Predecessors said that failure is the mother of success but in my personal experience, success is also the mother of failure. A quote from a successful male entrepreneur in Malaysia which is Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien. He was born on October 6, 1923 in Johor Bahru, Johor and is the youngest among the 3 siblings. His father was a Chinese business man, helped his uncle to run rice, soybeans and sugar business. Since the Kuok family became local small rich, Robert’s father able to provide education for him and he was graduated from the popular Singapore Raffles College. Good education became a foundation or base for Robert to manage his business.
According to Forbes, he is the richest man in Malaysia and his net worth is estimated to be around $9.6 billion as of October 2015. More than that, the Forbes’s List of World Billionaires 2015 showed that Robert was placed 110th. He is well-known for the fortunes he made through sugar, palm oil, real estate, shipping and hotel. People called him as “Asia sugar king” and “hotel king” due to he was controlling 80 percent of sugar market in Malaysia and 20 percent of world sugar market. He owned a sugarcane plantations company which is Perlis Plantations Bhd. In addition, Robert started his hotel industry in 1971 and the first Shangri-La Hotel was located in Singapore. Shangri-La Hotel is famous with the top services provided to the customers and the hotel is available all around the world. However, the biggest source of wealth originated from Wilmar International, the world's largest listed palm oil company. The name of Robert become synonymous with wealth and success nowadays.
Even though Robert owned the world’s largest listed palm oil company, he is humble and kind. He said to the people that he does not like the nickname of “Asian sugar king” as this is just a fake fame. He is an icon for a true entrepreneur. He brought inspirations to the Malaysians that interested to become entrepreneurs. There are a lot of entrepreneurial traits that we can discover or find in Robert. Entrepreneur to be should learn from the humble Robert as he is the one that Malaysians can be proud of. Robert’s richness proved that everybody can become a billionaire entrepreneur based on the hard work and determination. So it is impossible for you to say no to your ability. Robert is a legend for the Malaysians and we are going to explore the entrepreneurial traits in Robert.
First of all, team oriented is one of the entrepreneurial traits that can be found in Robert. What is team oriented? Team oriented means that everyone works in a team to achieve goals. Robert is a team oriented entrepreneur as he thinks that team oriented able to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of works in a company. Employees may state their opinion out as long as they found it useful.
For example, Robert always includes his family members to handle the business, they work as a team to bring more profits to the company. Next, Robert hired the experts from different fields and ordered them to work together so that many problems can be solved easily. It can be shown that Robert is a bright entrepreneur to manage his own business and he has his own strategy. Robert believes that team oriented is better than task oriented. This is because a task oriented person could use very negative tactics to get work accomplished but a team oriented person would think of the team members, cooperate to complete the tasks.
Secondly, Robert is a visionary person as he will not satisfies easily, he wishes to go forward in different or all industries. Robert already proved his ability to manage his business in different industries such as sugar, palm oil, hotel, shipping and so on. Robert started his business by opening the first domestic refinery, namely Malayan Sugar in Penang. Within a few years, he took control of the sugar industry in Malaysia, gained huge profits, and was hailed as Malaysia's "sugar king." However, Robert has a vision to include himself and his business in different industries so early in 1960, Robert set up a wood plant in Malaysia. The superior resources and labour conditions for the Robert development of the timber processing industry has provided a broad prospect. Today, he has become a giant timber with a certain status in Southeast Asia, 95 percent of products are exported to Europe, America and Southeast Asian countries.
Thirdly, Robert is an open risk taker. He tends to behave in a way that can potentially cause physical harm or financial loss, but might also present an opportunity for a rewarding outcome. Most business types that thrive on innovation will encourage a risk taker mentality among management to help support the creative process in other staff members. For instance, in 1970, he acquired a large number of raw sugar, and has invested heavily in sugar trading before the rising of sugar prices. With the rise in sugar prices, he shocked the international sugar market by purchasing 600 thousand ringgit in one fell swoop. Robert and Kuok Brothers not only mastered the 80 percent Malaysian sugar market, but also through multilateral trade, total control of sugar per year of about 1.5 million tons, accounting for about 20 percent of international sugar market. Robert has boarded the "Asia sugar king" throne during the age of 40. An open risk taker is brave to take risks and make decisions. Robert believes that a person will success only if the person takes risks.
Fourthly, Robert is an observant person. Why we say like that? This is because Robert is sensitive and concerned with the changes of the economics in Malaysia and the world. Robert is keeping on track with the demand and supply of market. During 1980s, Robert made a visit to China, he found and predicted that China will become a famous travel destination for travellers due to its historical relics and sites in the future. His mindful observation brought to the result that he decided to foray into the hotel industry in China. He opened the first Shangri-La hotel in Hangzhou, China in1984. The opening of the Shangri-La hotel brought big success to the tourism in China and Robert continues to open the hotels in China. At present, there are 34 Shangri-La hotels built in China. Robert proved that an entrepreneur must concern to their surrounding and environment, always detects the changes, finds the opportunities to start a new business or to foray into a new industry.
Last but not the least, we can know that networked is one of the entrepreneurial traits in Robert. He is expert in networking. He believes that a large collection of business cards and a huge contact list doesn’t make him an expert at networking. Networking is all about building value-based relationships that are truly meaningful because these are the relationships that lead to business opportunities and long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. Robert is constantly networking with people that can not only help his business currently, but also have the potential to help him in the future as well. Robert has ability to maintain his cooperation in conjunction with a wide range of Asian businessmen and bankers, most of his partners are influential people in Asia. He appreciates the relationships between the partners and him. He will not achieve such a big success if he was not forming partnership with the fellow partners.
In a nutshell, we cannot deny that Robert is a successful entrepreneur in Malaysia or worldwide. His determination made us to respect to him. He said that business is like riding a boat, we must continue to ride forward, and otherwise a stop may lead to the boat to move backwards. Therefore, we cannot stop, we must continue to move forward, constantly looking for opportunities. Now everyone can become a billionaire entrepreneur as long as you have the passion to go all out. We must remember also falling always makes us stronger. In short, Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien, an inspirational person to the entrepreneur to be.