YK Li, E-DBA4 on staying ahead of the competition & the Fintech industry | École des Ponts Business School

YK Li, E-DBA4 on staying ahead of the competition & the Fintech industry

Based in Hong-Kong, YK LI is the Senior Director of ASTRI, Advanced Digital System (ADS) operating in the field of Fintech, AI, and Semiconductor. He joined ASTRI in 2006. Since then, he has started to build ADS and spearheaded its development. Under his leadership, ADS has developed into one of the core R&D teams at ASTRI generating multi-million-dollar revenue through commercialization of the technologies it developed. He accepted to share his insights on applied research and strategy.

YK, how have you managed to stay ahead of the competition with your Advanced Digital System ADS? What is your strategy?

Most importantly, we needed to understand what our core competence and competitive advantages were.  Once we targeted and positioned our product in the marketplace, we designed our strategy accordingly.  We continue to keep track of global technology and market trends through networking and asking for advice from different perspectives.  We can then better predict possible future trends, and make tiny improvements which can put us ahead of the competition.

What are the key qualifications and special qualities you look for in your core R&D teams? How do you manage them? How do you keep them? 

When I hire my R&D team members, I always look for their passion for the job first, and their job experience second, and their credentials third.  I do not mean skills and experience are not important.  But skills and experience can be learned on the job with a bit of time.   But passion cannot be learned.   Also, passion alone is not enough.  I have to understand the capacity of every individual and decide whether that individual will maximize the broader team’s performance.   Recruiting the right people is not easy. But the good ones are out there and we must offer them exciting ventures and rewarding environments.   I need team players who are willing to do battle and always remember one thing: it is all about the team.

How are you preparing for the outcome of Brexit?

Most of our industry partners are Hong Kong-based companies with limited exposure to the UK market. That said, we are closely monitoring the outcome of Brexit on the global economy to adjust our strategy accordingly.

You are currently taking your Executive DBA with us; can you explain a little about your Doctoral Research? What is it about? How is this impacting your ideas both for the company and for you personally?

Financial technology (Fintech) is recognized as one of the most important innovations in the financial industry and is evolving at a rapid speed, driven in part by the open economy, new blockchain methodology, and information technology. Fintech promises to reshape the financial industry by cutting costs, improving the speed of financial services, and creating a more diverse and secured financial landscape.

Since the Hong Kong government has shown their determination to support the local fintech ecosystem on the significance of this disruptive innovation, there has been an outpouring of fintech startups.  More than 200 new startups have been formed, although most are still very small in size and funding.  However, as of today, not many successful fintech startups have emerged yet.  In my research, a wide range of important factors will be studied on the success of fintech startups in Hong Kong.

Shenzhen is considered the Silicon Valley of China, an ecosystem of high-tech & software innovation. Would you agree it is the new Silicon Valley? 

Since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promoted “Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation” in 2015, many Chinese cities compete to adopt Silicon Valley’s model. So far, Beijing, is way ahead of Shenzhen regarding a number of unicorns. Even Shanghai and Hangzhou have more unicorns than Shenzhen.

Are you planning anymore E-DBA dinners/ get togethers in Hong Kong?

Yes! Contact me: yk.li@pontsbschool.com

25.1.2019 Celebrating the Chinese New Year in Paris with Executive DBA participants over Chinese hotpot with Maurizio Travaglini and Linda Crofton. Bharat braved (and survived!) the hottest chili-infused pot on the menu!



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