Forbes Asia November 2021

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
unconventional wisdom

One long-standing commitment at Forbes is to question conventional wisdom. Whatever the popular notions, Forbes endeavors to give them a thorough reality check. This attitude is the thread that ties together the three lists in this month’s issue: Asia’s Power Businesswomen, China’s 100 Richest and the Forbes 400. Let’s start with the last first. Back in 1982, Forbes published its first 400 list. Many said it couldn’t be done—how could anyone estimate the fortunes of private individuals? Yet this list is still going strong as the definitive ranking of America’s wealthiest persons. This year is no different. One highlight is the feature on Sam Bankman-Fried, who at 29 has amassed a fortune estimated at $22.5 billion—the richest self-made newcomer in Forbes 400 history. Then there’s Asia’s Power Businesswomen list. The inspirational roots…

3 min
risk and reward

Success in business and investment, we are told, is about smart plans and execution. But success is about pivots, too, because the world is unpredictable. Success results from how we respond to surprises—good and bad. Covid-19 appeared and was worse than we thought. Suddenly a wonderful decade of global growth went into reverse. Bad surprise. But if we let enterprising minds work on a problem and let capital flow to those enterprising minds, happier news soon appears. Weeks after Covid-19 shut down the global economy, businesses figured out workarounds. “Five years of digital transformation occurred in six months,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in September 2020. The global economy did not go into depression. Good surprise. The world will always dish up surprises, good and bad. As 2021 draws to a…

22 min
asia’s power business-women 2021

It’s been nearly two years since Covid-19 erupted and the world’s business leaders had to come to grips with the new reality. Some have struggled to keep their companies afloat, but others, like the 20 business leaders on the 2021 Asia’s Power Businesswomen list, have adapted and thrived, seizing opportunities in the midst of challenges. Our listees this year hold leadership roles across industries spanning banking and private equity to manufacturing, healthcare and technology. All of them have marked new milestones—and in many cases expanded their businesses—despite the lingering pandemic. These 20 women, in their 30s to their 70s from around the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrate that gender and age can’t stand in the way of success. All the women highlighted this year are newcomers to the list, further expanding Forbes Asia’s network…

11 min
superapp hero

When the pandemic struck last year, superapp giant Grab’s ride-hailing business took a hit in Southeast Asia amid lockdowns and restrictions. “The first thing we thought about was how do we make sure that our driver partners could quickly pivot and that their incomes were at least supported in some shape or form,” says Grab group CEO and cofounder Anthony Tan in an exclusive interview with Forbes Asia, by video call. The solution? “Stop thinking it’s business as usual,” says Tan, 39. Tan says Grab asked its drivers to transport meals as well as people as pandemic-induced demand for food delivery spiked in the region (and worldwide). “We converted over 140,000 drivers in a very short period of time,” says Tan, including around 18,000 drivers in Malaysia in a single day.…

1 min
car guy

Tan grew up around cars. His late grandfather Tan Yuet Foh was a taxi driver in Malaysia who cofounded with family members what became Tan Chong Motor in 1957, which had snagged the right to import and sell Nissan cars in the country. Eventually Nissan (then called Datsun) became one of the most popular brands in the country, making the Tan family wealthy. Anthony is the son of Tan Heng Chew, Tan Chong’s president. His father expected him to someday join the business, and to improve his business skills, Tan went to Harvard Business School to get an M.B.A. in 2009. While there, he met McKinsey consultant Tan Hooi Ling, and the two wrote a business plan for a taxi-hailing app that won second prize in the school’s New Venture Competition…

14 min
growth engine

It’s been a tumultuous 12 months for mainland China’s richest. Shifts in government policy covering the education and tech industries, along with worries about real estate debt, led to many of the country’s largest private-sector companies experiencing steep share declines. A government push to promote “common prosperity” saw tycoons and tech companies announce billions of dollars in donations to social causes. Yet overall, China’s 100 Richest saw their collective net worth rise from last year’s list. Their total wealth increased to $1.48 trillion from $1.33 trillion a year earlier. Among the biggest gainers were those who benefited from increased sales at companies tied to green energy industries in which China is a global leader, such as lithium-ion batteries. China, the world’s largest auto market, also leads the world in EV sales.…