Coming from a humble background with parents committed to ensuring he had a good education was no hindrance to Albert Lui who has progressed from a small trading company to becoming an angel investor with wide links in Asia.
What’s your story?
I was born into a grassroots family, my father is a construction worker and my mom is a factory worker. I started my business journey when I graduated in 2004, from a small trading company to retail solution providers. I expanded the business to China after 5 years and started to build my business network and footprints in new business fields. I engaged in the IT industry by running a sharing economy startup in 2015, and began doing angel investment on some of the startup projects. I’m still open and keen to engage in any new fields of business.
What excites you most about your industry?
I’ve done quite a lot of different industries until now, but most of them are IT and Tech related. I’m not a technical guy and am quite a layman in the field, however how technology is changing the world and granting us a better life excites me. Actually, IT & Tech is not an individual industry. It empowers a better development of all other industries with its application, and is going to reshape our world.
What is your connection to Asia?
I have built a pretty good business network and connection since starting the retail solution business. I expanded the business from HK to China, and work closely with many of the distributors and partners in most of the Asian countries like Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. And I still work and have business activities in Korea.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Network and relationships are not the only, but are key factors of doing business. My favourite city of doing business in Asia is Korea, because my close partner is a Korean who has a very strong network and resources there which give us advantages to a certain extent. Also, Korea is quite a well developed country in Asia with good potential for growth, and it is relatively familiar to HK people.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
All businesses are people businesses. People are the key elements of a successful business, not only your clients and partners, but also your colleagues and even your competitors. Integrity is the key to building trust, and trust is the key to building relationships and networks. We can suffer a bankruptcy of wealth, but cannot suffer a bankruptcy of our credibility and integrity. Credibility and Integrity are the key elements of success, and more importantly they are the only wealth we have left and can leverage when we lose everything.
Who inspires you?
I have met many great people in life, who have shared their wisdom. But to me, my parent’s inspiration influenced me the most, especially when I was young. As I have said, we are a grassroots family and both of my parents are workers with a very low educational background. What I saw and felt from them is giving; the priceless giving of parents. We are poor, but they devoted their lives to sending me to school , sending me to tutors and even an expensive overseas student summer exchange. Their devotion to doing something they thought worthwhile inspires me a lot.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It’s sad that one of my friends has recently been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. I was blown away with this sudden news as I always think that we are still young and such things will not happen to us. It wakes me up and gets my attention to be more concerned about the importance of health and those whom we love. She is very strong, thinks positively and is going for treatment everyday. I support her deeply in my heart and have read quite a lot of different books including how meditation and energy can help retrieve the human body. She gives me an important message in life: to care for everyone in every moment. Act now, it’s never too late!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I have my time again, I would like to study harder and read more books to equip myself with more knowledge. No kidding, the first book I read seriously was after my university graduation. I didn’t like reading when I was in school and I now wish I had. I am keen to have more knowledge and wisdom, I think it would be a great help with what I’m doing. Anyway, it’s never too late.
How do you unwind?
I love to get myself out of the mess, find a quiet place for listening to some old music and have a light meditation to cool down my mind. Old music can always recall memories and help me unwind!
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love Thailand. Thailand is a wonderful place to relax. I love sunshine and the beach, I love having massages and spas , I love the seafood and also the nice and simple people there. Thailand is definitely my favourite choice of destination for relaxation in Asia.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I read a book recently named ‘The Babylonian Talmud’. It’s about the wisdom and successful business experience of Jewish people. There’s quite a lot of useful approaches and successful stories to show why and how it is possible to be successful in the business field. I highly recommend everyone in business should read this book.
Shameless plug for your business:
Retail solutions like security, people counting, face recognition solution
Multimedia interactive solution like AR and VR application
CRM and loyalty program solution
Online insurance platform
Store Design and furniture production
How can people connect with you?
You’re welcome to exchange views, share different stories and experience with different people at Albert@bytheway.com.hk.
Social Media Links:
To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favourite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects‘ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.
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’.