William Overholt


  • Co-author, Renminbi Rising (2016)
  • Senior Fellow at Harvard Asia Center & the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • 21 years' experience running Asia research teams for Nomura, Bank Boston, and Bankers Trust
  • Former Asia Policy Distinguished Research Chair and Director of the Asia Policy Center at RAND
  • Former President of the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong
  • Harvard BA and Yale PhD


Bill Overholt does research and consulting for companies, governments and foundations when an understanding of developments in Asia would help them improve their strategies. His competitive advantage is being able to combine expertise in economics, politics, finance, business strategy and military affairs because of an unusually diverse experience.

Dr. Overholt is Senior Research Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was Director of the RAND Corporation’s Center for Asia Pacific Policy. He served as Head of Strategy and Economics at Nomura’s regional headquarters in Hong Kong from 1998 to 2001. Before that, he was Managing Director and Head of Research at Bank Boston's regional headquarters in Singapore. At Bankers Trust he managed a country risk team in New York from 1980 to 1984, then served as regional strategist and Asia research head based in Hong Kong from 1985 to 1998.

At Hudson Institute from 1971 to 1979 Dr. Overholt directed planning studies for the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State, National Security Council, and others, then became Director of Hudson Research Services, which provided strategic planning services to corporations.

Dr. Overholt is the author or principal co-author of six books, including most recently Asia, America and the Transformation of Geopolitics. His book, The Rise of China (W.W. Norton, 1993), had nine foreign editions) and won the Mainichi News/Asian Affairs Research Center Special Book Prize. The others are Political Risk (Euromoney, 1982); and (with William Ascher) Strategic Planning and Forecasting (John Wiley, 1983). He is principal co-author of: Asia's Nuclear Future (Westview Press, 1976) and The Future of Brazil (Westview Press, 1978). With Zbigniew Brzezinski, he founded the semi-annual Global Assessment in 1976 and edited it until 1988.

Dr. Overholt received his B.A. (magna, 1968) from Harvard and his Master of Philosophy (1970) and Ph.D. (1972) from Yale.

Specialties:Asian development, Chinese politics & economics, business strategy, investment strategies, risk analysis, international relations in Asia, many studies of India, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asian countries.