Ka is Driving Transformation In A Most Compassionate Industry
What’s your story?
Six years ago, I took a 90 degree turn with my career when I quit a management role in an electronics brand to start White Lily (whitelily.com.hk). After sensing a strong religious calling, I took on the challenge to set up one of the toughest startups in the city, working in one of the most shunned industries, but doing something that is compassionate and meaningful.
What excites you most about your industry?
The funeral industry and death has been a topic long avoided by local Chinese. There is so much improvement that can be made to this industry and I’m excited to be the one who is driving that transformation. I also love being able to help people, during their most difficult time, dealing with the loss of a loved one.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born in Hong Kong, was educated locally, and completed my tertiary degrees in the US. I continued to work in the US for several years after graduation. It is my understanding of both cultures that allows me to bring a fresh perspective to the traditional Chinese funeral industry in Hong Kong.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is a very business friendly city. A lot of essential elements are built into the system to help entrepreneurs start a business. Hong Kong is well structured and caters strongly, across the board, to assist with human resources, finances, and banking.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have learned much from people, from all walks of life, and from weekly sermons and Bible study. My favorite verse from the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by faith, not by sight.”
Who inspires you?
Tatsuya, in the manga “Touch” for his wit, grit and humility.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m reminded that history repeats itself, and that anything can happen. The recent events with Covid-19 triggers the end (or beginning) of an economic cycle that history tells us happens every decade or so.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have had kids when I was younger, much younger.
How do you unwind?
I like to play golf and go fishing, however, while we are social distancing, it’s watching movies and having conversations with my wife.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hokkaido. You can do almost any outdoor activity year round. There’s something suitable for all seasons.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-given Potential,” by Gordon T. Smith. It will help you figure out why you want to be in business, which is crucial for someone who is running a business, especially during tough times.
Shameless plug for your business:
White Lily is a bespoke funeral services company in Hong Kong with the goal of walking alongside families who have just lost their loved ones. We believe every life is unique, precious, and deserving of a dignified ceremony to commemorate the end of their journey.
We passionately create opportunities for families and friends to honour their loved ones while receiving comfort and healing.
As one of the few licensed funeral service providers in Hong Kong, White Lily is committed to high quality, personalized services, delivered with passion and care.
We have built White Lily to be the best funeral company in Hong Kong.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.