Kylin Prime Group’s CEO talks international investment
As China takes the lead in globalization, the people and investments from China are also going global. The Global Times (GT) talked with Martin O'Connor, the CEO of Kylin Prime Group, an international investment and asset placement company charged with aiding and promoting cross-cultural Sino-European exchanges, who shared his perspective on global investment and immigration.
GT: In recent years, international investment has been rife with risks and uncertainty. What does Kylin Prime Group, Ousheng & Partners do to help?
O'Connor: Any investment in any asset or class, whether it be a fund, enterprise, stocks or bonds, carries an inherent risk. At Kylin Prime Group, Ousheng & Partners we mitigate against risk by being with our clients every step of the way on their investment, lifestyle or cultural journey.
Our purpose and brand are built around creating futures for individuals and families, businesses, communities and local and national economies.
Our clients' investments are central to these shared ambitions, so we offer the fullest service to minimize risk. From the initial consultation on investment and life ambitions, we are able to use our portfolio of offerings to develop unique low-risk packages for our clients. Specialist investment advisory services, our own alternative investment funds and fund management companies direct responsibility for and management of our client assets, portfolio management and so on via specialist teams. They also oversee a whole integrated cultural, legal, educational and health package for all our clients.
We are with our clients every step of the way: financially, culturally and socially. This minimizes both financial and non-financial risk.
GT: The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' annual report on international politics and security suggested that China has become the largest immigrant-producing country in the world. How do you see the trend?
O'Connor: This is something that brings mutual benefits. Globalization is, arguably, the most important force influencing contemporary economic, political and social developments. The great increase in the number of Chinese people living abroad - some as students, others as businesspeople involved in numerous economic enterprises - contributes to globalization in two ways.
It adds to the Chinese awareness of the many forces and dynamics that constitute globalization and brings a Chinese element to the underlying ideas, culture and assumptions that constitute globalization.
This, in turn, makes globalization less of a purely Western phenomenon and more of a truly "global" one - something which will have very positive effects in the long term.
GT: What are the new challenges for international investment and immigration?
O'Connor: The financial crisis helped produce a reaction against immigration and some hostility towards international investment. It is absolutely crucial that this kind of reaction does not succeed in pushing states worldwide towards closing their borders and rejecting interaction with the outside world. In this context, China's Belt and Road initiative is a very interesting and welcome development, as it is founded on the need for countries to be more open to each other's trade, investment and migration.
GT: There is an increasing reluctance to engage with globalization in some countries. How do you see this phenomenon?
O'Connor: The answers to earlier questions emphasize that globalization is not simply an "irreversible force" but one with potential benefits for all. It does not mean that it does not have problems.
For example, some very large companies escape significant taxation essentially because of their "global" identity. But as long as these problems are tackled fairly and widely, more immigration and investment will help to keep the many good aspects of globalization alive.
GT: What suggestions can you offer to the people who want to invest and live abroad?
O'Connor: Social and cultural integration must be part of the plan alongside financial considerations. It is a symbiotic relationship.
My advice is rather simple and obvious: Be open and accepting of new cultures, but also don't lose sight of your own, which is a bit of a balancing act. Take the time to learn about and work with the people and culture you are involved with. Look for shared behaviors, ways of working, values and strive culturally for the best of both.
I live in Ireland, and it is my personal view that the Irish/Chinese cultural and business integration is a success story. Chinese immigrants in Ireland are respected very much for their integrity, diligence and commitment.
I have heard some criticisms that Chinese immigrants in some territories tend to keep to themselves rather than becoming more integrated into the broader community. That I believe would be a mistake. But the same applies to any group of people and its integration into and with another culture.
GT: In your previous interview, you mentioned that "future citizens" are those whose education coupled with their increased ability to travel allow them to gain global empathy, tolerance and understanding. Do you think that becoming a global or future citizen is the privilege of the rich?
O'Connor: While it is true that at the moment future citizens or global citizens are mainly drawn from the more privileged classes, it is vital that onlookers not see such people as privileged people who live in a bubble isolated from the real world.
Also, the world cannot change overnight. In previous comments, I mentioned that the business world, governments and appropriate bodies and councils should be pulling together and investing in the development of our future citizens. I reiterate that point.
But this has to start somewhere and needs commitment. I am not normally a user of other people's quotes, but there is one that has stuck with me through my personal and business life over countless years.
It is from the cultural and social anthropologist Margaret Mead, who said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." A cornerstone of our mission is to be and encourage others to be a growing group of thoughtful, committed citizens who can effect change globally.
We are currently in the advanced phase of establishing the Future Citizen Institute and the Kylin Prime Foundation. The former, which is via our dedicated academic and research team, is dedicated to supporting the understanding and development of our future global society, and the latter is a charity foundation which will develop and fund social and educational schemes, such as supporting the less privileged members of society.
For example, in Dublin, we are in discussions about an investment scheme, part of which is aimed at giving students from a poorer background the opportunity to gain access to a university education.
Developing the future citizen is a vision we believe in, and it's a vision that will take many years to become a reality. But it has to start somewhere. We hope our efforts can be a catalyst for this change.