Continuing to browse our website indicates your consent to our use of cookies. For more information, see our Privacy policy.

Upcoming Events

Harnessing opportunities: Catalyzing growth in the data-driven economy

The digital economy holds enormous promise for sustainable growth and fostering innovation requires regulations that are fit for purpose. Examine the opportunities presented by cross-border data flows and the challenges they face in this webinar, featuring four experts from around the world.

The emergence of agreements focused on digital trade reflects a global economy that is increasingly digital – and powered by data. The opportunities ahead – particularly for small businesses – may be limited, however, by the growing number of new regulations on data flows across the Asia Pacific region, including in China.

Join our webinar for an examination of the opportunities presented by cross-border data flows, and the challenges they face. Can mega trade agreements such as the CPTPP ease the challenges? Will such agreements evolve to reflect the changing dynamics? What is the impact on businesses, particularly the small businesses that drive the regional economy?

This virtual forum will convene experts from around the world, from the US to Australia and China, to discuss the criticality of cross-border data flows for the digital economy.

Speakers include:

  • Kurt Tong, Partner, Asia Group
  • Michaela Browning, Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Asia Pacific
  • Thomas Abell, Chief and Advisor, Digital Technology for Development Unit, Asian Development Bank
  • Kendra Schaefer, Partner, Trivium China

The webinar has ended.

Watch Webinar

Speakers' bio

Hear from four experts from around the world

Kurt Tong

Amb. Kurt Tong

Partner, The Asia Group

Ambassador Kurt Tong is a Partner at The Asia Group, where he brings 30 years of diplomacy experience to lead the firm’s work in Japan and Hong Kong, and on East Asia regional policy matters. 

At The Asia Group, Ambassador Tong is also a member of the Executive Committee and leads the firm’s analytics team and innovative thought leadership programs. A leading expert in diplomacy and economic affairs in East Asia, Ambassador Tong brings thirty years of experience in the Department of State as a career Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service.

Prior to joining The Asia Group, Ambassador Tong served as Consul General and Chief of Mission in Hong Kong and Macau, leading U.S. political and economic engagement with that important free trade hub. Prior to that role, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department from 2014 to 2016 and Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2011 to 2014, where he played a key role in setting the stage for Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership and supporting Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. In 2013, he received the Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers for his outstanding success in advancing U.S. economic interests by reducing trade barriers, increasing market access for American products, and enhancing international cooperation across the Asia Pacific region. He also received Presidential Meritorious Service Awards for 2011 and 2018.

Prior to these positions, Ambassador Tong served as Ambassador for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2011, leading the U.S. chairmanship of the organization during one of the most productive periods for APEC. As Director of Korean Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, he played a leadership role in negotiations with North Korea as part of the Six-Party Talks and in securing the release of captive Americans held there. He was one of the original architects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement during the Bush and Obama administrations, including while serving as Director for Asian Economic Affairs at the White House National Security Council from 2006 to 2008.

Ambassador Tong holds a B.A. from The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and studied economics at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.

Ambassador Tong is a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and serves on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, a member of the U.S. Committee for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Ambassador Tong speaks and reads both Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

Michaela Browning

Michaela Browning

Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google Asia Pacific

Michaela Browning is Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy for Google Asia Pacific.

Prior to this, Michaela held a range of senior positions in the Australian government, including as a senior diplomat of over 27 years with a focus on Asia, trade and security.

She was the inaugural CEO of the National Foundation for Australia China Relations in 2020. She served as Australia’s Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau from 2017 to 2020, and on diplomatic missions in Singapore and Thailand. She also served as senior international adviser to Australian foreign and defense ministers.

Michaela has held senior trade and economic roles including leading global investment promotion activities and strategy and operations for all Australia’s established markets for Australia’s trade and investment commission. She previously led Australia Aid’s development program for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was a trade negotiator to the WTO and for Australia’s free trade agreements with the US and Singapore.

Thomas Abell

Thomas Abell

Chief and Advisor, Digital Technology for Development Unit, Asian Development Bank

Thomas Abell is the Chief of ADB’s Digital Technology for Development Unit, which promotes the effective use of digital technology across ADB programs to improve development impact. His team works with ADB member countries in supporting the transition to the digital economy and provides assistance across many areas, including eGovernment, connectivity, tech startup ecosystems, earth observation, technology policy, and industry partnerships.

Thomas has over 30 years of professional experience in digital technology, including technology policy and strategy, software development, and systems architecture. During his 10+ years of experience in international development, he has worked extensively across Asia, Africa and Latin America, working with governments, development organizations, NGOs and corporations. He has authored many publications on technology innovation in development, focused mainly on education, financial inclusion and agriculture. Thomas has master’s degrees in engineering and management and a bachelors in engineering from MIT.

Kendra Schaefer

Kendra Schaefer

Partner, Trivium China

Kendra Schaefer is a partner at Beijing-based strategic advisory consultancy Trivium China. She leads Trivium’s tech policy research team, keeping investors, companies, and governments briefed on Chinese tech regulation, government data and tech infrastructure projects, and the data and technologies underpinning China's social credit system. She is chief editor of Trivium's premium Tech Blips newsletter, a daily policy brief on Trivium's analysis on government-driven Chinese tech developments.

Kendra has been in China since 2002 and has consulted on over 150 digital projects for both SMEs and multinationals.