Robert Kuok – lessons from a business magnate

robert kuok

Wilmar International. Shangri-La Hotels. Kerry Group. PACC Offshore Services…

These are just some famous companies under his business empire.

Billionaire Robert Kuok is an internationally well-known business figure, and his presence is almost everywhere, whether its helping Coca Cola to distribute their beverages in China or delivering edible oil and refined sugar to various countries throughout Southeast Asia.

Here are some pointers and takeaways we can learn from this business magnate:

On Enterprise & Management:

  • When doing business, it is inevitable that one will take the short cut to success in the beginning. Life is short and we cannot afford to always wait. If we need some short cuts to expedite the process, we must try our best to not stray from the path of virtue. But as you start to accumulate a bit of money and experience, you must not take short cuts anymore. You have to take the right path, stay on track. The development might be slow, but it will build a sound future. If you keep taking short cuts or inappropriate means to achieve your goal, you’ll be constantly at great risk
  • Every entrepreneur has a sense of mission. Although the main objective is to make tons of money, as you make money, you will start to develop a sense of mission. Without a sense of mission, one will want to retire early and hit the golf course every morning
  • Doing business is like sailing against the currents. We have to constantly row the boat in order to move forward, or we would move backward if we stop. Therefore, we must never stop. We have to keep moving forward and keep looking for opportunity
  • Opportunities exist in crisis. A businessman must always be sensitive and alert to the trends of the times
  • A staff’s sense of belonging to the company is closely related to how the staff is treated by the leader – whether the staff is being treated fairly and given a good remuneration
  • We have to diversify our business as they are all interrelated. We need courage in doing business; however be aggressive in business, not towards people

On Leadership:

  • Have a strong and highly efficient team of team of management talents and work closely with every level of subordinates for the company to thrive
  • Be fair and honest. Leaders should treat everyone with a fair and honest attitude. Courtesy and trustworthiness will contribute towards a good reputation that will gain people’s affection and motivate them to help in difficult times
  • Have a strong determination to strive for the company’s future

On Success:

  • More than 90% was hard work, wisdom, information gathering, studying the supply and demand trend, production and consumption, shipping and so on. The rest is luck

In a speech back in December 2012 on CCTV, Kuok gave a succinct speech with some advice addressed to all:

“Firstly, no matter what your pursuit is, remember to seize the opportunity. Never hesitate. If you find a great project, grasp it, be motivated.

Secondly, be patient. It will not be a smooth-sailing journey. But don’t be overcome easily. I remember the late Deng Xiaoping was like a roly-poly who always got up again every time he fell. This is a must-have attitude in doing business.

Thirdly, take extra caution as you become successful and make your fortune. Many years ago, we would say failure is the mother of success. But from my own experience, it could be vice-versa too.

And finally, as you make money, remember to contribute back to society – the more you do, the better.”

Here is an interview of the man himself!


*Images from Forbes and*

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