Hong Kong Madera CA
The importance of family history is readily apparent in the board room on the 27th floor of the Hip Shing Hong Group in the heart of the central business in Hong Kong. A framed photo of Fong Shu Chen, who arrived in Hong Kong in 1927 from adjacent Guangdong Province with his eldest son Yun Wah to set up a sesame-processing operation, overlooks from above. By 1948, Shu Chen and his three sons created a new enterprise, Hip Shing Hong, to enter the real estate business. From scratch, the clan turned Hip Shing Hong one of the largest unlisted property investors in Hong Kong.
More than six decades later, it’s Yun Wah’s influence that hangs most deeply over Hip Shing Hong. His brothers (two survive) or their children are on the company’s board, but he owns the majority of its shares and is still chairman. Plaques and awards crammed into the boardroom are symbols of the man’s philosophy — particularly his philanthropy — and success in business. Yun Wah ranked No. 21 on the Forbes Hong Kong Rich List this year with wealth of $2.5 billion.
Yet at 88 years old, Yun Wah has relaxed his grip on the day-to-day business in high-pressure Hong Kong and handed off much of the management. Unlike a lot of squabbling Hong Kong families, Hip Shing Hong has gone about its succession quietly. Yun Wah’s eldest son, Albert, 65, moved to the U.S. almost three decades ago to manage family real estate investments there.
And so it is the younger son, David – now 55 — that has taken up the role of leader of the family business. He only came into the family enterprise for good in 1993, after leaving Hong Kong to work for several years in California. “I would say the first five years were difficult, ” he recalled of his return home. “You sometimes feel lost. You’d say, ‘Gee, why am working for a family corporation? I’m not getting anywhere. If I work for a corporation elsewhere, I would have risen to a certain rank, I would realize a higher pay. I would have better respect from my staff.’ A lot of frustrations. A lot.”
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