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Opinion

Asia fintech panel: Baring the Soul

Dianrong’s founder is the host with the most… interruptions.

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Hosting a panel on technology in financial services at the Asian Financial Forum in January should have been a walk in the park for Soul Htite.

All the ingredients were in place: a captive Hong Kong audience digesting a hearty lunch, and a solid set of speakers, including Nelson Chow, head of fintech at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Frederic Lau, CEO of Airstar Bank, a soon-to-launch digital lender controlled by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.

Alas, the founder of Shanghai peer-to-peer lender Dianrong didn’t see it that way. Instead, Soul presented delegates with a case study in how not to moderate a panel.

He asked questions, then interrupted, often to remind speakers where and when they met. He asked Chow what he did, broke in to ask how many banks Hong Kong had, then butted in once more, to go off on a tangent about boats.

The questions were scattergun rather than bad, and the host too keen on the sound of his voice. Topics became circular, the snake eating its tail.

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