Investing in the Future

Investing in the Future

10 minute read

Bowen Lin




With rich experience in managing investments and finances across multiple projects and borders, ANU alumuns Bowen Lin, a senior excecutive in investment management, shares his business acumen on investment trends and trajectories.  





Q. 1.From your experience, could you identify the most significant investment change to the world of start-ups?

When I was younger and thought of setting up a start-up, I had to worry about finding the money to begin a business venture. However, that has drastically changed now. I think this change could be traced back to the 2014 announcement by the Chinese Government to support start-ups. In my view, this move was aimed at increasing growth in the Chinese economy, essentially moving away from low-tech goods and investing in bigger growth from ventures that involved technology. Thus, I believe that investment changes were noticeable after the introduction of such policies.

The period between 2014 and 2015 was hectic; the investment market was extremely vibrant. For instance, when you were seeking financial support for your start-up, an investment fund would not consider you serious enough if you sought less than AU$ 2 million. The logic being that if you invest more, you will earn more. An investment fund would typically like to invest in someone who is “ambitious”.

Q.2. How do you assess Beijing’s investment trajectory?

This is a hard question to summarise, as the trajectory is too extensive to compress. However, the best way to address this question would be point out the differences I noticed when I left Beijing in 2007 to study in Australia and returned in 2015.

Earlier, equity investments were regarded as privileges for wealthy individuals and institutions. However, the pattern of equity investments has significantly changed. If you participate in equity investment through a professional investment fund, the minimum investment could be as little as 1 million RMB, which is just over AU$200,000 - not a lot of money by Chinese business standards. What has further attracted more capital in the equity investment market has been the new peaks that businesses are scaling. For instance, a company like Alibaba could easily generate you tenfold investment returns, if you held shares before it got listed, these are unprecedented prosperous scenes playing out.

The other aspects to the Beijing investment trajectory are technology related investments, like bio-tech and healthcare. They are getting hotter and hotter, while investments in traditional industries like clothing, retail, and low-tech manufacturing is cooling down .

The ANU motto has really assisted me both personally and professionally...It compelled me to consider matters from beyond the surface.

Q. 3.What can the rest of the region and the world learn from the entrepreneurial spirit in Beijing?

Entrepreneurial spirit could be perceived differently through various prisms. However, Beijing’s entrepreneurial spirit could be broadly understood from three point of views. First, people should note its desire to be open and inclusive. This is a common trait for businesses here as they are always looking to accommodate more customers and larger volumes. Second, is the unparalleled perseverance and loyalty, which is an inherent trait of businesses that is widely noticeably not only in China but across the globe. Last but not least, Chinese entrepreneurs have a unique ability to adapt in the normality of constant change. For instance, businesses are paying constant attention to the rise and fall of the GDP or the ongoing trade war between US and China and are accordingly adapting to the situation.

Q. 4.Given that China is Australia's primary trading partner and both countries have established a strong business bond, what is your assessment and expectation of the China-Australia business partnership?

Late last year, Austrade CEO Dr Stephanie Fahey in an event in China had emphasised this business partnership where she encouraged Australian companies to focus their investments on the Chinese market. Economic and trade relations between China and Australia can develop an upward trajectory, where only more Australian products and services will be exported to China and more Chinese consumers will travel to Australia to boost Australia’s development. I am very confident that the trade between the two countries will scale even bigger heights. 

Q. 5.After graduating from ANU with a degree in Financial Management, you have held several key positions. In what ways do you feel your experience at ANU could be linked to your success?

Besides being well reputed and helping me find a job, The ANU motto has really assisted me both personally and professionally. It’s the Latin phrase "Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum", which loosely translates in English to “first to know the nature of things.” It compelled me to consider matters from beyond the surface. Every time I have an argument or face a problem, this phrase naturally comes to mind. 

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised courses in its Master of Financial Management. Click here for more details.