As a non-government, non-profit international entity, the BFA is the most prestigious forum for leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share their vision on the most pressing regional and global issues.
A parallel may be drawn between the BFA and the World Economic Forum, which is held every winter in Davos, a ski resort in Europe, owing to their similar mission statements, strategies and selection of small locales as permanent sites.
Initiated in 1998 by Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Philippines; Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia; and Morihiro Hosokawa, former Prime Minister of Japan, the BFA was inaugurated in February 2001.
As the permanent site of the forum since its inception, Boao covers an area of 86 square km and has a population of about 27,000. Since 2002, the BFA has held its annual conference in Boao every March or April.
Over 70 discussions were held during 2015's four-day event, which took the forms of open sessions, closed-door meetings and TV debates among other formats. The topics this year included the following:
- 3D printing
- Agricultural sector
- Artificial intelligence
- Chinese local governments' debt crisis
- Food safety
- Forging a new Asia-Pacific security architecture
- Peer-to-peer lending
- Relationship between smog and health
- Shadow banking