Property chief finds time to enjoy his life

| 3 Jan 2019

I went to meet CK Asset Holdings executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung at the Cheung Kong Center on December 13. We talked about the property market, and he cautioned that his views made on that day might not be as accurate when my face-to-face article is published three weeks later.

Market assessments are, of course, time sensitive, but other subjects we talked about are not, like his approach to life.

"Life can be very simple," he said.

He told me he is very serious about his work and has foresight on market trends. After work he is still serious - in enjoying life.

"I have many interests - fine wine, looking for good places to eat, shopping."

But how do these pursuits fit into the idea of a simple life?

Chiu explained: "The wine I drink isn't necessarily the expensive kind. For example, Jiangsu's Dream of the Blue white wine is just as good as Kweichow Moutai.

"On work days, I line up for lunch boxes with my colleagues, and enjoy the food. As for shopping, I don't always buy brand name products, but would often visit old shops in Central where I can spend very little but still get what I like."

He asked me to look at his attire. "You see, this white shirt cost less than HK$200. My suit was custom-made but the price was reasonable. Clothing only needs to be comfortable."

He was enthusiastic as our conversation turned to the Pecan Foundation that he founded.

"The organization is assisting Guizhou farmers in a Chinese medicinal herbs plantation project. The herbs are processed in Inner Mongolia and certified before being put on the market. The revenue is for Chinese medicine research.

"Chongqing University and Hong Kong Baptist University's School of Chinese Medicine help us with their expertise. This project will definitely bear fruit and help to improve the lives of farmers in the hilly regions of Guizhou," he said.

About 2,000 people are benefiting from the project now, and the number would grow. Chiu said: "Chinese medicine practitioners should get recognition, so should herbal medicine."

I asked him about the property market. He said taking out multiple mortgages on a property is not a good idea as it is highly risky. Home prices, he said, could go down by 10 to 20 percent in 2019. To aspiring home buyers, his advice is: "Act according to one's ability."

Terence Chang Cheuk-cheung is the retired headmaster of Diocesan Boys School.

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