While not as well-known and abundant as the West, the Asia-Pacific has their own share of brilliant industry thought leaders. In this article, we will take a look at five famous thought leaders in Asia that have made a difference in their respective fields and see how they have approached their thought leadership content strategies.
1. Akina Ho
Image taken from LinkedIn
Approach: Keynote speaker/panel moderator appearances, focus on specialty
She is a strategist and innovator well-known for revolutionizing the way businesses do things with the power of technology. Currently, she is the Head of Digital Transformation & Innovation of multinational corporation Great Eagle Holdings Limited, a part-time board member of Hong Kong PropTech Association, which aims to bring together key players in property technology, and an advisory board member of BEETc., a group which handles international senior-level thought leadership conferences about technology and business.
Her thought leadership content strategies focuses on being a keynote speaker and panel moderator, appearing in many webinars and conferences centered around digital innovation and business, such as the 8th Digital Transformation Asia 2021, InspireHR 2021, Corporate Innovation Summit 2021 and the upcoming State of Marketing in Hong Kong 2021 webinar. While not having much of a social media presence apart from LinkedIn, her frequent appearances in these events speaks to her credibility as well as her efforts to volunteer for these roles. Even as early as 2000, when modern technology is still at its infancy, she has already walked the path of digital innovation, spearheading the first online financial application for online payment and account aggregation of Outcome Inc, USA. A long-standing list of experience in her specialty, coupled with a constant stream of appearances in events is how she maintains her position as an influential industry thought leader.
2. Thanawat Wiwatpanit
Image taken from LinkedIn
Approach: Localized content
Thanawat Wiwatpanit is the Head of Sales and Channel Partners of SUPERNAP Thailand, a globally-recognized data center catering to large companies, multinationals, government and cloud service providers. He has worked before as Head of Cloud Services and IT Service Management Manager, and has over 15 years experience in the IT field.
The SUPERNAP Thailand site has a thought leadership section where Thanawat Wiwatpanit conducts webinars about IT and data services in their local language, Thai. English is a language not frequently-spoken in Thailand, with the country ranking 89th out of 100 in the EF English Proficiency Index 2020. In this case, speaking in Thai can help connect with potential clients better as the content can be more understood, especially considering that it deals with complex, technical subjects. The SUPERNAP site itself has a toggle between English and Thai. Aside from self-hosted webinars, SUPERNAP also regularly participates in virtual events, summits and conferences in Thailand and Southeast Asia, with either Nitipong Boon-Long, SUPERNAP’s Commercial Director, or CEO Sunita Bottse participating as a speaker. The target audience’s language and culture should be within the considerations of a thought leader in Asia, where many languages and cultures exist and interact.
3. Sunil Kumar Vuppala
Image taken from LinkedIn
Approach: Educational content in data science through papers, lectures, interviews, etc.
Sunil Kumar Vuppala is the Director of Data Science of telecommunications company Ericsson GAIA in Bangalore, India. He is a famous thought leader in the field of data science, being recognized as one of the top 10 data scientists in India in 2019 and awarded the Zinnov Award 2020 for his contributions in AI and data science in enabling business innovation.
As an expert who has garnered prestigious awards, Vuppala has been invited by many parties to share his insights on everything AI and data science. A simple Youtube search of his name would display video archives of his talks at summits, seminars and forums. Additionally, he has written articles on data science in Towards Data Science, published papers in both international journals and conferences and delivered more than a hundred guest lectures. Vuppala’s profession as a data scientist lets him gains frontline access to developments in the field, and then condenses it into talks and articles which the everyday people could digest, which is the hallmark of a great industry thought leader.
4. Farouk Meralli
Image taken from the official mClinica Twitter account
Approach: Acknowledging what people need and want; blog, case studies, podcasts
Farouk Meralli is the founder and CEO of mClinica, a mobile health technology startup in Singapore that enables pharmacies across Asia to access important health and patient data through its platform. He has been awarded the 2017 Public Health Innovator Award by his alma mater, Harvard University, for his leadership efforts and contributions in public health.
During his work at previous pharmaceutical companies, he observed how fragmented pharmacy industries are in developing countries and how it made the sharing of information difficult, and thus sought to provide a platform for health information to be shared and accessed across pharmacies in Asia. This dedication to service and eagerness to address the needs of the people has made Meralli a trusted partner and mClinica a trusted brand. Their thought leadership content supplements this vision, with a blog, newsletter and showcase of case studies that highlight the importance of pharmacies in providing healthcare as well as relay news on healthcare in Southeast Asia. Meralli has also appeared in podcasts such as the Indo Tekno Podcast and Tony Estella’s Digital Health Today to further give personal insights on his social entrepreneurship. Thought leaders in Asia should avoid neglecting their social responsibility as their content has the power to change society for the better.
5. Reynaldo (Rey) Lugtu, Jr.
Image taken from the Institute for Digital Transformation site
Approach: Articles within a wide range of media outlets, output consistency
Rey Lugtu is the founder and CEO of Hungry Workhouse, a digital and culture transformation consulting firm in the Philippines that assists companies in upscaling through strategic and technology planning. As a veteran of the ICT industry and business world, he connects his expertise on subjects such as sociology, anthropology, and other social sciences alongside digital technology to view and analyze issues more holistically. This has led him to become a famous thought leader, public speaker, educator and columnist.
This is evidenced by his numerous thought leadership pieces not only in his expertise but also in many other subjects, which can be found in popular news sites such as The Manila Times, BusinessWorld and Manila Bulletin. His articles are well-backed with statistics and inserts snippets from his own experience to give a well-rounded perspective on the subject. Lugtu’s consistency in delivering high-quality and thoughtful articles and participating in virtual events and workshops is something aspiring thought leaders in Asia should emulate in their thought leadership content strategies.
In a previous article, we have talked about how thought leaders in Asia and the Pacific are at a seeming disadvantage due to the dominance of the West. However, we have now seen how different thought leaders in the Asia-Pacific have strategized their thought leadership efforts to gain an edge and address Asia-based circumstances. It may be a challenge to make a name for yourself as an APAC thought leader, but thinking up solutions to problems has been and will always be a thought leader’s greatest asset.
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Visual by: Russel Sastrillo