Family firms face a rough road study

Business | Jasper Ng 14 Sep 2017

Only a few Chinese family businesses with annual turnover exceeding US$50 million (HK$390 million) can survive for more than a century, research by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies shows.

China ranked 21st globally in the study, with only 204 domestic family businesses set to last longer than 100 years, and it lags far behind top-ranked Japan's 25,000 firms.

"Chinese descendants tend to develop their own businesses or access to the financial industry, instead of taking over their family businesses," the founding director of the center and adjunct professor of finance at HKUST Roger King said.

He said China-based family businesses could build a sustainable business model so as to nurture more potential successors, as well as apply more new technology to the business.

A third-generation general manager of Kowloon Watch, Kevin Johan Wong, said the company will diversify its business as it is encountering challenges in Hong Kong's luxury goods market.

Wong is one of the founders of Hong Kong-based new technology gadget developer Origami Labs, which has launched a "smart ring" that can be used for calls and real-time translation.

He said that the start-up raised money from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund in July.

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