SMU Thought Leadership

SMU has a strong reputation of distinguished teaching, unique model of education, and generating leading-edge research. As part of our strategic goal of developing leadership and becoming a leader in the academic world, SMU continues to grow and project our thought leadership through rigorous, high-impact, cross-disciplinary research that addresses Asian issues of global relevance. As our research effort centres on the core interdisciplinary themes relevant to Asia, we are in the ideal position to enrich the world with ideas.


The SMU Thought Leadership Series, published in The Business Times, feature research, expertise and business insights from SMU faculty and senior staff members on a wide range of subject matters.

Singapore’s future – anchoring on the small for growth

A new economic model around small and medium-sized growth firms has to be built, says SMU’s Professor Hoon Hian Teck

Posted on 8 Feb 2017

“What must guide our thought is that the growth possibilities are very different when you’re catching up, versus when you’ve already caught up.”

- Singapore Management University’s Professor of Economics and Associate Dean (Faculty, Research) of the School of Economics Hoon Hian Teck

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Exploring China’s vibrant rural economy

SMU’s Associate Professor Forrest Zhang pioneered research into China’s agrarian capitalists

Posted on 18 Jan 2017

“Rural villages are finding niches in China’s economy. Some grow Chinese herbs. Others collect pine mushrooms highly sought after in Japan, or the rare and expensive cordyceps fungus prized in traditional Chinese medicine … There was no local market. But entrepreneurs wanted to capitalise on the suitable climate and thus brought in new products to grow and then export them to other countries. So they found the village, brought the technology and know-how, and signed a contract with the farmers.”

- Associate Professor Forrest Zhang, SMU School of Social Sciences

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Rethinking Singapore’s Urban Form

Singapore Management University economics professor thinks Singapore’s road systems are too much dominated by the cul-de-sac form. A better balance between cul-de-sac and grid forms should be considered.

Posted on 19 Oct 2016

“Singapore’s transport is already reasonably efficient, and it also notably has an extensive system of expressways. But when thinking about how to redevelop the Greater Southern Waterfront area, policymakers can consider the economic implications of a cul-de-sac versus a grid design.”

-        Associate Professor Wen-Tai Hsu, SMU School of Economics

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Opportunities of luxury retail in a digital world

Luxury brands need to better understand their customer base and take advantage of social media, says SMU marketing professor Srinivas Reddy

Posted on 21 Sep 2016

“Luxury and digital were previously an oxymoron; it is no longer so.  But the luxury brand must create a seamless experience.  If the online and offline stores are fully integrated, and if consumers trust the brand, they will be willing to buy from it, regardless of the channel.”

-        Srinivas Reddy, Professor of Marketing and Director, Centre for Marketing Excellence, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business.

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Uncovering controversial truths on CEO pay

Research by SMU accounting professor Chen Xia shows how severance pay clauses for CEOs can help companies and investors

Posted on 17 Aug 2016

“A severance pay agreement in the CEO’s employment contract actually has merits. CEOs feel they have a longer time horizon with the firm. They are likely to emphasise long term value creation instead of focusing on the coming year’s earnings.”

-        Chen Xia, Lee Kong Chian Professor of Accounting, SMU School of Accountancy

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Retrieving data in an encrypted world

Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, the new dean of SMU School of Information Systems, is tackling one of the thorniest problems in data security

Posted on 20 Jul 2016

“Going forward, my research will centre on building a secure cloud retrieval solution, or creating a system that can compare the private datasets of multiple organisations. These solutions can be applied to the financial, healthcare or defence sectors.”

Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, new dean of SMU School of Information Systems


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Managing a diverse workforce

Singapore Management University Associate Professor Tan Hwee Hoon shares her tips on managing a Gen Y workforce and building trust with employees

Posted on 15 Jun 2016

“Gen Y managers will be more aware of trends and more open to change, and will probably bring some new ideas or disruption to the business. Business owners and those employees who are supervised by Gen Y managers, especially older folks, must understand that. Be proactive and view it as an opportunity.”

- Tan Hwee Hoon, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business

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ASEAN Economic Community ‘not an abstract concept’

SMU law professor Locknie Hsu says that businesses will benefit from concrete improvements in the rule of law

Posted on 18 May 2016

“Businesses will ultimately benefit from concrete improvements in domestic law and legal systems, and the higher standards of transparency, fairness and enforcement that come with them … With the establishment of the AEC and increased cross-border trade flows, the legal profession can also enjoy more opportunities.”

- Professor Locknie Hsu, Singapore Management University School of Law

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Unlocking the mobile computing future

SMU Associate Professor Archan Misra is leading mobile analytics projects that will reshape urban living and provide improved understanding of our behaviour in the physical world

Posted on 20 Apr 2016

“The end-goal of such research is to enable better capture of people’s activities and preferences in the physical world. Such information can help personalise urban infrastructure services and businesses. This is really about building smart cities and businesses that adapt to you.”

-        Associate Professor of Information Systems and co-director of SMU LiveLabs Archan Misra

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The FinTech Promise

SMU’s Professor David Lee says Singapore ought to capitalise on and improve its financial technology edge – by serving the hinternet including its Asean neighbours

Posted on 23 Mar 2016

“Over time, the finance sector will be disrupted. So to stay ahead, it has to embrace FinTech and innovate responsively, and tap into the vast neighbouring markets.”

- David Lee Kuo Chuen, Professor of Quantitative Finance (Practice), Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University

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