Tanoto Foundation is well known to be the philanthropic arm of Sukanto Tanoto where many philanthropy activities take place in Singapore, Indonesia and China. However, besides philanthropy, there are many other activities that the Foundation are actively engaged in. One of them is Entrepreneurship.
In a joint effort, the World Economic Forum Beijing Representative Office and the Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) organized the Sustainability of Chinese Entrepreneurial and Family Businesses Roundtable at the HKUST Business School Center. The event built upon the Asian Family Business Roundtable and the Asian Entrepreneurship Roundtable organized by the Tanoto Center in prior years.
More than 120 entrepreneurs and business leaders attended the sustainability-focused roundtable, as well as academics interested in family business and entrepreneurship research. The conversations focused on the sustainability of Chinese family businesses and related topics, including talent retention, corporate governance, and branding. Participants also considered the effects of globalization on Chinese entrepreneurship and discussed succession planning for family-owned organizations.
One of the most successful sessions at the roundtable featured business owners from two generations of the same family and focused on their differing perspectives of the sustainability of the business. The companies represented at the roundtable included the Chevalier Group, Fairmont Shipping, Tasly Group, and Crown Worldwide Group.
The roundtable represents the Tanoto Center’s mission to better understand entrepreneurship in the Asian, and especially Chinese, contexts, and to study trending topics in family business scholarship. As Professor Roger King, director of the center, pointed out, family businesses represent a large number of companies in Asia. In Hong Kong, families own about 70 percent of listed firms. Despite the economic power of these families, their businesses have received little academic attention, especially in terms of the most pressing issues they face, such as succession planning.
At the roundtable, professionals and academics had the unique opportunity to approach the subject in a systematic manner. These types of events will allow individuals from various countries to learn from each other’s mistakes and begin to create best practices for family business sustainability.