Promoting sustainable global trade through digital engagement

Container ship passing under Golden Gate Bridge

International trade is one of those things few of us think about on a daily basis (headlines excepted), but now and again we’re reminded of its colossal scale. I remember crossing Belcher Bay in Hong Kong once and seeing a mammoth container ship nonchalantly pass by, like a floating skyscraper.  God knows what it was carrying. Ancient mummies? Japanese toilets?

Fact is, the importance of trade to the world is enormous., and any wobble is going to be felt. There’s the trade dispute between China and the US , for instance, and closer to home, the Brexit shenanigans. The impact of these events will affect us all to a greater degree than almost anything else.

So it’s exciting to be providing digital support to a philanthropic organisation that is influencing the international trade debate. The Hinrich Foundation was founded in 2012 by an entrepreneur with an incredible career in international trade of six decades – and counting – and a solid vision. The founder’s mission: to encourage peace between nations through promoting sustainable trade.

The organisation does this through education and trade research. Take for instance the Digital Trade Project, which sizes the value of the digital trade opportunity for economies in Asia, including Malaysia recently (yes, I need to rethink my hair, among other things):

The Digital Trade Project has shown that digitally enabled services in Indonesia, for example, could grow by 13 percent by 2030, driven by online video advertising, among other exports. In even more relatable terms, demand for Indonesian content is growing. Perhaps you have heard of YouTube personality Raditya Dika – the standup comic is hugely popular outside his home country. 

I’m confident that Hinrich Foundation content will also grow in appeal among relevant audiences. I’m less certain about other predictions – don’t ask me about how the trade war between the US and China will pan out, or even Brexit’s prospects…

Geeking out in Reading with an update on Chinese digital trends

Huawei smartphone

From Alipay to WeChat, China’s internet is transforming the world, so I was excited to present the latest statistics on Chinese digital trends at Reading Geek Night on a cold Reading night in January. I’d first delivered a talk on Chinese tech in 2013, and much has changed since:

Reading is a top tech town, and no strange to China, either – behemoth Huawei has its head office located at Green Park (unfortunately there was no one from Huawei at the event – maybe it was the cold weather…).

World’s top beaches named by Flight Network

Qixingtan Beach, Taiwan

Happy New Year! 

The start of another year is a good time for must-see and must-do this that and the other lists, including places and experiences from around the world.

If you’re already planning a 2019 getaway somewhere special, online travel agency Flight Network has helpfully identified the top beaches across all continents with the support of 1,000 travel professionals. Judges included journalists, editors, bloggers and agencies. I was kindly asked for my own nominations. Being the well-seasoned traveller that I am, I was happy to oblige.

The index of 411 beaches is topped by perennial postcard favourite Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, whose eye-searingly blue image has adorned office screensavers for decades (probably).

Shipwreck Beach is followed by Whitehaven Beach in Queensland, Hidden Beach in El Nido, Praia do Sancho in Pernambuco, and Tulum Beach in Quintana Roo – all suggesting that we all love a beach in the tropics more than anywhere.

Maya Bay in Phi Phi, Thailand, is curiously ranked 9th – while stunning, it’s currently closed to tourists, a victim of its own success.

A great beach needn’t be palm-fringed perfection, however. A suggestion of mine, Qixingtan Beach in Taiwan, was ranked 23rd among Asian beaches. It’s spectacular location, where 3,000 metre mountains drop sharply to meet crystal-clear waters of the Pacific, make it a winner in my eyes. 

In addition to listing beaches by continent, Flight Network has compiled untouched beaches and city beaches – the latter is useful if you’re planning to relocate as a digital nomad or professional this year. 

 You can see the full World’s Best Beaches for 2018 here.