Yi Cheng Chen
The 10 wealthiest men in Hong Kong are all deeply rooted in property and construction, so is it even mildly surprising to find younger names from the industry on this list?
When we catch up with Yi Cheng Chen (generally known as YC Chen), general manager at Infinity Capital Group (ICG), we had several burning questions about property. The morning we spoke, news broke that HSBC had raised its prime rate in Hong Kong, taking its cue from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in ending a decade of cheap money. How does that affect the market and was he optimistic about Hong Kong? “Absolutely,” he says. “China is growing and this will continue to present many opportunities for Hong Kong. This city has enduring strengths and has proven itself again and again. According to many global indicators, Hong Kong remains one of the world’s most favourable places to do businesses. Above all, the people and government here are resilient and efficient. It was business as usual the day after Typhoon Mangkhut, which illustrates Hong Kong’s never-say-die spirit.”
Chen graduated with double degrees in law and commerce; as an experienced litigator, he’s an expert in advising on corporate, funds, Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands law. Currently, he lends his legal expertise and finance knowledge to various property- development projects at ICG.
The group made headlines earlier this year with its multibillion-dollar project in Niseko, overseas ventures being a key to the company’s growth. “We’ve been actively building the Tellus brand [of luxury hotel and villa developments]. At this moment, it’s gaining a lot of traction in Niseko. By the end of this year, we’ll have opened three exciting developments, ranging from exclusive apartment condominiums and well-appointed land plots to a self-contained resort. I hope to continue carving out a niche in the property-development market and expand our brand into other markets, such as Thailand, Australia and China.”
So this mover, shaker and builder has much on his plate. What’s his daily routine in the luxurious ICG offices? “As the general manager,” says Chen, “I roll up my sleeves and get stuck deep into every facet of the company. I handle everything from business development and human resources to project management. The challenges are managing what feels like 10,000 things happening at the same time. I need to have a pulse on business operations, handle 45 other urgent tasks and try to make time for a breather.”
And his inspiration? “My CEO, Jonathan Cheng (and no, bonus time is not around the corner). He’s a visionary leader who empowers, enables and inspires the people around him. He has many classic lines, my favourite being: ‘At first, they’ll ask why you’re doing it. Later, they’ll ask how you did it.’”
Jacket: Loro Piana
Sweater: Stylist's own