Experts

Syaru Shirley Lin

Fast Facts

  • ​​​​​​Chair, Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation
  • Nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong 
  • Former partner at Goldman Sachs
  • Founding board member of Alibaba Group and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation
  • Expertise on China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, East Asia, international political economy, international finance and banking, innovation and entrepreneurship, privatization

 

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Asia
  • Economic Issues
  • Finance and Banking
  • Trade

Syaru Shirley Lin, research professor, is a nonresident senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution and an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Lin chairs the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation (CAPRI), a new policy think tank conducting interdisciplinary, comparative research on innovative policies that can strengthen resilience and improve governance in the Asia Pacific. CAPRI currently acts as the Asia-Pacific Hub of the Reform for Resilience Commission and the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience, two global initiatives that that are reviewing the response to the COVID pandemic and developing proposals for better responses in the future.

Lin's research and teaching focus on cross-Strait relations, international and comparative political economy, and the challenges facing high-income societies in East Asia. She is the author of Taiwan’s China Dilemma: Contested Identities and Multiple Interests in Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Economic Policy (Stanford University Press, 2016) which was also published in Chinese in 2019. Her book highlights the linkage between Taiwan’s national identity and its foreign economic policy and analyzes the implications for Taiwan’s future relationship with China. She is now writing a book on six economies in the Asia Pacific region caught in the high-income trap, all of which are facing problems such as inequality, demographic decline, financialization, outdated education systems, increasingly polarized societies, inadequate policy and technological innovation, and climate change. Her analysis and commentary frequently appear in English and Chinese media.

Lin was the youngest woman partner as well as one of the first Asian partners of Goldman Sachs, where she led the firm’s investment efforts in Asia, managing private equity and venture capital investments in 12 countries and setting up its Tokyo operation. She spearheaded the firm’s investments in technology start-ups in Asia, making it one of the earliest and most successful investors in China. In that capacity, she led the first round of institutional investments in Alibaba and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation. Prior to her work in private equity and venture capital, she specialized in the privatization of state-owned enterprises in China and Singapore.

Lin has served on the boards of numerous private and public companies and currently serves as a director of TE Connectivity, Goldman Sachs Asia Bank, and Langham Hospitality Investments. She is a director of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, which supports the development and adoption of new therapeutic medical technologies, and a senior advisor to Taiwan's Talent Circulation Alliance, an initiative to promote Taiwan as a hub for talent for the region and the world. She served on the Hong Kong Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation from 2016 to 2022, advising the Hong Kong government on matters related to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

A native of Taipei, Lin has been a resident of Hong Kong for three decades. Lin graduated, cum laude, from Harvard College and has also studied and worked in Tokyo and Madrid. After retiring from Goldman Sachs, she earned her masters and doctorate from the University of Hong Kong and launched a new career as a scholar, policy analyst, and corporate and non-profit director.

Syaru Shirley Lin News Feed

Syaru Shirley Lin, Compton Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, and Chair of the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation (CAPRI), highlighted the importance of Taiwan's democratic governance as an alternative for countries which have a strong economic relationship with China, especially in the Asia Pacific.
Syaru Shirley Lin Business standard (India)
Syaru Shirley Lin, Compton Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, writes that "Taiwan has successfully nurtured a uniquely efficient and supportive chip ecosystem from IC design to testing and packaging, entrenching its indispensability."
Syaru Shirley Lin The hundred
Miller Center scholars join Director William Antholis to discuss the destabilizing effects of the invasion.
Syaru Shirley Lin Miller Center Russia-Ukraine blog
The schadenfreude can be quite delightful. Take Goldman Sachs, which essentially told partner Syaru Shirley Lin to get lost when she served up an investment in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba on a silver platter. Senior people at Goldman insisted that she offload the $1.7 million stake she’d taken. Upon Alibaba’s IPO, that stake would have been worth an astounding $4.5 billion.
Syaru Shirley Lin The Washington Post
The case of Alibaba is instructive. Its first outside investors were two Taiwanese-born products of the Ivy League: Joe Tsai, a Wall Street lawyer turned investor, and Syaru Shirley Lin, a Goldman Sachs banker. Along with US capital, the two brought US lawyers, who created an ingenious corporate structure featuring a Cayman Islands parent company. This proved to be a game-changer, because it endowed Alibaba with the power to issue employee stock options.
Syaru Shirley Lin Financial Times
As the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic draws to a close, resilience—the ways in which health, economic, and environmental systems face changes and shocks by adapting, evolving, and innovating—has emerged as a crucial attribute of societies working toward a “new normal” of post-pandemic life.
Foreword by Syaru Shirley Lin, Malcolm Turnbull, and Chang-Chuan Chan Asia Pacific Hub of Reform for Resilience Commission