It’s the attitude that ‘makes me different from others’
Stepping into the job market without a college degree in 1973, Sunny Cheung Yiutong, chief executive officer of Octopus Holdings Ltd, kicked off his career at the age of 19 as a frontline worker at Far East Bank.
Now 61, he has managed to thrive in Hong Kong’s financial-industry boom. Before joining Octopus in 2011, Cheung had spearheaded Hong Kong and Macao development for VISA, served as Greater China managing director for DBS and supervised Citibank’s credit-card business.
Cheung told China Daily he joined the banking sector “by chance, not by choice” and it’s a different attitude that has distinguished him from his peers on the career ladder.
“The banking industry was on a fast track in the 80s and 90s, but I don’t believe there’re few chances left for today’s young people. The key is to find a sector where you will be promoted faster than others. And stay humble, work hard,” he says. “In the beginning, I thought I was not as qualified as my colleagues because I don’t have a college degree. But later, I found that’s not true. As long as I work hard and prove I can take on a bigger role, I’m also entitled to all opportunities.”
He thinks it’s important to look ahead and higher up than what is assigned to an employee. “If you could put yourself in the shoes of your supervisor, understand the challenge, fix the problem and deliver the goods, more opportunities would come.”
It’s also critical to be on the lookout for new business. “One will be very much appreciated if he or she is always reliable when it comes to new projects. You never know what you’re going to miss if you refuse to make extra efforts to face the challenges. As a young person, you can always sleep less and find more time.”
In the short term, smart-card operator Octopus Holdings looks forward to a single-card solution for the entire Pearl River Delta region, and this would be the next breakthrough, according to the group’s chief executive officer Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong. Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong, chief executive officer of Octopus Holdings Ltd