Quote of the Week

“Ultimately there is light and love and intelligence in this universe. And we are it, we carry that within us, it’s not just something out there, it is within us and this is what we are trying to re-connect with, our original light and love and intelligence, which is who we are, so do not get so distracted by all this other stuff, you know, really remember what we are here on this planet for.”

~ Tenzin Palmo

华商领袖郭鹤年 / Robert Kuok CCTV Interview

MALAYSIA’S richest man, Tan Sri Robert Kuok, is often referred to as the “Sugar King” but the man himself says he does not like the title and deems it a “fake fame”.

Kuok, whose empire includes the Shangri-La hotel chain, prefers the title “Hotel King” instead.

“I like hotel but the word king’ is just a fake one,” the 87-year-old billionaire said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) recently.

Major local Chinese newspapers have carried reports about the interview as the low-profile and media-shy tycoon rarely agrees to being interviewed.

Among the topics he talked about were his foray into the travel industry in China, the venture in the sugar refinery business and his mother.

Kuok said that when he first went into China’s travel industry, the tourist facilities there, especially toilets, were poor and the country was unable to attract international tourists.

But “I had a feeling that China would have the most prosperous travel industry as it has historical relics and sites”, said Kuok, who built the first Shangri-La Hotel in Hangzhou in the 1980s.

Today, there are 72 Shangri-La hotels throughout the world, and 34 of these are in China. There are 45 hotels under construction now, and 28 are in China.

Kuok said the hotel, as a service industry, depended on its employees, from the head manager to the menial worker, to serve their customers. Thus, it has been his principle ever since he first became involved in this industry to take care of the employees.

The biggest responsibility of the board of directors is to take care of its employees, he said.
Continue reading 华商领袖郭鹤年 / Robert Kuok CCTV Interview

Singapore eyes Malaysia for cheaper living

Singapore eyes Malaysia for cheaper living
Financial Times, 4 Feb 2013
By Jeremy Grant in Singapore

When Tina Ward, a Singaporean mother of two, and her British husband realised they were outgrowing their cramped, government-built apartment in Singapore, they took a gamble.

Instead of trying to find bigger accommodation in the island city-state, the Wards looked across the Singapore Strait to abandoned palm oil plantations on the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia where land goes for a fraction of what it does on the Singaporean side of the border.

Now, four years later, the family lives in a seven-bedroom mansion with a swimming pool in a community populated by expatriate escapees from Singapore, which is itself just a 30-minute drive away.

“It’s the best decision we made in our lives,” Mrs Ward says.

The Wards were early settlers in Ledang Heights, part of a huge special economic zone called Iskandar that spans a 2,200 sq km area three times the size of Singapore and roughly the size of Luxembourg.
Continue reading Singapore eyes Malaysia for cheaper living

The greedy, giddy days of HK tycoons

Now, barriers to elite circle is higher, says author who offers an insider look at taipans

ST Feb 03, 2013

A 1995 picture of the Suntec City board in a book by Mr Robert Wang (back row, third from left). The board included tycoons (front, from left) Chou Wen Hsien, Lee Shau Kee, Run Run Shaw, Frank Tsao, Li Ka Shing and Cheng Yu Tung. — PHOTO: ROBERT WANG

By Li Xueying, Hong Kong Correspondent In Hong Kong

Along-held belief in Asia’s bastion of capitalism – that “greed is good” – is fast crumbling, says a man who for much of his life abided by this axiom as he strove to get rich.

“Hong Kongers are resenting that attitude now,” says lawyer-turned-businessman Robert Wang, not least because they feel they no longer have the opportunities to become rich the way the present elite did.

He should know. After all, in the giddy, greedy days of the 1980s and 1990s, the 68-year-old rubbed shoulders with Hong Kong’s richest men.

“It’s more difficult to become a tycoon today,” observes Mr Wang, referring to the “clannish” networks, cartels and other formidable entry barriers in high-yield industries like property.

And as the income gap widens further, this sense of impotence is fuelling “greater dissatisfaction and social unrest”.

“The opportunities are not there any more,” Mr Wang said in a recent interview. “I feel sorry for my children, let alone my grandchildren.”
Continue reading The greedy, giddy days of HK tycoons

Kuok says with right heir his empire can last ‘four generations’

Billionaire Robert Kuok says that with the right heir, his extensive network of businesses can continue well beyond him into the future

When billionaire Robert Kuok introduced a luxury hotel brand in 1971, he named it Shangri-La, after the fictional utopia in which inhabitants enjoy unheard-of longevity.

Ensconced in his executive suite 32 floors above Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour — the room decorated with a pair of elephant tusks gifted by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaysia — the world’s 38th-richest person appears to have defied the ageing process himself.

Kuok had accumulated a fortune of $19.2 billion (HK$149 billion) as of Jan. 31, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Trim, dapper and straight backed at 89, he shows no signs of stopping there, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its March issue.

This year, the media-shy Malaysian-born magnate will likely open his 71st sumptuously appointed Shangri-La. Six of them are scheduled to be opened in the third quarter alone, including one perched in the Shard, the 72-story London skyscraper that’s the tallest office building in Western Europe.
Continue reading Kuok says with right heir his empire can last ‘four generations’