‘The so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­ter­prise is crit­i­cal’

China Daily (USA) - - HONG KONG - By DUAN TING in Hong Kong tingduan@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at Bonds Group of Com­pa­nies

An­son Chan Yiu-che­ung, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at Bonds Group of Com­pa­nies, may have cho­sen the path of academia to be­come a univer­sity pro­fes­sor had he not taken over the fam­ily busi­ness nearly a decade ago.

Chan was born into a fam­ily of ed­u­ca­tors. His fa­ther Seaker Chan Shu-kui and mother Anita Chan Lai-ling were both ac­com­plished in busi­ness, as well as be­ing ed­u­ca­tors and phi­lan­thropists.

“If it wasn’t for the fam­ily busi­ness, my dream job was to be a univer­sity pro­fes­sor fol­low­ing my fa­ther who had ded­i­cated his life to ed­u­ca­tion,” Chan says.

His par­ents met at Xiangjiang Mid­dle School (now known as the Chan Shu Kui Me­mo­rial School) where they both taught. Chan’s fa­ther soon com­mit­ted him­self to build­ing schools, so­cial wel­fare and busi­ness. He founded in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing Xiangjiang School, Xiangjiang Chi­nese and English Sec­ondary School, Kowloon Renbo English School, Madam Chan Wai Chow Me­mo­rial School and the Chan Wai Chow Me­mo­rial Sec­ondary School. He as­sumed po­si­tions of school head and su­per­vi­sor at these schools.

Out­side of ed­u­ca­tion, Chan’s fa­ther had op­er­ated a tung oil busi­ness in Hong Kong af­ter ar­riv­ing from Guang­dong prov­ince in the late 1940s, with his fa­ther Chan Wai-chow, who was the for­mer salt com­mis­sioner of Guang­dong and Guangxi. This ven­ture steadily grew into prop­erty, film and eq­ui­ties, with Chan’s mother help­ing to de­velop both the fam­ily busi­ness and ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions. She also took on the task of rais­ing her four chil­dren by her­self af­ter her hus­band passed away 14 years af­ter they mar­ried.

Chan, the el­dest son of the fam­ily, was just around ten years old when his fa­ther died. He fondly re­calls this mother be­ing a great woman, who was hard-work­ing and as strict as his fa­ther.

“I am grate­ful that mother has been such a strik­ing in­flu­ence in his work and life.”

Be­fore joining the fam­ily busi­ness, Chan and his broth­ers and sis­ters were sent abroad to study. Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, Chan joined au­dit­ing firm Ernst & Young from 1990 to 1996, be­fore be­com­ing a pri­vate eq­uity fund man­ager at AIG In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion from 1998 to 2000, when he was re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing new in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and busi­ness re­la­tion­ships in China. He then moved to Ja­panese in­vest­ment bank No­mura In­ter­na­tional as the as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of its pro­pri­etary in­vest­ment group from 2000 to 2004.

But af­ter his mother passed away in 2007, Chan took over the fam­ily busi­ness as the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Bonds Group of Com­pa­nies.

Tak­ing over the group has dif­fered greatly from his pre­vi­ous roles, Chan says.

“It’s quite dif­fer­ent when man­ag­ing fam­ily busi­ness. As a pro­fes­sional in large fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, you just need to fo­cus on cer­tain parts. When man­ag­ing a fam­ily busi­ness, you have to cover mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries and find the right qual­i­fied per­son­nel to fill these po­si­tions.”

In terms of how to run a busi­ness, Chan up­holds those who are hard-work­ing and dili­gent. The cur­rent busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment is com­plex and com­pet­i­tive, so peo­ple have to con­cen­trate and work hard in or­der to achieve their tar­gets. Chan is a firm be­liever in the so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­ter­prise, which he says is cru­cial. In the past 18 years, he has been ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous civic and char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions, and cur­rently serves on the boards of the Com­mu­nity Chest of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Fringe Club and was also re­cently ap­pointed a coun­cil mem­ber of the Bet­ter Hong Kong Foun­da­tion.

In me­mory of his late par­ents, Chan’s large do­na­tion to Shang­hai’s Fu­dan Univer­sity led to the es­tab­lish­ment of the Dr Seaker Chan Cen­ter for Com­par­a­tive Po­lit­i­cal De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies in 2012, where his late fa­ther was a for­mer pro­fes­sor of so­cial sci­ence. He also made do­na­tion to the Hong Kong Polytech­nic Univer­sity to name a teach­ing build­ing as the Anita Chan Lai Ling Build­ing.

Chan says he plans to make an­other do­na­tion to a univer­sity in Hong Kong that will fund a re­search cen­ter un­der his fa­ther’s name.

ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY

An­son Chan Yiu-che­ung, Rather than put­ting all their eggs in one bas­ket, Hong Kong-based prop­erty in­vest­ment firm Bonds Group of Com­pa­nies is inch­ing to­ward greater global ex­po­sure by di­ver­si­fy­ing its op­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to its CEO and chair­man An­son Chan Yiu-che­ung.

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