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Self-made Success Story: Hon Kwok Lung of Citychamp



Mr. Hon Kwok Lung was born in 1955 in Fuqing, a city located in the north-central part of Fujian’s seacoast. He is the Chairman of Citichamp (Holdings) Limited, the Chairman of Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Limited (00256.HK), and the Chairman of Citychamp Dartong Co., Ltd, (600067.SH). He is currently the Committee Member of the 12th National Committee of The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Committee Member of All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, the Executive Vice President of China Federation of Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs, and the Honorary Forever President of the Hong Kong Federation Overseas Chinese Associations.

Since his hometown was no more than a poor and backward village, he left his hometown for Southeast Asia soon after he finished high school. Under the supervision of Mr Liem Sioe Liong, one of the greatest Asian business leaders, he quickly demonstrated his talent in business and investment. His hardworking attitude and keen business sense helped him gain more responsibilities within a short time period. In 1988, he returned to his hometown, and brought along his greatest business dream and investments. Within a few years, he developed multiple landmark grade properties in Fuzhou, Fujian provincial capital.

He has never been satisfied with his achievements. It is simply impossible for him to live today just the same as yesterday. In 1993, he laid the foundation of his business empire by founding his own property development corporation. But this time, his new project has moved from provincial capital to national capital – Beijing. His urban redevelopment business model proved successful in the Madian project of Beijing and helped all stakeholders, from local government to residents and investors reach a win-win solution. His first development in Beijing, the CITICHAMP PALACE and the CITICHAMP COMMERCIAL BUILDING, were regarded as elite properties standing in the heart of Beisanhuan with the Madian Bridge, which is unambiguously a landmark property. Later on, his project SUN STAR CITY, a 1.5 million square meter development, became one of the largest property developments in Beijing. In 2002, he brought his property development business to public on Shanghai Stock Exchange, which is Citychamp Dartong Co. Ltd. Citychamp Dartong is also one of the top suppliers of copper wire in China.

He believes “Dream, Passion, Innovation” are the most important competencies for an entrepreneur. The fast growing consumer market in China has fueled his passion of watchmaking. Starting from EBOHR in 2004, he won a tough bid war of ROSSINI in 2008 and therefore established his reputation in China domestic watch business. Since then, ROSSINI and EBOHR have built up outstanding brand image in China. ROSSINI has been ranking 1st in overall market share in the watch category for the year 2013 by China General Chamber of Commerce and China National Commercial Information Centre. It was also ranked 1st in sales volume in the watch category for the 12 consecutive years since 2002. ROSSINI and EBOHR were both awarded “China’s 500 Most Valuable Brands of the Year 2014” by the World Brand  Laboratory. ROSSINI was awarded the “Asia’s 500 Most Influential Brands in 2014” by the World Brand Laboratory, and it was the only domestic watch brand in Mainland China that has received this award for seven consecutive years. ROSSINI has been recognized as “High and New Tech Enterprise” and was honored “Government Quality Award of Guangdong Province”.

Of course his dream of watch and jewellery won’t be limited to only domestic brands, which sell a few million watches through a few thousand points of sales already. “I have been to Europe to observe and study for many times. In small suburban town of Switzerland, I have witnessed local watchmakers devoting their life to fine watchmaking. Their persistency and pursuance of perfect craftsmanship impressed me. This is exactly what we need in China,” he said to a journalist one time. In 2011, his watch and jewellery investment vehicle — Hong Kong listed company China Haidian Group (“CHG”; name changed to Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Limited “CWJ” in July of 2014) acquired ETERNA, a Swiss brand founded in 1856 who has a long and unambiguously reputation in mechanical watch movement development. In 2013, CHG acquired CORUM, one of the top Swiss brands. Due to the elite status of the brand, this transaction has a pervasive influence in not only watch industry but also China-Switzerland business world. The Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce in China honored the company with “the Most Successful Deal in Switzerland 2013 Special Recognition” later of the year. Only one year later, CHG acquired The Dreyfuse Group, which added three more brands – Rotary, JT Windmill and Dreyfuse, to the brand portfolio of the group. Now CWJ has become a market leader in watch design, development, manufacture and distribution, who owns several proprietary brands — both domestic well-known and world class, as well as a vertically integrated supply chain and distribution system. With the recent name change, it is fairly clear that Mr Hon Kwok Lung’s dream and passion are growing.

“The bigger the enterprise becomes, the bigger social responsibility it takes; this is what I learned from the growth of my enterprises.” He has always been passionate in contributing to the society. He is the Honorary Chairman of Hong Kong Fortunate Community Charitable Foundation. He is the Vice Chairman of New Home Association, a charitable association which is committed to promoting a caring prospective Hong Kong society by joining hands together with new arrivals, ethnic minorities and local sectors. In his hometown, he has a long history of contributing to the society. He was honored with “Public Spirited Award of Fuzhou City”, “Outstanding Contribution to the Public Good of Fujian Province”, “2012 Most Social Responsible Chairman” by Directors & Boards magazine, and “Star for Respecting the Aged of Fuqing City”. He specifically believes that education can make a difference thus set up “Hon Kwok Lung Scholarship” in Shanghai Tongji University Education Development Foundation. He funded the “Hon Kwok Lung Academic Building” of Fujian Minjiang College, as well as the “Kwok Lung Science Building” of Fuqing Third Middle School. His enterprises have been title sponsor of many important events, for example, “2nd Silk Road International Film Festival”, “Fuzhou – Yongtai International Road Cycling Race”.

His business achievements have been very well respected and recognized. He was honored “2006 Ten Chinese with Fortune and Intelligence”, “2011 Leader of the Year” by All Asian Leaders magazine, “2012 Forbes 25 Influential Chinese in Global Fashion”, “Ten Outstanding Chinese” by 2013 International Chinese Media Award, and “2013 Charming People” by Southern People Weekly.

Mr Hon Kwok Lung is a winner of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2015 Hong Kongn, receiving the Special Achievement Award. The Awards were held on 14 October 2015 at Island Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong.


Lessons Learnt from The Lean Startup



The Lean Startup book authored by Eric Ries has been sitting on my shelf for quite sometime now, so since I am currently contributing to the making of a startup I figured I’ll take a look into it.

The book is divided into 3 parts, after reading the first two I had my mind blown with the pragmatic and scientific approach to building startups that is described in the book.

In this post, I would like to share some important insights that I gained regarding building highly innovative businesses.

Validating Value Proposition And Growth Strategy Is The Priority

Usually, a highly innovative startup company is working in its most early stage at building a product or a service that will create a new market.

Consumers or businesses have not been yet exposed to something similar to what is going to be built by the startup. Therefore the absolute priority for startups in early stage is to validated their value proposition i.e. to get real data about eventual customers interest regarding their product/service.

The other priority is to validate that the growth strategy that is going to be executed is, in fact, effective.

The growth strategy of a startup is its plan to acquire more and more customers in the long term and in a sustainable fashion.

Three kinds of growth strategies are described in the book:

  • paid growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to be charged for the product or service, the cash earned from early users is reinvested in acquiring new users via advertising for example
  • viral growth in which you rely on the fact that customers are going to bring customers as a side effect of using the product/service
  • sticky growth in which you rely on the fact that the customers are going to use the service in some regular fashion, paying for the service each time (via subscription for example).

These growth strategies are sustainable in the sense that they do not require continuous large capital investments or publicity stunts.

It is important to know as soon as possible which strategy or combination of strategies is the most effective at driving growth.

Applying The Scientific Method

The scientific method is a set of techniques that helps us figure out correct stuff. After making some observations regarding a phenomenon, you formulate a hypothesis about that phenomenon.

The hypothesis is an assumption that needs to be proven correct or incorrect. You then design experimentations that are going to challenge the assumption.

The results of the experimentations makes the correctness or incorrectness of the hypothesisclear allowing us to make judgments about its validity.

In the lean startup methodology, your job as an entrepreneur is to formulate two hypothesis:

  • hypothesis of value (assumptions about your value proposition)
  • hypothesis of growth (assumptions about the effectiveness of the growth strategy)

These hypothesis are then validated/invalidated through experimentation. Following the precepts of lean manufacturing, the lean startup methodology prescribes to make experimentations while minimizing/eliminating waste.

In other words, you have to burn minimum cash, effort and time when running experiments.

An experimentation in the lean startup sense is usually an actual product/service and helps startups in early stage learn invaluable things about their eventual future market.

Sometimes startups learn that nobody wants their product/service, imagine spending 8 months worth of engineering, design and promotion work (not to mention cash) in a product/service only to discover that it does not provide value to anyone.

Minimum Viable Products And Feedback

As we pointed out earlier, an experimentation can be an actual product or service and is called the minimum viable product(MVP).

The MVP is built to contain just enough features to validate the value and growth hypotheses, effectively requiring minimum time, effort and cash.

By getting the MVP launched and in front of real users, entrepreneurs can get concrete feedback from them either directly by asking them (in focus groups for example) or via usage analytics.

Analytics scales better then directly talking to customers but the latter is nonetheless used to cross validate results from the former.

It is crucial to focus on metrics that creates fine grained visibility about the performance of the business when building(or using) a usage analytics system. These metrics are called actionable metrics because they can link causes and effects clearly allowing entrepreneurs to understand the consequences of ideally each action executed. Cohort analysis is an example of a analytics strategy that focuses on actionable metrics.

The bad kind of metrics are called vanity metrics, these tend to hide how the business is performing, gross numbers like total users count are an example of vanity metrics.

The author cites several examples of different startups that managed to validate or debunk their early assumption by building stripped down and non scalable MVPs and even sometimes by not building software at all.

You would be surprised to hear for example how the Dropbox folks in their early stage managed to created a ~4 minute video demonstrating their product while it was still in development. The video allowed them to get more people signed up in their beta waiting list and raise capital more easily.

Closing Thoughts

In the first two parts of the book, the author talks also about how employees inside big companies working on highly innovative products and services can benefit greatly from the lean startup approach, although very interesting this is not very useful for me right now.

The third part, talks about the challenges that arises when the startup gets big and starts to stabilize and how to address them. Basically it revolves around not loosing the innovative spirit of the early days, again, this is not very useful for me so maybe for good future reading.


About the Author

This article was produced by Tech Dominator. see more.

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Women on Top in Tech – Dr. Sanna Gaspard, Founder and CEO of Rubitection



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Dr. Sanna Gaspard is the Founder and CEO of Rubitection, a medical device start-up developing a diagnostic tool for early stage pressure detection, assessment, and management. She is an Entrepreneur, inventor, and biomedical engineer with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare and medical devices. She has received recognition and awards including being selected as a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards(’13), a semi-finalist for the Big C competition (’14), a finalist for the Mass Challenge Business accelerator in Boston, and taking 1st place at the 3 Rivers Investment Venture Fair’s Technology showcase (‘11). Her vision is to make the Rubitect Assessment System the global standard solution for early bedsore detection and management.

What makes you do what you do? 
I am driven to have impact and improve healthcare as I have a strong drive to problem solve, comes up with new ideas, and see them come to life.

How did you rise in the industry you are in? 
I first focused on getting the educational background and then I pursued the goals I have for myself. I got my PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in medical device development. Having the educational background is important as a woman and minority to assist people in taking your seriously.  After completing my PhD, I focused on bringing my invention for a medical device for early bedsore detection and prevention called the Rubitect Assessment System to market to help save lives and improve care.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I started my startup, Rubitection , because I felt it was the best way to bring the technology to market. I knew that if I did not try to commercialize the technology, it would not make it to the doctors and nurses. I also have confidence that I could manage developing the technology since I had taken classes on entrepreneurship and had my PhD in biomedical engineering with a specialization in medical devices.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
No, I don’t have a specific mentor in my field. I am looking for one at the moment. However, I do look up to Steve Jobs and Oprah as examples of how one can start with nothing and work their way up and build a successful, global, and reputable business and brand.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?  
I first try to find people who have fundamental technical or work experience to be competent to complete the work. I then evaluate the person for intangible skills like independent thinking, reliability, leadership, resilience, organizational skills, strong work ethic, open mindedness/flexibility, and good communication skills.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why? 
I consciously make an effort as a minority woman in tech, I intimately understand the need to promote diversity within my business and outside my business. I first hire the best people for the job and also make a point to hire women and minorities qualified for the position.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?  
It takes resilience, vision, being a team player, an ability to inspire others and delegate work, knowing your weakness, and knowing when to put your business or yourself first.

Advice for others?
My advice to others is to take calculated risks, pursue every opportunity, surround yourself with supporters, build your team with smart dedicated people, and stay focused on your vision. I am striving to implement this advice myself as I work towards commercializing my technology for early bedsore detection, grow my team, and recruit clinical partners to address an $11 billion US healthcare problem which affects millions around the world.

If anyone is interested in learning more about our work or company, please contact us at [email protected].

To learn more about Dr. Sanna Gaspard, CEO of Rubitection visit:

If you’d like to get in touch with Dr. Sanna Gaspard, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about Rubitection, please click here.

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