Mr Cheng Chak-kuen
Honorary University Fellow (2019)
Entrepreneur, philanthropist and citizen of the highest integrity, Mr Cheng Chak-kuen is Chairman of Dongguan Xingye Trade Development Company Limited and a native of Humen Town in Dongguan city. Born into a poor family with a large number of siblings, his mother passed away when he was nine-years-old. He only received three years of formal education before joining the workforce at the age of 14. Travelling from village to town to city, he engaged in a variety of industries, including the cement, garment, car sales, finance and transport business, among others. Following some early successes, he partnered with his friends and developed businesses across a number of regions in the Mainland, extending his footprint to Hainan Island, Anhui and Nanjing. With his shrewd market acumen, Mr Cheng founded Dongguan Xingye in the early 1980s, and his company has since developed into the conglomerate it is today. Success, he says, is built on a solid business paradigm: “To do business in a civilised manner and pay tax pursuant to law”.
As a Hong Kong member of the Guangdong Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, President of the Federation of Hong Kong Guangdong Community Organisations and Vice-President of the Humen Chamber of Commerce, Dongguan, Mr Cheng is dedicated to the principle of “While you take from society, you should also give back to society”. Over the years, he has actively shown his concern for engaging in national affairs, in particular, offering advice to the community of Humen Town on maintaining its social order and healthcare reforms. He is very affectionate towards his hometown, Humen, making tremendous contributions to a number of diverse initiatives. He is equally devoted to promoting economic, commercial and cultural exchange among Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. On the other hand, Mr Cheng believes he has a predestined relationship with Buddha. As the Deputy Director of the Religious Society Hong Kong Center of China, Mr Cheng often meets with the different religious organisations of Southeast Asia and spares no effort in promoting the exchange of religious culture in accordance with the One Belt, One Road philosophy.
As the old Chinese saying goes, “Education is key to alleviating poverty”. Mr Cheng is not only good at doing business, but is also a man of wisdom. For many years, he has been doing good deeds, shouldering social responsibility and promoting cultural education. He has generously funded the establishment of the Xindu Cultural and Art Museum and the Humen Library in his hometown, Humen. He has also established a number of hope primary schools in China, with the aim of improving the teaching and learning environment of grassroots children in China.
Mr Cheng is also an aficionado of diverse cultures and is passionate about collecting Chinese ink calligraphy and paintings. He is particularly fond of the artistic works of Professor Jao Tsung-i, a world-renowned scholar of Chinese classical studies, and has made donations to support the spread of his works, with an aspiration to pass on Chinese culture to the next generation. To further promote the works of Professor Jao, Mr Cheng took up the post of Honorary Deputy Chairman of The Jao Studies Foundation. Deeply inspired and influenced by Professor Jao, in recent years he has delved into the study of Chinese calligraphy, hoping to emulate Professor Jao’s innovative scholarship and spirit. Through the practice of Chinese calligraphy over the years, Mr Cheng has cultivated a mindset for spiritual nourishment and meditation, and he applies this “peaceful” mindset to his interpersonal relationships.
“One’s life is determined in order by fate, luck, fengshui, virtue and education.” This is another old Chinese saying which Mr Cheng strongly believes in, and he puts this saying into practice conscientiously. He believes that one’s fate depends on every decision that one makes. Thus he loves to enlarge his social circle by making friends with people who have a positive attitude. He also regards persistent effort, compliance with government policies, uniting friends, building the virtue of charity, and developing an unbiased attitude towards life as guiding principles. As a father of four children, Mr Cheng hopes the next generation can contribute to the Hong Kong and Mainland communities through the promotion of traditional Chinese culture.
Mr Cheng is philanthropic and has been greatly benevolent throughout his lifetime, making tremendous contributions to a number of charities. He has funded the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology in support of its promotion of Chinese classical studies. Furthermore, he has generously donated HK$6 million to HKBU to establish the Mr Cheng Chak Kuen Local Students Bursary and the Mr Cheng Chak Kuen Scholarship, with the aim of supporting financially needy local students who hope to pursue studies at HKBU, and to continuously support the University to nurture more eminent future leaders for the benefit of society. Undoubtedly, Mr Cheng sets a great example for the Honorary University Fellows of HKBU.