HSBC Prosperity Hall organised its monthly SPECIAL Hall Night Talk on the 7th of November in Multifunction Hall C. This time, Dr. Herbert Chia Pun Kok, a very renowned name in the field of Big Data was invited to talk about Data and the future in the field. Dr Herbert, was the former Vice president and head of Data Committee of Alibaba Group, the largest e-commerce company and currently the Venture Partner of Sequoia Capital China which controls $1.4 trillion USD stock market value.

The talk attracted an audience over 50 people, with a lot of walk-ins. It was an interactive talk and Dr. Herbert opened the floor to the audience and asked their opinions about Big Data. The audience mentioned about the 4 V’s of Big Data which include variety, velocity, veracity and volume. In general, the audience views big data as a form of more complicated data which needs special measures to be analysed. Dr. Herbert was impressed by the technicality of the responses and further explained about Big Data with various illustrations and cases of renowned companies like Amazon and Microsoft. He also shared his journey from working in HSBC to moving up to work at Sequoia currently, and how he learnt about Big Data and its importance over the years.

He describes Big Data as a discovery cycle, where “data gets more data”. Big Data fills in the gap and creates a lot more data from just little information provided. To explain his point he gave the example of a person searching for flights from Hong Kong to Shanghai from his phone, gets advertisements for restaurants in Shanghai. He explained that the server gets data about where one is going, and predicts what would be the next relevant action, give those advertisements and then takes feedback by the person’s click and then the cycle of Data →Prediction →Action →Feedback, repeats itself getting more and more information about the person’s preference and providing them with relevant information before they could even think about it.



After the informative and insightful talk, the speaker invited questions from the audience. Firstly, he was asked about how he made decisions, that made him so successful in his life. To this, he responded that he made a prediction about the future and formulated a strategy based on that and had a strong belief in his intellect and took charge of his growth. He advised that one should find a good mentor and take full responsibility of one’s growth and learn as much as they can from the mentor. He also said that before declaring something as your passion, think about the two crucial questions, do you believe in it and why do you want to learn more about it, and when you have a strong answer for both, don’t turn back. He discovered his passion and with the help of his mentor acquired the skills.

Since he is a venture capitalist, the audience also wanted to know what kind of business proposals are successful in the present times and what is the future of investment. Dr. Herbert said that he actively looks forward to proposals related to Data Security, since there’s so much data being produced, but little technology is available which ensures the protection and confidentiality of data. He said that a good business proposal, should have an introduction page which describes the problem and gives the treatment for the problem with the new product designed. He also mentioned that he focuses a lot on the personality of the budding entrepreneur, because without a strong belief in what one is creating, the greatest ideas can be unsuccessful.


Talking about the future of data, he highlighted the importance of learning coding and being a big data analyst in the coming years, and mentioned that big data wouldn’t be limited to just IT and Fintech, but take over all the existing services in the near future.

Overall, it was an informative and inspiring talk and the audience got in-depth insight to what Big Data is, its importance and its future along with tips on passion and choosing a career. Even after the talk was finished, students engaged in conversations with Dr. Herbert, who was very willing to address their concerns and give more insights in the field of Big Data and Computer Sciences.


Writer: Muskaan Gandhi, HSBC Prosperity Hall (Hall 2)

Photographers: Deepanshu KALRA, HSBC Prosperity Hall (Hall 2), XU Lantian, HSBC Prosperity Hall (Hall 2)