Business leaders in China join hands with their Taiwanese counterparts to network and explore opportunities for the cause of Christ.
Contributed By Theresa Tan
It was a meeting of Asian Christians in the corporate and business worlds; three countries converging in Taiwan.
On May 1, Christian corporate leaders and business people from Singapore’s The Marketplace group traveled to Taipei for a week of exploratory meetings with Cypress Leadership Institute of China, led by renowned China economist Zhao Xiao.
This was the first ever business delegation to go from China to Taiwan. The purpose was the exchange of ideas and exploration of opportunities with fellow Christians in Asia. The delegation included economists, top government officials from China’s central government, property developers, and entrepreneurs from a range of industries: pharmaceuticals, oil, media, manufacturing, consumer products, minerals, mining, construction and more. As this was a historical event, it was covered by major Taiwanese media and press—Zhao, in particular, was a much sought-after interview subject.
Many of the business people from CLI are also pastors—their congregations comprise their employees. CLI was established end 2007, in response to the Chinese gospel movement and also increasing demands and challenges in leadership. CLI received a vision to be “a city on a hill, a nation of integrity, a blessing to the world,” with a clear goal of “empowering servants leaders to be salt and light in China through commerce, culture and education, to renew China and help her to bless the world.” CLI has about 5,000 members. Twenty-five of them were on this trip.
PEACE & PROSPERITY FOR TAIPEI
The Marketplace worked with New Life Church in Taipei to organize two seminars that week. New Life Church, pastored by Abraham Ku, is a 2,300-member church that is popularly known as “the celebrity church” due to the large number of Taiwanese entertainers in its congregation. “The Marketplace was looking for a strong church to partner with for our future collaborations with CLI in China and all over Asia,” explained Goh Yock Kiang, CEO of The Marketplace, who headed the Singapore group of four people.
The seminars centered around how Taiwan and China can create mutually-beneficial ties once they reconcile.
The first session covered the challenges and changes in China’s economy, including the trade collaboration between China and Taiwan. It is a challenge for China but the country is evolving and responding well to the changes. The future looks interesting, with China’s demand and consumption rising to equal that of the US and European Union put together.
Taiwan’s GDP for 2009 was -3.95 but by 2010, it was 14.05. This was largely due to the growth of China’s economy. The economies of China and Taiwan have become intimately bound to one another, particularly with strong investments by the Taiwanese into China.
Beyond pure investments, other sectors in Taiwan have also boomed due to the China connection. In 2010, out of five million tourists that visited Taiwan, 1.63 million were from China, and they brought in close to USD2.1 billion worth of spending.
All these swift and exciting developments present a tremendous opportunity for Christians in Taiwan to embrace and equip the Chinese who come to the faith.
After the seminars, the delegation visited different companies and organization to network and exchange ideas.
“We met business leaders who are not only successful in their industries, but who use their businesses to glorify God and serve Him,” describes Goh. The group met many heads of big-name organizations.
The delegation heard inspiring testimonies of Christians in business. There was the story of Cher Wang, founder of HTC, who, according to Forbes magazine, is the richest person in Taiwan, together with her husband Wen Chi Chen. Hers was a story of forgiveness, prayers and discipleship; Wang has been unabashed in her profession of her Christian faith to the media. Wang attributed her success to a father who mentored her, a mother who prayed for her six hours a day, and godly counsel from her church leaders.
Following that, there was the testimony of the media tycoon from recording company EMI who spoke of his recent salvation and how being a Christian has brought transformation into his company. He created a new department under the company’s human resources arm, and this department’s main job is to share God’s love with employees through counseling for career issues, interpersonal relationship conflicts and management problems.
The general manager of advertising and public relations company Ogilvy shared on walking in truth in the world of complex public relations. Everlight Group is a listed Christian company that bases its management philosophy, products, mission and values entirely on Biblical principles.
The delegates were also privy to a special session with Pacific Construction. The CEO of the company told the attendees how he listened to God when making business decisions. As he shared, the Holy Spirit came upon the business people present—all were baptized in the Spirit. The evening ended with one of the province governor being water baptized at the hotel.
The Singapore delegation marveled at what they witnessed that week. “What impressed me the most is that the businessmen here in Taiwan really do make a difference,” said Ee Boon Kiat, director of Kianson, the largest composite wood distributor in the Asia Pacific region.
“They are bold in expressing their faith. They are not just businessmen who happened to be Christians; they are Christians who do business for God and use their businesses for God!”
As the saying goes: “God will bring the blessing to you if He knows He can bring the blessing through you.” Francis Kho, Ee’s co-director, was moved by the businessmen’s eagerness to give. “At a meeting with Good TV, the businessmen learned about the station’s commitment to bring the Gospel to China. Right on the spot, one of them made a bank transfer of S$500,000 to Good TV. Some others gave S$50,000 … they all raised money there and then. One guy said, ‘I have made a lot of money for God; now I want to spend it for God.’”
It was an eye-opener for the Singaporeans to see that successful business individuals could be passionate Christians who are eager for God’s will to be done. Said Wang Jiaxuan, of Asia Entrepot (a leading supplier of vehicle seating products in Asia Pacific), “I’m so encouraged that all this big-time business people are not only good in business, but they know the Word so well! They can preach and minister the power of the Holy Spirit. They truly are kingdom-minded—the kingdom of God comes before their business. In fact, many of them are pastors too.”
For Goh, “This trip has been enriching for The Marketplace. Besides the spiritual input, I am glad that the our members have discovered many potential business opportunities, and had the chance to make certain very crucial and significant contacts who can smoothen the process of doing business in China.”
To watch the reality of Christians at work, transforming societies and economies, is sheer inspiration. “The Gospel has its roots in China’s farming community, and then penetrated the intellectual community and the wealthy community, and now it has penetrated into the highest echelons, touching those with tremendous political power and authority,” said Goh.
“I believe we are living in a new day. When I was in China, I received an email from Pastor Pat Francis, who shared how as a pastor she has invested USD1 billion into Ghana and another USD1 billion into Batam through her company Elomax.
“Such investments are for more than just profit—they open a door to bring about transformation in a country. We are seeing servanthood leaders rising to be salt and light in China and across the world through commerce, culture and education.”