The Clipper Race fleet has sailed from Asia after an intense period of partner activation in Vietnam and China. Qingdao was no exception where, in addition to a rich and varied programme from our hosts, race partners LMAX Exchange, the UK Government’s GREAT Campaign and Unicef all staged innovative and highly successful events.

LMAX Exchange, the leading UK based Financial Technology (FinTech) company and Team Sponsor, invited around 80 of its Asia clients and prospects to a team building experience day, including guests from China, Hong Kong and South Korea

During the day they experienced life aboard the LMAX Exchange and Derry~Londonderry~Doire 70-foot ocean racing yachts which culminated in a networking reception.

“Asia is a huge market for LMAX Exchange, a huge market for anyone in Capital Markets. A huge market for the world. Let’s face it its 25% of the world’s population,” said David Mercer, chief executive of LMAX Exchange who flew out especially for the event to meet with clients.

Despite the slowdown being seen in some parts of Asia David remains very optimistic: “The slowdown is still 5 or 6 percentage points per year which is huge. For a little company like us, a hundred people based in west London, we do 30% of our business in Asia now. About 60 or 70 percent of that from Chinese territories. So it’s very important.

“There’s no reason to think that ten years from now someone like LMAX could be domicile here in China, that’s how important it is. We’ve been talking to the (Qingdao) Government over here. They need to change some regulations and we’re happy to work with them on that. But China’s about long term opportunity rather than short term opportunism.”

The strength of opportunity was underlined by the UK’s Charge D’affairs to China Martyn Roper, who visited Qingdao from the UK Embassy in Beijing: He said: “One of the UK economy’s strengths is its service sector including financial services, technology and innovation…and as China shifts its economy into that sort of consumption services based economy we have a lot of strengths we can bring to support China’s reforms.

“China has been quite clear that it wants to achieve a moderately prosperous society by 2020, which means between now and then they need to continue with GDP growth, which is why they’ve set their target of 6.5% which will allow them to achieve their objective. But at the same time they need to continue with their reforms, they need to open their economy to more financial services, and that’s an area where the UK can really come into China and do more.”

For LMAX Exchange the event was all about developing its relationship with clients and future prospects through a rare teambuilding experience. Qilin Wang, Head of Asia sales for LMAX Exchange based in Hong Kong felt the day was a huge success. She explained: “We’ve invited quite a lot of our clients and potential future partners to show them what we want to do alongside the Clipper Race in Qingdao.

“I have had great feedback. A lot of them have never met before but by the time they get off the boat they are like a team and laughing like brothers, so definitely it is a great working experience. What we want to do alongside the Clipper Race is quite challenging. Challenging who you are and challenging what you can do. The feedback from our clients has been really positive, it has been a very different and I believe highly successful experience for us all.”

David Mercer underlined the fit, adding: “I think the Clipper Race and LMAX Exchange are a perfect match. We don’t follow everyone else. We believe in a level playing field. And that’s exactly what the Clipper Race does. A level playing field, 12 yachts, everyone with the same training and mix of experiences, And then you go racing.

“Hopefully the clients here today will realise that we’re a family and they’re a part of that family. Because genuinely we run the exchange, we’re not after the other side of their trade. We win if they win. Hopefully they see that. It’s a bit like the race team. I think my clients today will get that ethos. And hopefully they’ll stay with us a long time. One of the things I’m proud about at LMAX Exchange isthat we have a 90% retention rate. Obviously the goal is 100% retention rate. But events like this and inspirational platforms like the Clipper Race help us to achieve that.”