Honorary University Fellow (2015)
Dr Merle A Hinrich graduated from the University of Nebraska in the United States in 1964, majoring in Business Administration and Mathematics. The next year, he obtained a Master’s degree in International Trade at The American Institute for Foreign Trade, which is the predecessor of today’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. Early professional activities of Dr Hinrich included being anchorman, announcer and correspondent.
Establishing an illustrious career in the media and e-commerce, Dr Hinrich in 1970 co-founded in Hong Kong the company Trade Media Limited, now known as Global Sources Limited, which he still leads as Executive Chairman and which now focuses on print media, internet usage and trade shows.
Dr Hinrich co-founded the company with the firm conviction that free and mutually beneficial trade between East and West would help drive global economic prosperity and, ultimately, world peace.
With Dr Hinrich’s vision in global trade, sharp business acumen and outstanding leadership, the company is now Asia’s leading business-to-business media company which focuses on global trade and is the primary facilitator of trade within Greater China.
The Economist recognized Dr Hinrich as “Asia’s e-commerce king” while Forbes Global has repeatedly voted Global Sources “Best of the Web”. For this, Dr Hinrich credits hard work and intimate understanding of the marketplace.
In recognition of Dr Hinrich’s role as a true global entrepreneur, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1996 and the honorary degree of Doctor of International Law by the Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2010.
Through the philanthropic activities of the Hinrich Foundation, Dr Hinrich aims to encourage the private sector and governments to drive innovation and competitiveness in trade-related activities. The Foundation has provided generous support to HKBU for the establishment of the Hinrich Global Trade Leaders Scholarship for the benefit of individuals wishing to develop a career in trade through studies in Business and Journalism.
As further proof of Dr Hinrich’s friendship and devotion to our University, his Foundation is currently the Honorary Permanent President of the Hong Kong Baptist University Foundation. In this capacity also, he has been a steadfast supporter of the University’s mission and aims at large.
Dr Hinrich has had particularly close interactions with our School of Journalism. For instance, in the International Media Salon seminar held in 2013 and entitled “Education, leadership and career development”, Dr Hinrich generously shared with students his insights into successful leadership and career development. He particularly emphasized the need for lifelong learning in a rapidly changing world.
Dr Hinrich is passionate about community service and charity work. Apart from being the Founder of the Hinrich Foundation, he has also served or is currently serving in many other capacities. Two notable past positions are Member of the Board of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, D.C., and Member of the Board of Trustees of China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. Current services include Founder of the Global Sources Research Foundation, and Member of the Pacific Basin Economic Council.
A pillar of our University as well as a key enabler of its forward vision, Dr Hinrich is nominated for the award of Honorary University Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contributions to society and his highly valued support for and commitment to the University.