Ashley is a China watcher, 3 time Amazon bestselling author, global keynote speaker, vlogger, podcaster, trainer, media contributor and female leadership advocate. She’s the founder of Chinese social media agency Alarice and your Business School for China, training company ChoZan. She’s also the creator of the FIRE🔥 (Find Your Inner Road to Empowerment) personal development course which was designed with women in mind.
Ashley is a LinkedIn Top Voice in marketing and social media, an Asia-Pacific Top 25 Innovator, was a member of Alibaba’s Global Influencer Entourage from 2017-2019, was in JD’s Global China Experts Group in 2018 and she also worked directly with a Tencent co-founder to conquer Western social media from 2017 to 2019.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
Keynote Speaker at Events Around the World
Ashley is a keynote speaker and masterclass facilitator whose topics include modern Chinese consumers, Chinese social media marketing and China’s New Retail and technology. Since 2016, Ashley has spoken at over 100 events across the globe for companies such as BMW, Disney, Shangri-La, Deutsche Bundesbank, Richemont, Li & Fung, Hang Lung Properties, Manulife and TEDx. She’s also given lectures at HKU Space and done talks at the China Business Centre of Hong Kong PolyU and the National University of Singapore Business School.
three Amazon bestsellers
Ashley’s three Amazon bestsellers are Unlocking the World’s Largest E-Market: A Guide to Selling on Chinese Social Media, Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers and KOLs, and New Retail: Born in China, Going Global.
Ashley hosts the AshleyTalks Podcast and interviews top thought leaders from across Asia about entrepreneurship, marketing, women in business, China, tech and more. She also runs the world’s #1 YouTube business vlog about the China market, consumers and social media. Check it out here.
Ashley has been a regular contributor to The SCMP, The Next Web and China Daily. She’s also appeared in other media such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Wired, Huffington Post, Technode, Asia Times, HKET, Ming Pao, Jing Daily and others as a writer or expert.
Ashley is fluent in Russian, English, Mandarin and German.
Alarice helps international companies achieve their goals on social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Zhihu and others. Alarice provides China digital marketing strategy plans, content creation, creative campaigns, community management and influencer (KOL) promotions.
ChoZan can help you get up to speed quickly on the Chinese market, China’s consumers, social media marketing in China, KOL/influencer marketing and China’s tech landscape with tailor-made masterclasses. We run courses around the world that anyone can join and we also create tailor-made in-house corporate training programs.
FIRE🔥 (Find Your Inner Road to Empowerment) is Ashley’s 4 week self-development program for professionals and entrepreneurs. It’s delivered in 8 WhatsApp or WeChat sessions. It’s for those who need to revive their motivation and passion after many years in the corporate world, have changed jobs, own or want to own a business and those who want to improve their quality of life.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?
1. Why, when and how did you come to China?
I was born in Asia. Vladivostok is in Russia’s Far East near the borders with China, North Korea and Japan. We always had people from China, Korea, Japan and all over Asia as merchants, tourists and diplomats. After the collapse of the Soviet Union there were even more.
After spending some time in New Zealand, I moved to China. There are only two reasons to travel to a faraway land; love or money. For me it was love. I moved to Chongqing with my boyfriend at a time and studied business and economics there for 4 years. I loved that experience. I learned the language – Yes, I speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese. At university, I even did higher mathematics and linear algebra in Chinese – learned more about the culture and really learned what makes China tick. I loved seeing how Chinese entrepreneurs – many of them women – hustled and did business. I also saw how fast China was growing, changing and digitizing.
In 2010, I relocated to Hong Kong and I’ve loved it here. It combines the comforts of living in the West with the thrill of mainland China’s dynamics.
2. What are you most fascinated about in China?
I was fascinated by the history, the culture, the heritage, the unique ancient take on philosophy, values, virtues. It was also interesting watching China’s fast modernization and its embrace of technology from facial recognition to fast payment systems to AI and how they were being implemented in so many areas.
China’s such an exciting, energetic, growth-focused market. Consumers there are sophisticated. Everything happens in China first these days and when it comes to social media Chinese platforms are way ahead of those outside the country. I’m also excited to see how China’s starting to build its brands and take them global. I think Chinese brands and C beauty will be the next big thing this decade.
3. How did you become an entrepreneur?
I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. When I came to Hong Kong, I worked at a local PR and marketing agency serving global brands tapping into Asia. Then I was headhunted and moved into the corporate world. While I loved my time in the corporate world, I felt bored and wanted more. I decided to take a leap when an old client asked me to help him with his China expansion plan. I quit my job and decided to do it. Since then, life hasn’t been boring.
4. What’s your passion apart from China?
I’m very interested in success psychology and self-development. I’ve been studying different kinds of psychology for the past few years and the more I learn the more fascinating it becomes. I love applying what I learn to my own life and business. Since my self-development journey began, it’s made a huge difference to my happiness, the way I run things as well as the bottom line of my business.
As a woman in business, helping women in leadership and business succeed is important to me. I’ve even created a special program FIRE for professional women but there are also some men who’ve joined.
Apart from that, I’m a big fan of Shakespeare, English literature, poetry and the theater. I was involved in youth theater when I was a kid and later in life, when I came to Hong Kong, I got involved in theatrical productions here too. I even ended up playing Isabella in Measure for Measure. I also love animals, swimming and travelling the world.
5. What are the 3 books everyone should read in 2020?
Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers and Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century talk about history, technology, humanity and what we can expect on the road ahead. These books give clear explanations and examples and show the bigger picture, which is essential to navigate the world and business in 2020. They’re essential reading.
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is another must. The author ambitiously introduces the history of everything and everyone in the past 13,000 years. The questions he aims to answer are why history unfolded the way it did and why certain groups developed “civilized societies” thousands of years ago while others failed to go beyond being hunter-gatherers. As a businessperson, it offered great insights, analysis and allowed me to see the connections.
The book shows, through many examples, how to look beyond the surface of a situation and make connections not just with examples that are similar but from those that don’t seem to be connected to understand the reasons behind something. Highly recommended. And of course, all my books on China are also good reads.
6. You publish a lot of content about China, marketing and leadership. What’s the best way to follow your updates?
If you follow me on LinkedIn, I publish several times a day. Youtube is where my videos are. It’s my video bank. My most active blog with expert articles on China is at www.chozan.co. For those who want even more exclusive content on China they can join the China Marketing Circle. Members get updates, reports, trend analysis, case studies and more twice a week so they can keep up with the latest happenings in Chinese social media marketing, e-commerce and the China market. You can try it free for 15 days.
My thought leadership truly got me where I am today. Everyone should do it! Especially women who have businesses! I now run 2 companies with a focus on China. One is social media agency Alarice and the second is a marketing training company ChoZan.
And of course, all my books on China are also good reads.
7. How do you find inspiration for your content?
Living, working and travelling in greater China is the best inspiration. The future is here, now. With all the new technology being developed, and high openness of Chinese consumers to embrace them , it’s the most innovative digital marketing and social media marketing landscape. Through my work, I also see the real world challenges for companies in China and working on solutions to these and bringing these issues to light also inspires me.
8. What’s your top productivity hack?
I don’t have a regular to do list. With so many things to do, I need to focus. Every day, early in the morning, I identify 3 main projects that I want to make significant progress with that day. Then I identify 3 things that I can do that day to move those projects forward. This project overview helps me to keep my eyes on the outcome and my priorities. Every day is focussed on growth and goals without forgetting to have fun. If you drop your priorities every time people bring their to do lists and problems to you, you won’t get anything done. This allows me to get my work done first, keep things moving and then I can help others and be in a better frame of mind when I do.
9. If you could go back in time and into the future, what advice would you give your 25 year old and 75 year old self?
To my 25 old self, I would say, “Trust yourself, love yourself and enjoy every moment. Business isn’t a chore. It’s fun. It’s growth. it’s joy.” To my 75 old self, I will say, “Go get them! There’s so much more to do and to experience in your next 75 years!”