Over the course of my career as correspondent, editor and consultant, I’ve interviewed hundreds of CEOs, experts and policy makers, and spoken to groups large and small at corporate events and media conferences around the world. Recent engagements have included events sponsored by the Asia Society, Bloomberg, the Harvard Club, Hong Kong University, HSBC, JP Morgan, McKinsey & Company, Morgan Stanley and National Geographic magazine. Audiences respond to my ability to frame complex ideas clearly and memorably. I particularly enjoy leading discussions with executives and experts, and work hard to keep conversations lively, interactive and spontaneous.


Economic trends, global competitiveness, investment strategy, emerging economies, comparative development models, leadership and management, technology and innovation, diplomacy and geopolitics in Asia. 



“Clay’s level of preparation was exceptional, adding detailed knowledge of the participants’ fields of interest to his wide-ranging knowledge of the subject matter. Working in both English and Japanese, Clay demonstrated an impressive capacity to guide our group of experts through real discussion of a complex subject. His highly personable manner allowed him to create a very positive dynamic while ensuring that each participant expressed themselves on a point relevant to their expertise. The feedback we received from participants and non-participating stakeholders alike was unanimous: Clay’s moderation was an essential part of the success of our event.”
-- Rebecca Hill, International Marketing Director, National Geographic

For speaking engagements please contact:



Is China the next Japan?

Only a year ago, China’s economy was considered an unstoppable juggernaut, and was widely praised as a dynamic growth engine helping the rest of the world bounce back from the Global Financial Crisis. No more. China enters 2016 beset by soaring debt, a collapse in stock prices and rumors of capital flight. GDP growth has fallen to its slowest pace in 25 years and government leaders have set even lower targets for the coming year – prompting many Western investors to compare China to another fast-growing Asian economy that once looked unstoppable: Japan.  The parallels between the two economies are striking. Both Japan and China embraced economic models that suppressed consumption and boosted savings rates to fuel investment-led growth. Both economies were centrally controlled, channeled too much public investment to unproductive infrastructure projects, and let private investment in stock and property prices race ahead of GDP growth. Both economies cosseted “zombie” banks, and came under pressure from the US to prop up the value of their currency. Moreover, China will soon become an aging society just like Japan. Is China doomed to follow Japan into decades of economic stagnation? Can Beijing change course quickly enough put the Chinese economy back on track?  

China’s global champions:

Chinese companies account for 98 of the Fortune Global 500, and will likely claim at least 200 places on that list by 2030. In recent years, Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Lenovo and Huawei have expanded overseas operations, and Chinese investors have made a string of high-profile foreign acquisitions including Sweden’s Volvo, America’s largest pork producer and New York’s iconic Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Beijing has sought to encourage the global aspirations of its giant firms with an official “go out” campaign and a bold plan to revive the trading routes of the old Silk Road. But how global are China’s new “global champions”? How competitive are they relative to established Western multinationals? What problems do they face as they press beyond the borders of their home market? And is Beijing’s support for China’s would-be globalizers more hindrance than help? 

Is the age of “globalization” over?

For the past two decades, few ideas have gripped the imagination of world business leaders with greater force than “globalization.” Goldman’s Jim O’Neill help persuade us in 2001 that in the new century, most wealth would be generated in markets we used to think of as poor, especially four big economies he called the BRICs. Tom Friedman declared the world was flat, and argued that emerging markets, together with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and rapid advances in digital technologies, had spawned a new era in which distance, geography and national borders were obsolete. And in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, investors and business elites everywhere seemed embrace the idea of globalization with new fervor, seeking salvation from the two largest emerging markets, China and India. But over the past year, the global consensus on globalization has come unraveled. Emerging markets had a rotten year. Brazil and Russia are sliding into chaos. China has posted its worst GDP growth in a quarter century. As New Yorker columnist John Cassidy put it, “What was once seen as a historic transformation in emerging economies now looks suspiciously like a global bubble in commodities and credit, which will end the way bubbles usually end: by bursting.” In India, Narendra Modi’s efforts to make the economy attractive to foreign capital have fallen far short of expectations. In China, Western investors report a new hostility to foreign investment. In the West, meanwhile anti-immigrant sentiment is rising in the US and Europe, and all four leading US presidential candidates now rail against free trade. Is the Global Century already over? To borrow business scholar Pankaj Ghemwhat’s memorable phrase, was all that talk of globalization just a lot of “globaloney”?

Can China innovate?

China, long known as the world’s factory, is rapidly climbing the value chain. Yes, it is a haven for copycats and crooks. Yes, its education system still struggles with problems of rote learning, plagiarism and cronyism. And censorship of the Internet and news media inhibits China’s creativity. Even so, Western critics who dismiss China’s capacity for innovation are wrong. In consumer-led sectors such as online commerce and efficiency-led sectors like manufacturing, China is already a global leader. And in more complex sectors like engineering and pure science, it is quickly catching up. 


  •  A tale of two factories: a comparison of the Chinese and Indian models of economic development
  • Five Chinese technologies that will change the world
  • Mobile payments: The next phase in China’s digital revolution
  • “Internet sovereignty”: how Beijing thinks about the Internet
  • China goes to Hollywood (and vice versa): how China’s emergence as the world’s largest box office will transform the global film industry and the movies we watch
  • The rise and fall of Macau
  • The future of Hong Kong
  • The world according to Xi Jinping
  • Is “Abenomics” dead?
  • US presidential elections: the stakes for Asia