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.

Speaker Video

David Thomas - Showreel

David Thomas - Showreel

David Thomas- China Speaker Showreel -Ovations

David Thomas- China Speaker Showreel -Ovations


Such a dynamic, engaging speaker. His keynote was very well received by our audience.…

Property Profile Group

Rated as one of the standout sessions of the program.

BT Group Licensees

The energy and clear insight that you brought to the Masterclass was a real strength.

Westpac Banking Corp

Cutting edge, insightful, highly researched and thought-provoking. A speaker with ideas…

Business Blueprint

Extremely refreshing and addressed in very straightforward and easy to understand and…

Mark Hay Realty

Loads of practical tips on how to embrace the opportunities in China. His talk was highly…

Real Estate Results

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' (, 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.

Speaking Topics

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


David Thomas is well known within the Asia Pacific region for his passion and experience for investing and doing business in emerging markets, notably the four “BRIC countries” (Brazil, Russia, India and China) plus the growing influence of China as the engine of global economic growth and the rise of the Asian middle class. Having lived in Asia for the last 30 years, he literally lives and breathes emerging markets. His broad and diverse experience includes:

  • designing, organising and leading research and study tours for professional asset managers to each of the four BRIC countries
  • for five years on the Advisory Board of the Emerging Markets Masters Fund, he has direct hands-on experience of investing in emerging markets (includes overseeing asset allocation, fund selection, currency and stock analysis etc.)
  • regularly travelling around Asia working with entrepreneurs and investors to review and select new opportunities in emerging businesses

Past speaking engagements include:

  • AMP– fundamentals of investing in the ‘BRIC’ and ‘MINT’ countries
  • Deloitte – the importance of BRIC for European investors
  • Westpac – doing business and investing in China and India
  • PNG Investment Conference – what can PNG learn from the BRIC countries?
  • Colonial First State - Investing in Emerging Markets – local v global


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


Whilst IQ, and more recently EQ, were once regarded as the highest and most sought after qualities of leaders in western organisations, future leaders will be selected and judged by their levels of “CQ” i.e “Cultural Intelligence”, including their ability and aptitude for managing teams from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, overseeing cross-cultural communications, and handling cross-border negotiations and transactions. Very few of these skills are taught in western educational institutions and much of this has to be learnt from experience, trial and error, and listening to those who have done it all before.

David Thomas has spent the last 30 years living, working and managing relationships in the Asia Pacific region, including leading numerous missions, delegations and study tours to China designed to support western leaders on the ground and to highlight and address some of the cross-cultural challenges for their business and their teams, which always makes the difference between success and failure.

Past speaking engagements include:

  • Property Profile Group Asia Day – Developing an Asian mindset
  • William Grants & Sons, UK – Three Cups of Tea
  • First National Annual Conference – Doing business with Asians
  • Louis Vuitton – How to sell luxury products to high net worth Asians

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.

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.

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

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