HAVING AN EDGE AND CONSTANTLY INNOVATING IS A MUST.
As a Managing Director, Bobby Ting Sie Ching has shown great examples of leadership in running a business, guiding it from start-up to a fast-rising company.
As part of Sarawak’s prominent Ting’s family, headed by his parents Tan Sri Dato’ Paduka Dr Ting Pek Khiing and Puan Sri Datin Paduka Wong Sui Chuo, it should come as no surprise then that Bobby Ting would want to step forward and be counted, stamping his own mark in the world.
Bobby eventually ventured into the construction business, which all began after he came back to Kuching and his father put him into selling mangoes. “I was the one that helped my father start up and somewhat commercialise the mango business. It was from a very canteen approach as we did not have a brand or logo at that time. A few others and I reorganised and branded it, and so that is why you can see Ming Kiong’s red boxes as quite prominent now,” said Bobby. He handled this line of business for few years, which proved to be successful.
“My first job happened to be in construction,” he shares. “This was when I was still in Sydney. And, although working for others was a great learning process, I soon realised that all this effort would reward the business owner rather than contribute to the family business. So, it didn’t take long before I rushed to complete my MBA so I could rejoin the family. But, truth be told, I didn’t really know that I would end up in construction at first, as my father had a diverse range of businesses, which ranged from hospitality, plantations and other agricultural businesses. It was only after touching base in a few of them that I realised building and construction was where my passion lay. So, I took it on full-fledged and never looked back.”
Today, as Managing Director of two highly-regarded companies – Hydro-Icon is a construction Company incorporated in year 2007 specialise in the water treatment plant, design, engineering and construction of water and wastewater treatment equipment and systems; and Elica, a new development group that is currently making headlines for its debut project, The Republic in Kuching – Ting has made it clear that, although he’s the youngest in his formidable family, he is a force to be reckoned with in his own right. After all, “age is just a number,” as he rightfully points out. As the managing director now for both Hydro Icon Sdn Bhd and development group Elica Sdn Bhd, it can be said that Bobby has come a long way from being a beginner in the construction business.
And, if last year was anything to go by, it would seem his time in the sun has come. His maiden property development project, The Republic by Elica, in Kuching’s Kempas Heights, did him proud by clinching the prestigious Best Residential Property Development award at the 2014 South East Asian Property Awards Malaysia. Having had always to work extra hard in order to prove himself, such accolades prove sweet savour for Ting. “We were cautious when we launched it, uncertain of the economy. But we took a gamble to embark on a high- end, luxurious and niche product. It’s been a wonderful journey so far – plenty of hard work and planning – but we have strived as a team to get to where we are today. Construction and property development have always been my passion this was great recognition for what we have done to date.”
Touching on the Chinese adage that wealth seldom lasts beyond three generations, Ting brushes it off as an over-generalisation.
“It is not important that wealth survives as much as life lessons learnt,” he muses wisely. “Wealth may dwindle due to economic factors and that’s a lot for future generations to overcome. But, transcending the importance of family and togetherness and following one’s dreams is far more important. If future generations can follow a genuine passion of their own, success will surely follow. Young people need to follow their passion and intuition because, if you have that, success will come. All you need is just to work hard at it. Young people want to be successful yet, these days, everyone wants fast results. But success and wealth has never come easily. You have to endure challenges, work hard, persevere and grow on them to ensure success.”
On his own plans for continuous success, Ting is pragmatic and states that “having an edge and constantly innovating is a must.” A firm believer in the importance of differentiation and standing out from the crowd, he has also strived to ensure that his teams at Elica and Hydro- Icon follow suit. He acknowledges that the completion of each project is always a highlight. “Each site has its own challenges and is always different and unique from the last one. We have learnt and built upon each task, which, for Hydro- Icon, gives us our competitive edge in water treatment plants in Sarawak.”
Aside from innovation and gaining the proverbial edge, Ting also stresses the importance of having the right team to back you up. “I am extremely fortunate to have the team I do – they are the core of the business. I also think a vital key to our success is the ability to let go and not micromanage too many issues. You have to, ultimately, trust the people you work with while working with them to solve issues. And, when you can see eye to eye with your team, rest assured they will have the company’s interests at heart.” This certainly stands Ting in good stead as he welcomed the latest addition to his family, a baby boy named Kingston, born in December last year – yet another blessing for him, his wife Shen- Tel and toddler Benjamin.
Drive, determination and a razor-sharp focus are all qualities Ting has honed over the years. It certainly helps, of course, that he spent much of his youth basking in the sporting limelight as Australia’s Under 17 rugby and rowing champion – an experience that has made him clearly aware of the benefits of teamwork as well as how to best contribute in a team environment. “What I’ve learnt, as a sportsman, is that no matter what you do, you must do it with righteousness – play by the rules and with integrity. If you win, do so with grace. But, should you lose, learn from your mistakes and build on it to take on the next match.”
Despite what the future may hold, Ting is clear that all he wants is “to give future generations a bit more than what I had. Even for my staff – I want them to build upon what they have experienced working with me and to build on that for their own future generations.” But for now, his ‘bigger picture’ includes continuous growth. And foremost in Ting’s Five-Year Plan includes a trio of D’s: Diversification, Development and Definition. “I want to see Hydro-Icon and Elica moving into other infrastructure projects like developing large-scaled land plots into new aged suburbs as well as redefining conventional building practices using more innovative construction methods. Construction doesn’t mean Hydro-Icon is doing just water treatment plants or Elica only building high-end residential condominiums. I want to see us further ourselves and build more diverse products, from infrastructure and housing to roads, while leveraging on the skill-sets learnt from our current projects so we can tackle more challenging jobs!” Tellingly, he also adds that “I’d also like to see both companies expand into Peninsular Malaysia to take on larger, more established companies.”
Bobby Ting is a winner of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2015 BIMP-EAGA, under the Most Promising Category. The Awards were held on 1st August 2015 at Miri Marriott Resort and Spa, Sarawak, Malaysia.