David Thomas China Expert and Speaker

David Thomas

Well-known in the Asia Pacific region as a thought leader on China, CEO and founder of Think Global Consulting.

David Thomas delivers engaging, interactive and tailored keynote presentations to audiences of all sizes with a focus on the opportunities available in China and Asia.

Keynote speaker, thought leader and business futurist, David Thomas inspires, motivates and educates global business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors about the massive potential offered by modern China. He takes them on a journey to identify, build and facilitate long-term business and investment relationships and he arms them with the knowledge and tools to navigate the cross-cultural challenges.

Videos of David Thomas

David Thomas, BRIC expert
My China Journey
David Thomas speaker, talks about "BRIC, China and Emerging Markets" | 2016

Speaker Profile

About David Thomas

Get a complimentary copy of David's book

Grab a free copy of My China Insights


David Thomas is the CEO and Founder of Think Global Consulting. Think Global facilitates business and investment partnerships between Asia and Australia. In essence, David is a bridge builder providing a solid foundation for the west to do business with China in Australia, China and all over the world.

He believes that every company, large or small has to have a strategy for China. David travels from Asia to inspire, motivate and educate business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors around the world on the massive potential created by the rise of China and he supports them on their journey to identify, build and facilitate long term business and investment relationships.

David's unique value lies in his ability to not only identify business trends, opportunities and challenges in China, but also his "hands on" experience from having worked on the ground for the past 30 years. He is therefore able to illustrate and enhance his presentations by including practical examples, case studies and anecdotes from his own personal experiences and stories.

Having worked with SMEs from many industry sectors (e.g. retail, professional and financial services, manufacturing, food, tourism, education, publishing, real estate, design and technology) David's experience and expertise is broad and deep. He regularly speaks at Conferences, Workshops, Seminars and Board Meetings to a wide range of audiences and industry sectors and tailors his presentations accordingly.

He regularly travels around China working with local partners and investors, as well as hosting Chinese delegations and missions of investors, SMEs and entrepreneurs around the world. Find out more about David’s personal story in an interview with the China Daily Asia.

As a speaker and thought leader, David is charismatic, bold, friendly and has the unique ability to demystify a country that has been long hidden from Western view. He challenges people's thinking and views about China whilst empowering his audiences to see and understand the opportunities that working with China brings.

David wants people to take take another view and look differently at China.

Speaking Topics

A view to China

We have now entered a time that is already redefined by the uprising of China, not only in China but also in the western world. With Industrialisation and the rise of the Middle Class in China never before have the people of China been seeking Investment opportunities Internationally. The problem is that many people in the west are missing this opportunity due a lack of cultural IQ. If business leaders can embrace a view to China, then they will also be embracing an opportunity for business expansion today and in the future.

In this presentation, David Thomas presents trends and data pointing towards a new economy that will be molded by Chinese Investment. Cross Cultural barriers, traditional viewpoints with regards to globalisation and fear of the unknown is preventing business leaders from surfing a new and disruptive wave in International business. David Thomas dispels these common myths and presents the case that taking a view to China will determine the wealth of your business today and in years to come.

The audience will walk away from this presentation with a fresh perspective on China from a cultural and business point of view. He gives audiences the tools to dispel myths about China that may be inhibiting them from taking action. He also provides clear steps and takeaways for any organisation looking to raise their cultural IQ and seize and undeniable opportunity to gain access to a new world market.

Key Outcomes:
  • Future Trends
  • Leadership
  • Business Innovation
  • Cross Cultural Communication
  • Next Economy

Leading with a view to China

In the next economy taking a view to China will be non negotiable for any leader looking to disrupt, Innovate and grow market share. The reality is that China’s economic growth has just begun, and will only gain momentum in the future. The questions for leaders in the west will be whether they choose to react to the Influence of China, or instead choose to create a leadership strategy that harnesses this Influence as a growth opportunity.

In this presentation, David Thomas presents on some of the common challenges faced by leaders looking to embrace and activate a view to China. Creating a culture responsive to the Chinese market starts at the top. Having the ability to audit belief systems, In addition to developing China centric organisational cultures will be imperative to your success. will you choose to be a leader who supports and elevates Chinese staff and clients, or are you blind in your view to China?

Leaders will walk away from this presentation with a tool kit empowering them to audit their own leadership ability with regards to navigating a new economy redefined by the influence of China. A leader's responsibility is to culture,communication, and strategy that amplifies business growth, and taking a view to China should be at the heart of any forward thinking leadership strategy.

Key Outcomes:
  • Leadership
  • Leadership Innovation
  • Communication
  • Culture

A view to China: Cultural Intelligence

In the same way, IQ and EQ and key Indicators of performance and productivity CQ or Cultural Intelligence is a measure of an organisations ability to play and succeed in a globalised market. In the modern world, IQ is high, and EQ is on the rise, however, CQ has been left behind with many people in the west afraid to embrace a view to China. When was the last time you asked for feedback from a Chinese colleague about how your business is reaching the Chinese market?

In this presentation, David Thomas presents on the significance of building organisational cultural Intelligence with a view to China. China is everywhere and the businesses that can elevate and amplify Chinese staff in order to understand Chinese clients will be an on a runway to success in a next economy. Fundamentally 'CQ' is the art of understanding key differences in culture in order to build a bridge and develop cohesive working relationships that break down barriers of belief systems, culture, or language.

Audiences will walk away from this presentation with Insights and tools that will enable them to build organisational cultures that elevate and amplify the Chinese presence in organisations, in order to adapt and meet the needs of the emerging Chinese market.

Key Outcomes:
  • Culture
  • Communication
  • Leadership

A view to BRIC nations

China is at the heart of the next global economy yet there are a group of nations who, along with China, are positioning themselves for global domination. The ‘BRIC’ Nations include Brazil, Russia, India and China. These vast and growing nations collectively have ownership of an abundance of land, people and capital. All key economic inputs to drive prosperity today and into the future. How will you as a business leader, entrepreneur or investor respond to this unique opportunity to engage with a global market that has already taken flight?

In this powerful and thought-provoking presentation David Thomas presents unique insights, data and perspectives showcasing the emergence of the BRIC Nations as the main drivers of urbanisation, consumption, innovation, aspiration and globalisation. He will also identify key opportunities for organisations looking to break through local markets to establish new global business networks and markets.

Audiences will walk away from this presentation with a view to the unique business opportunities found within the BRIC Nations. David will empower them with the tools and strategies to lead, influence and drive global business opportunities that are timely, relevant and ripe for entry into new markets.

Key Outcomes:
  • Future Trends
  • Leadership
  • Business Innovation
  • Next Economies
  • Globalisation

Financial Services

Despite fears of future disruption caused by Brexit and the impact of globalisation, the UK’s financial services sector continues to be a major contributor to the growth of the UK economy, contributing 10% of the UK’s GDP, 11% of all taxes and 7% of all jobs.

As a regular visitor to China over the past 20 years, David has witnessed many changes himself and is at the cutting edge of China's transformation, particularly in the private sector. He works with Chinese entrepreneurs, investors and migrants to facilitate business and investment opportunities throughout the region and has much to say about how the Chinese think, negotiate and act. Get ready to be challenged, inspired and motivated to Think Global!

Real Estate Sector

UK’s real estate sector is at the forefront of Chinese investment into the UK. The Chinese demand for UK commercial property, both from Hong Kong and Mainland China, has reached record highs and, with revenues soaring in the past two years, it seems that the “golden era” of China investing in Britain has only just begun. Every urban planner, property developer and real estate agent needs to develop a view to China in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.

David has spent the best part of his adult life working with Chinese investors. Having lived and worked in Hong Kong in the 1980s/90s, he has spent the last 20 years building bridges with China in a wide range of sectors, including real estate.He has a deep and unique knowledge of dealing with Chinese investors and, as an experienced keynote presenter, he is delighting the real estate sector with his powerful insights, humorous delivery style and motivational call to action.


The greatest challenge and biggest opportunity for the UK’s economy in the next 30 years arises from the growth of the Asian middle class, particularly in China and India, and its impact in terms of migration, tourism and education.

With such explosive growth in the number of Asian tourists, UK’s tourism and retail sector is under pressure to become “China Ready” and to deliver to this rapidly growing group of tourists. But are we catering to these needs effectively? What are we doing right? What could we be doing better?

David is already well known in the tourism sector in Australia (as a regular speaker at China-Australia events) and is now in strong demand to inspire UK audiences to become “China Ready”


The UK is currently the second most popular destination for international students after the USA. British Universities are truly global institutions and international students in the UK generate invaluable economic, societal and cultural benefits, together with jobs in communities in every region of the UK.

David pays a keen interest in the opportunities, threats and challenges for the education sector seeking to maintain and enhance its relevance to Chinese and Asian students. He is regularly invited to speak at Student Associations and University events, including career nights and information nights, to encourage and support Chinese students in realising their ambitions to explore the local business culture via internships after completing their studies.


China has become significantly more conscious about the importance of health, food safety and medical services as a result of some of its well-publicised challenges:

  • rapid urbanisation
  • an ageing population caused by the ‘one child policy’ (China’s population of individuals aged 60 or older is set to rise by 90% to 240 million by 2020)
  • pollution and environmental degradation, leading to severe concerns about food safety, air quality and water sanitation
  • changing diets and lifestyles, leading to a sharp increase in western style health problems and diseases (for example, the number of diabetics in China has doubled in the last 5 years to over 100m people)

With over 300 million people still to be urbanised, and more than 500m people expected to enter middle class income brackets in the next 30 years, China’s healthcare sector represents a major growth opportunity for foreign and local players particularly in the UK which is widely recognised as one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world.

David is a regular visitor to China and actively involved in promoting expertise in the healthcare industry to the fast-changing medical and healthcare sector in China.

Food and Agriculture:

Throughout the last generation, Asia has become the fastest growing region on Earth, with hundreds of millions of people entering the global middle class. With higher incomes come greater expectations. People want cars, consumer goods, better schools for their children, better quality clothing, and international travel. David brings fresh and new perspectives to this topic from his deep knowledge and experience gained over many years working in the Asian region.

The future of your business and industry is here and now!

We live in the Asian Century. A massive wave of people, capital and resources are heading our way as cashed-up Asian middle-class consumers, tourists, students, migrants and entrepreneurs head to our shores and start participating in our economy. Whatever industry you are in, and whether you're an SME or working for a large institution, you can position yourself and your business to take advantage of the new opportunities arising from this fast-growing wave. All you need are the knowledge, tools and skills to adapt to the changing environment. Are you ready?

Business growth - capturing the Asian market

With the massive transformation taking place in China and the rest of Asia, many industries and sectors throughout the world are being disturbed, shaken up or changed forever. Innovative entrepreneurs and business leaders in the services sector, particularly in food, healthcare, education, tourism, real estate and financial services, are adapting quickly to the changing environment and staying ahead of the curve. How are you and your organisation placed for this disruption? How are you repositioning yourself to take advantage of the opportunities, whilst managing the risks? Will you be at the front or the back of this big wave of change?

Three cups of tea - the secret to building long-term sustainable business relationships in Asia

Any organisation or association grappling with the challenges of dealing with Asian Clients, customers, partners, distributors, suppliers or even employees will get great value from this presentation as he unbundles the 3 step process to unravelling cross-cultural differences and building an 'Asian friendly' business.

Eight Critical Steps-The critical path to launching your product, service or idea in China

Having supported large and small organisations in their China engagement strategy over many years and in many sectors, industries and cities, David has condensed everything he’s learnt into 8 simple steps. Any organisation seeking growth opportunities in China, either for exports, imports or to raise capital to fund new innovations, will get great value from understanding how each of these steps will have a big impact on their success or failure.

Bringing China to You - Do business with the Chinese without leaving home.

Over 100 million Chinese people are on the move as entrepreneurs, tourists, investors and migrants, and smart 'Asiancentric' businesses can position themselves to take advantage of the wave of capital, people and resources that is already flooding western markets. Businesses in the retail, tourism, healthcare, education, real estate, food and other services sectors will get great value from understanding how they can do business with the Chinese without leaving home!


"David recently presented at a client function on China's 12th Five Year Plan. His presentation was engaging, humerous and delivered in a relaxed manner and was well received by our clients. His insights into the China economy and future plans were enlightening even to our China delegates. We would not hesitate to use David again and would recommend him to anyone needing an engaging speaker." - Mary Oxley, DHL Global Forwarding

"I just wanted to say thanks for the very input into the workshops earlier this week. I thought your input was extremely valuable and we have had a lot of positive feedback from a number of the centres wanting to work with you again. I am also keen to have you here again and I'm working on possibilities at the program level. Thank you again." - LANCORP, PERTH

"We had David presenting at our National Conference this year and he really knows his stuff. Feedback from his session was excellent and there's little doubt that he's the master of his topic. We look forward to hearing more from David." - Robert Gerrish, Founder & Director, Flying Solo

"We really loved having David’s participation at our conference. Although it was a tough gig talking to our delegates during the gala dinner David did an excellent job and we’ve had a good number of members contact us regarding same. The topic was on point and so too David’s presentation." - Amanda Kohler, National Property & Commercial Manager, First National Real Estate – Corporate Office

"When building a bespoke forum and study tour experience out of Hong Kong for our Practice Principals, it was clear we needed to engage a China expert. Someone with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the region and who would be able to translate these into learnings relevant to the Australian advice professional and business owner. All roads led us to David and from the outset his knowledge and willingness to open doors for us proved invaluable. We also had David address our group as a keynote speaker which rated as one of the standout sessions of the program. We were thrilled with David's contribution to the success of the Magnitude Principals Forum and hope to work with him again in the future." - Jessica Brady, National Manager, Licensee and Offer Development at BT Group Licensees, BT Financial Group

"David is a very knowledgeable and engaging presenter, who connected well with the CPA Australia audience." - Michelle Coleman, Product Development Executive, CPA Australia

"David is a great presenter and an expert in his field. He has an amazing depth of knowledge and is very easy to work with. He will put a great amount of effort into ensuring that your audience leaves with meaningful key messages that relate to their business." - Melanee Mak, Marketing and Events Manager, Russell Investments

"David Thomas was the opening keynote speaker at our Danish CFO Agenda conference in Copenhagen, where we gathered 200 CFOs and finance leaders from large Danish companies for a day of inspiration and discussion. The delegates were all very positive about the performance and content delivered by David. He is a great speaker and facilitator and very knowledgeable on his topic" - Dorthe Harding Keilberg, Partner, Deloitte Consulting A/S, Denmark

"David delivered a great speech at the Business of Real Estate conference this year on developing positive business relationships with Chinese, by understanding culture, insightful & interesting." - Bindi Norwell, CEO, The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand

"David spoke at our Directors Conference in Hong Kong in June this year. The presentation was absolutely amazing. His ability to provide us with a very entertaining mix of history, economics, social development and future trends was exceptional. He also provided a great mix of content very relevant to our industry as well as general content that was both fascinating and educational for any business person." - Nick Dowling, CEO, Jellis Craig

"David was the highlight of our recent real estate event for business owners. He provided loads of practical tips on how to embrace the opportunities in China. His talk was highly relevant, entertaining (lots of brilliant English humour) and everyone walked away with ideas they can use immediately in their business to make the most of the Chinese market." - Leanne Howard, Head of Growth & Client Engagement, Real Estate Results

"Having recently travelled the breadth of the country to listen to leading edge speakers in regards to real estate, I found your presentation extremely refreshing and addressed in very straightforward and easy to understand and implement, format. Your presentation was very pertinent and inspiring with regards to many areas of our business and how we present ourselves to the Chinese market." - Mark Hay, Owner, Mark Hay Realty

"David recently presented at a client function on China's 12th Five Year Plan. His presentation was engaging and delivered in a relaxed manner and was well received by our clients. His insights into the China economy and future plans were enlightening even to our China delegates." - Mary Oxley, Regional Sector Head Consumer & Retail, DHL GLobal Forwarding

"David Thomas recently spoke at one of our conferences and we had some great feedback from our participants. His presentation was described as cutting edge, insightful, highly researched and thought-provoking. So if you are looking for a speaker with ideas about the best way to take a business or any idea global, then David is someone that you definitely need to get to know and work with." - Dale Beaumont, Founder & CEO, Business Blueprint

"We had David presenting at our National Conference this year and he really knows his stuff. Feedback from his session was excellent and there’s little doubt that he’s the master of this topic. We look forward to hearing more from David." - Robert Gerrish, Founder & Director, Flying Solo

"I just wanted to pass on my sincere thanks for your excellent presentation to our senior bankers and customers on China and India. The feedback from the session has been overwhelmingly positive. The energy and clear insight that you brought to the Masterclass was a real strength. I look forward to continuing to work together on future events." - Rachel Slade, Former Head of International Products, Westpac Banking Corp

"When building a bespoke forum and study tour experience out of Hong Kong for our Practice Principals, it was clear we needed to engage a China expert. Someone with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the region and who would be able to translate these into learnings relevant to the Australian advice professional and business owner. All roads led us to David and from the outset his knowledge and willingness to open doors for us proved invaluable. We also had David address our group as a keynote speaker which rated as one of the standout sessions of the program. We were thrilled with David's contribution to the success of the Magnitude Principals Forum and hope to work with him again in the future." - Jessica Brady, National Manager, Licensee and Offer Development at BT Group Licensees

"Thank you again for your well researched and informative presentation at the ATEC Meeting Place conference last week. Your presentation on the BRIC economies and with a twist on the tourism opportunities was well received by our members, and I had much positive comment at the event and over email in the last few days on the quality of your presentation." - Gary O'Riordan, Deputy CEO, Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC)

Books By David Thomas

  • Eight Critical Steps for your China Market Entry Strategy
  • My China Insights

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