Chairman, Malaysia-China Greater Bay Area Technology and Innovation Alliance

Speaking Session

6 November 2023, Monday

3.35 Pm - 5.00 pm

Short Biography

A serial entrepreneur and former multinational executive with strong cross-cultural management experience, MR. STEPHEN LAI spent over 30 years accumulating hands-on business experience and extensive people networks while overseeing offices in Singapore (HQ), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Saigon and Mumbai and pioneering large scale commodity and investment conferences in seven major cities across Asia.

Currently a business mentor and fund raising adviser to tech start-up CEO’s in Silicon Valley, Singapore and Penang, Stephen also consults with Chinese enterprises in the areas of international business and partnership development especially in ASEAN countries.

A former Adviser to BuonMaThuot Coffee Exchange Centre, Vietnam’s first commodity exchange, Stephen’s varied international career includes a stint as Chief Representative (ASEAN) for one of China’s largest fintech solution providers listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Regional Business Development with global financial information giant Reuters, Investment Technology Manager with Koeneman Capital Management – Asia’s first quant-based boutique investment firm founded by former Head of Equities at Government of Singapore Investment Corporation – and Business Consultant to Singapore Government’s premier ICT R&D Centre, Kent Ridge Digital Lab (later renamed A*STAR).

Stephen is currently Chairman of Malaysia-China Guangdong-Hong Kong -Macao Greater Bay Area Technology and Innovation Alliance and Founder-President of Penang-Chengdu Friendship Association.  During 2012-2014, he was tasked to promote internationalisation of China enterprises under the Belt and Road Initiative when he was appointed Executive Adviser to the President of China (Shenzhen) Chamber of International Commerce/Director of China (Shenzhen) Council for the Promotion of International Trade. In addition, Stephen served as Deputy Director on the China (Shenzhen) Financial Expo Planning Committee chaired by Shenzhen Mayor for 5 years.

An Industrial Adviser and Adjunct Professor at DRB-HICOM University of Automotive Malaysia, Stephen is also an Industrial Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). An  MBA graduate majoring in international finance from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Stephen earned double degrees in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

A Chung Ling (Penang) alumnus and former ASEAN Scholar (Singapore), Penang-born Mr Stephen Lai served as Strategic Adviser to Penang State Minister for Trade, Industry and Entrepreneur Development in his home state in Malaysia during 2018-2021.