Robert Koepp says “I’m not bullish on China; I’m not bearish on China. What I strive to be is… balanced on China.” Having just returned in 2020 from some 15 years in-country, the last three of which were spent in Hong Kong—where he observed the protests, and speaks to them like few others can—Rob Koepp offers unique expertise and insights on China, its people, culture, politics, markets, and evolving role in the global economy.
What sets Rob apart from other keynote speakers on China and Asia is his unflinching perspectives on the forces propelling the dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region. In terms of his approach to understanding China, he stresses that to be truly balanced requires having a nuanced appreciation of what makes the country work. He recognizes that the Chinese government is officially Communist (in its own words, practicing “socialism with Chinese characteristics”) yet he also sees how when it comes to business, Chinese state and private enterprises can be as capitalistic—in some ways, more capitalistic—than the most competitive of Western businesses. Rob can explain the various ways that Chinese tech companies are protected by the notorious Great Firewall of China, yet also have legitimately succeeded in producing ground-breaking innovations that put the likes of some big American tech companies to shame.
He likewise can just as easily discuss China’s new “social credit system” which uses a vast, interconnected surveillance apparatus to track your every move—something so powerful as to do everything from prolonging the pain of a personal bankruptcy to shaming you publicly if you jaywalk! Frightening in its implications to those of us who value individual freedoms and privacy, Rob can also relate to the many ordinary Chinese who sing the system’s praises because of how it delivers safety and peace of mind for law-abiding citizens. As we say, his views on China are exceptionally… nuanced.
Robert Koepp is the founder and principal of Los Angeles-based Geoeconomix, an independent source for insights into the economics moving global markets, driving technology, and influencing government power. Prior to establishing Geoeconomix, Rob served as the director and the chief economist of the Corporate Network in Hong Kong and Beijing for The Economist Group, parent company of the weekly publication, The Economist. He is fluent in Mandarin as well as Japanese, and can deliver a keynote speech in either language.
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