'China Bites' (www.china-bites.com), his regular take on what's happening in China and why it matters, together with his book “My China Insights: How Business Gets Done” and a number of popular e-books on related topics.

Having worked on the ground for over 30 years, in a wide range of industry sectors, including retail, professional services, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, food, tourism, real estate, design and technology, he has practical examples, case studies and anecdotes to bring his presentations to life, making David an easy choice for small and large companies, investors and entrepreneurs looking to learn about engaging, investing and doing business in the Asian century.

Keynote Topic #1

Diversifying Australia

Over the past 25 years, Australia’s population has increased by 7.5 million people, with most of the new arrivals coming as migrants from China and India. This is changing the face of Australia’s working population, creating new opportunities and challenges for Corporate Australia as we embrace Asian diversity at the senior levels of our organisations and institutions (political, media and business) to give us the best chance of future success in the region

David Thomas has lived and worked in the Asia Pacific region for the past 30 years and has experienced the impact of these changes from ground level upwards. In this engaging and interactive presentation, he will cover:

The impact of immigration policy on Australia’s economy and business landscape
The benefits of diversity within high achieving organisations (includes case studies and success stories)

The opportunity for Australian organisations to embrace diversity as a recipe for success in the Asian Century

Cultural Intelligence ("CQ") - the essential new skill for business leaders of the future
The “Push” and “Pull” factors that will drive leadership and organisational effectiveness in Australia

Cultural Intelligence ("CQ") - the essential new skill for business leaders of the future
The “Push” and “Pull” factors that will drive leadership and organisational effectiveness in Australia

Keynote Topic #2


Once known for its fake handbags, copy watches and pirate software, China is now leading the world in science, technology and innovation. Chinese brands like Huawei, Alibaba, Lenovo, Haier and Tencent are disrupting traditional industries (notably retail, e-commerce and IT) by leveraging their access to over 400m middle class consumers, spending billions in R&D and launching new products and services on a scale previously unheard of. China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ plan is intended to completely transform their manufacturing industry with a focus on clean energy, healthcare and communications, and China’s ambition is to lead the world in new industries such as renewable energy, driverless and battery operated vehicles and advanced medical products.

David Thomas speaks to business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors around the world about how their industry is being impacted by what’s happening in China, how they can take advantage, who they need to speak to and what they can do about it. He draws on over 30 years of on the ground experience, connections and knowledge and draws on case studies, anecdotes and examples to bring his presentations to life.


Past speaking engagements include:

  • Thiess Directors Conference – The Future of the Mining Industry
  • Magnitude Principals Forum – The Future of the Financial Services Industry
  • Australia China Young Professionals– Booms Bust and Baozi, the future of finance in China
  • MSI Regional Conference– The Future of the Legal Industry
  • CPA Australia – The Future of the Accounting Industry
Keynote Topic #3

Future Trends

We live in the Asian Century, with China as the growth engine, and the next 50 years will see many industries disrupted by Chinese consumerism, innovation and aspiration. Many services industries, including healthcare, retail, luxury, travel, education and food are already affected by the rise of China’s middle class, together with their massive investment in technology, R&D, e-commerce and AI.

David Thomas is an experienced and dynamic speaker who will bring this topic to life at your next conference or event and a thought leader who lives and breathes the China growth story at ground level.


Past speaking engagements include:

  • Telstra Young Leaders – The future is China
  • ING Top Brokers – Bringing China to You
  • Westpac – Doing business in China and India
  • CEO Institute – The 8 critical steps to developing your China Strategy
  • The Executive Connection – China in the Asian Century

All business leaders and managers need to be aware of the likely impact on their industries and organisations from these disruptive forces and the opportunities it creates for them to develop a new cultural mindset and a China engagement strategy.

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