Ctrip CEO Jane Sun received an Asia Game Changer Award at Asia Society’s annual ceremony held last week in New York. Since its inception in 2014, the award has identified and honored leaders who are making a positive contribution to the future of Asia. In receiving the honor, Sun joins a cohort of distinguished previous awardees, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, renowned architect I.M. Pei, and dozens more.
Nominated for ‘showing that business success and gender equality can go hand-in-hand in China’, Ms. Sun was awarded the honor in recognition of her efforts both in empowering her female staff at Ctrip, and her persistent lobbying for gender equality in society as a whole. “At Ctrip, gender equality is not a slogan or a goal, but a fact,” Ms. Sun said. “It’s an honor to have our efforts recognized, and I hope that today’s awardees will serve as an inspiration to women across the world.”
Former Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd (centre) and SOHO China CEO Zhang Xin (right) present Jane Sun (left) with her award.
This year, Sun is joined by seven pioneering women who have each made a transformative impact in their respective fields, including Tokyo’s first female governor Yuriko Koike. 2019 marks the first year every one of Asia Society’s “Asia Game Changers” has been female. Commenting on the awards, Ms. Sun said, “I’m joined here today by outstanding and inspiring women from all walks of society. Every single one of them is an inspiration to me.”
Since joining Ctrip in 2005 as CFO, Ms. Sun has risen through the ranks to become one of the only female CEOs in the Chinese internet industry and has played a key role in the company’s growth into the largest OTA in Asia. Ctrip’s market value is now worth almost 20 times its valuation at the time she joined the company. She has also overseen Ctrip’s international expansion, which has notably included a major investment in the Indian OTA MakeMyTrip, and the establishment of new customer support centers across Asia.
Ms. Sun’s success at Ctrip also extends far beyond her achievements in the realm of business. Ctrip’s workforce has expanded to over 40,000, over half of whom are women. Women comprise over 40% of the company’s middle management, and one-third of upper management, marking great progress in an industry in which women are traditionally underrepresented. This has been made possible by Sun’s numerous initiatives to support women in achieving the highest potential in their careers, without compromising on decisions like starting a family.
“Women bring unique and invaluable leadership skills to the table, and research has demonstrated higher investment returns on women led projects,” said Ms. Sun. “But women also face difficult decisions in pursuing their career. I’m proud of our efforts to support our staff in reaching a work-family balance, and hope that moving forward we will see policies like ours implemented more widely across society, and that the ‘glass ceiling’ will become a thing of the past.”
In accepting the award, Sun acknowledged the people that had supported her throughout her career and expressed her anticipation for the next generation of female leaders. “It is thanks to every single person who believed in me that I am here today,” she said. “Today, we are here to support the ‘Game Changers’ of tomorrow, and I’d like to dedicate this award to them, and our future.”
Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III, Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.