May 26, 2009 Teleconference Questions and Comments

Topic: Threats and opportunities to family business in Hong Kong and China
Panelists: Kevin Au (Professor and Associate Director, Chinese University of Hong Kong Center for Entrepreurship), Lu Yuan, (Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong), Roger King (Non-executive Director, Orient Overseas International Ltd).


Recording of the teleconference

Part One

  • Status of family business in Hong Kong
  • Many family businesses do not want to be identified as a family business
  • 70% of companies on the stock market are family controlled
  • Global financial uncertainty may delay family business succession
  • Traditional Chinese culture has a clear order of hierarchy in the family -- respecting the patriarch
  • Many children are sent abroad for education.


Part Two

  • Impact of China's "one child" policy on family business succession
  • Financial uncertainty presents acquisition opportunities for patient capital
  • Some Chinese have "the bag is packed" mentality -- so reluctant to invest in fixed assets
  • Chinese tend to accept managers only from the family -- and this can limit globalization of the family business.



Part Three

  • Opportunities for non-Asian family businesses in China
  • Non-Chinese family businesses trying to do business in China face cultural challenges in their assumptions regarding the meaning of "family"
  • Those children sent abroad for education may not be well prepared to run a business
  • The promotion of the market economy in 1979 means that many family businesses are about 30 years old -- and thus still a little early for succession.