Ian Godfrey, founder of Zheng He Horizons, has lived overseas from his native UK since 1990. Spending seven years in France, and since 1990, a total of nearly 20 years in Greater China, which he has called home since 2006.
Having studied Ethnomusicology at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, Education and French at Kingston University, and read Mandarin Chinese at Beijing Normal University from 2002-2003, Ian became a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in 2006, and was subsequently made a Life Fellow in 2015.
Ian’s long-term international experience and first-hand engagement with China gives him a good depth of understanding of the country and its people, which has given him the ability to build strong, lasting relationships across cultural lines with people from all social strata; adept at facilitating, building and maintaining cross-cultural relationships in Chinese, French and English.
Ian returned to the financial services sector in Hong Kong with an insurance brokerage in 2010, where he also worked with a number of multi-national property agencies, helping their clients gain an understanding of the intricacies of being an overseas owner of UK property. Intrigued by the Blockchain, from late 2017 Ian acted as a consultant for Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar; helping strengthen relationships between Gibraltar’s public and private enterprises and Chinese governmental and non-governmental individuals and entities. This included, in 2017 welcoming then Minister Counsellor Mr. Jin Xu, of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the UK and a high-level public and private sector delegation visit to Gibraltar.
Having built excellent relationships with a number of companies in Gibraltar, Ian made the decision to put the development of Zheng He Horizons on ice for a period and joined Abacus Financial Services Limited for two years to begin the development of the group’s business in Greater China through its Hong Kong based company, Abacus Horizons.
From June 2020, the mantle for representing Abacus Horizons passed on to Zheng He Horizons Limited.
At Zheng He Horizons, we believe that Abacus’s specialist expertise and 45-years of customer service experience are an excellent compliment to our service offering and look forward to bringing Abacus's excellent professional services value to our clients through Abacus moving forward.
A vastly experienced Chartered Accountant, John’s professional experience has seen him fill positions ranging from roles on the Boards of Directors and Senior Management teams of multinationals, right through to advising on strategic development and IPO processes for smaller, privately held businesses from Hong Kong and China through to Europe and the Americas.
Speaking English, French, Spanish, German and Mandarin, and with a cultural sensitivity to match, John relates well across cultural differences
He has served across many sectors, including; property development in China, banking, airlines, credit card, heavy industrial equipment and consumer-goods manufacturing. This rich experience has enabled John to build an understanding of the many facets common across cultures, as well as the significant, and at times challenging, regulatory and professional differences. Such deep experience brings a unique breadth of understanding to the Zheng He Horizons team.
Outside the business environment John has participated in charitable work in Canada and Honduras, generally related to refugees and children.
John is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered accountants in England and Wales.
Gerald is a British national and a former practicing Barrister-at-law (England & Wales) who is a Permanent Resident in Hong Kong and who has lived in Asia since 1997.
He has over 25 years of experience in senior executive corporate management, legal and commercial consulting, and as an entrepreneur, social enterpriser and business owner, predominantly in the TMT (Telecom, Media & Technology) industries, as well as in vocational creative media and language learning education, and as contactless payments.Focusing in particular on strategic planning, business development and legal and business affairs, his background has included being: Head of the New Issue Equity Syndication in the Capital Markets department of EBC Amro Bank Ltd, (now ABN Amro Bank); Business Affairs Director at Carat Entertainment Ltd, (the advertiser supported Tv division, of the international advertising Group, WCRS Carat plc, now Densu Aegis Network Ltd.); Assistant Director of Business Development of Super Channel (now CNBC Europe and the first pan European satellite Tv channel); co-founding partner and a director of Media Matrix (the UK based legal and business affairs media consultancy); Managing Director and the principal Founder of The Chinese Channel Ltd. (the pan European satellite television channel, which became Hong Kong TVB’s European channel of its global broadcasting operation); Commercial Director of ViewCall plc., the UK publicly listed media and Internet technology Group; CEO of ViewCall Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. in Singapore; Managing Director for Corporate Executive Search (Asia Pacific) Pte. Ltd. (the Asian subsidiary of the UK AIM listed parent); Managing Director (Asia) VLearn Inc. the AP subsidiary of an industry leading US online learning technology platform.
Moving in 2000 from Singapore to Hong Kong, initially as Executive VP of Business Development, at eNewMedia Group plc, (the HK listed – HK stock 128 - TMT & transaction services Internet technology enabling Group), he went on to become its CEO, responsible, inter alia, for the strategic management of an investment portfolio of over US$100 million. On eNM’s takeover, he became the Principal & Head of Digital Media & Knowledge & Content Management for the Greater China Region for IBM Global Services, IBM’s consultancy division, and a senior leader in IBM’s Asia Pacific Digital Media and Entertainment Industry team.
After leaving IBM he developed an interest in renewables and environmentally sustainable innovative and disruptive technologies, and more recently, in creative media vocational education. In 2017 he led a Buy-Out of SAE Institute Thailand Pte. Ltd., a 15-year established creative media vocational school with professional audio/video facilities, located in the CBD of Bangkok, and which was relaunched as Crème Education Thailand Ltd. Having exited that, he is now one of the Founders and the Chairman of a Hong Kong company that is developing a new language learning social media App, and which is due to be launched in late 2020.
He is also General Counsel and a Director of Coseco Limited, a Hong Kong based contactless payments Asian operating company, and which is the sister company of Coseco BV, in The Netherlands.
Zheng He Horizons clients benefit from Gerald’s wealth of experience across multiple industries, as well as from his many years of corporate legal and business affairs advisory work.
Singapore-born Anthony was educated and lived for many years in the UK, as well as in China and Hong Kong. He is one of the most highly experienced senior media executives in Asia. He has over three decades of experience in broadcast television and media businesses in Europe and Asia, having started his career as an independent producer and director for UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel Four Television, before moving on in 1993 to various television management positions, including Head of Programming and Production for The Chinese Channel (later acquired by TVB and re-branded as TVBS-Europe). He moved to Asia in 1995 to be Vice President, Programming, at Pearson Television Asia based out of Hong Kong.
Anthony's expertise covers digital media service, branded content distribution, TV format licensing, digital content management, and upgrading of broadcasting systems, creative branding, virtual graphics systems and access services, such as sub-titling. He also has experience in direct response marketing and call centre management. In 1999 he joined the HK-listed e-New Media plc as Executive Vice-President of their Digital Media Solutions division, and set up and managed its award winning animation studio in Singapore. He has lived in China for over 10 years, working for three different media companies there; in Shanghai, as Head of Media for Pacific Media plc., a China based direct response television and home shopping business; in Beijing, as GM for China and Executive Vice-President for Asian Business Development for Red Bee Media (formerly “BBC Broadcast Centre”), and in Guangzhou, as a Senior Media Consultant with China Media Capital.
Prior to joining Zheng He Horizons, Anthony was the Director of Global Operations for a leading provider of media and technology services for both traditional media and new media for broadcasters, digital cable, IPTV platforms and content owners.