UHY’s newest member of the Board started life imagining that he might like to be a computer scientist, but an early position in banking confirmed to him that accountancy was his professional destiny.

He is now managing partner of one of China’s biggest and most respected accountancy firms, ZhongHua CPAs LLP. The Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA) ranked ZhongHua CPAs among the top 25 Chinese accounting firms, in figures released in 2017. CONFIDENT FUTURE VISION Great achievements have marked out a distinguished career – not least his appointment in 2017 as the network’s first non-elected director under the UHY Constitution which allows the UHY Board to ‘appoint a director in an underrepresented economic or geographic region’.

“This was of course a huge honour,” says Yong Sun, managing partner of ZhongHua Certified Public Accountants LLP, Shanghai, China, “and I look forward to contributing my knowledge to support the network’s strategic ambition. “I have every confidence that our country will remain a strong and attractive investment destination and I am delighted to play my part in its continued economic growth. This is the perfect time for member firms to invest in levels of development that will ensure valuable rewards and new prosperity.”

China remains the world’s largest market with an influx in the numbers of dynamic entrepreneurial start-up businesses and a thriving middle class, ready and able to steer their country towards further success. It is Yong Sun’s belief that the only significant threat to this positive status-quo are the technological challenges that the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) might raise.

TECHNOLOGY IMPACT “AI could seriously impact on our traditional way of working,” he says. “It is critical that young accountants coming into our profession now study the potential advantages of this technology at the deepest level, so that their learning can open up its many exciting opportunities rather than its possible pitfalls.”

“Used skillfully AI will undoubtedly improve living and working environments and introduce better and more innovative medical care and safer ways to travel,” says Yong Sun. “The impact on our global society and the way we do business is difficult for any of us to predict yet.” OVERCOMING TURBULENT TIMES In any successful career there are always difficult times and in 2008 Yong Sun faced the very real possibility that his business might not survive turbulent commercial times.

“I was quickly appointed as managing partner. Through sheer determination to turn the situation around, I worked closely with partners and other colleagues and I am proud to say that our firm is more secure and successful than ever before. “Teamwork in crises is essential, but so is self-reliance – an ability to trust your professional instincts, be a strong and fair leader and always believe that there are achievable solutions.”

FAMILY AND FAITH Outside work, Yong Sun’s life is busy and varied. A family man he is married to Yahna Yang and they have a son, Benjamin, who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and now lives in the US, working as an engineer for Apple. A practising Buddhist, Yong Sun’s faith is very important to him. He credits regular physical and mental exercise with helping him to maintain a healthy body and a good attitude and so raise the understanding of the world to a higher level.

Yong Sun still lives in Shanghai where he was born, but he loves travelling, especially throughout Europe and the US – “I have a great interest in the cultural and historical stories behind the places I visit, as well as trying to familiarise myself with local languages,” he says. “There are so many wonderful places to go to and I will always travel as often as possible.”

At home, Yong Sun relaxes by playing bridge and watching films – “It is important to take time out for yourself,” he says. “This is a busy and often demanding world but by practising my Buddhism, whenever I can, and prioritising what is really important to me, I find real contentment.

“I am full of optimism for the world and I believe that the wisdom of mankind will encourage the progress of science and technology which will go on, in time, to solve the difficulties that face us all in our global community. There is so much to be positive about.” SEEKING SHANGHAI Devoted to his home town, Yong Sun welcomes visitors to Shanghai and recommends three of his must-see favourite places:

The Bund (also known as Waitan) Translated as ‘outside beach’, this famous mile-long waterfront area of central Shanghai is a popular promenade for tourists and locals. Lined with 52 examples of Gothic, baroque and neoclassical buildings, the Bund is nicknamed ‘the museum of buildings’. A great place to watch local people enjoying themselves, soak up the atmosphere in one of the many eateries or take a boat trip along the Huangpu River – particularly spectacular at sunset.

Xintiandi This fascinating car-free area of Shanghai is made up of reconstituted traditional mid-19th century shikumen – ‘stone gate houses’ lining narrow alleys, some of which are now book stores, restaurants, cafes and shopping malls. Highlights include the Museum of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and the Shikumen Open House Museum. Xintiandi is now the most expensive place to live in China with apartments often costing more than comparable accommodation in Tokyo, London and New York.

Zhujiajiao The 1,700-year-old Zhujiajiao is a water town on the outskirts of Shanghai – 36 stone bridges, numerous rivers and many ancient buildings still line the riverbanks today and archaeological finds date back 5,000 years. The little fan-shaped town, also known as Pearl Stream, is the best-preserved of the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Visitors to this remarkable place can enjoy a day away from the city – old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees and a chance to wander through an unspoilt area that takes them back to ancient, more tranquil times. SPIRITUALITY A committed Buddhist, Yong Sun practices Taoism (Daoism) – a Chinese philosophy and religion, reputed to have been founded by the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu. It emphasises living in harmony with nature (Tao) which literally means ‘The Way#’. Tao Te Ching, dating back to 6th century BC, is every Taoist’s main text, though some strains were also influenced by Buddhist meditation practices brought in from India. The chief characteristic of this type of meditation is the generation, transformation and circulation of inner energy. The purpose is to quieten the body and mind, unify body and spirit, find inner peace, and harmonise with the Tao. Some styles of Taoist Meditation are specifically focused on improving health and giving longevity.

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