Mr Michael Hui Wah-kit
Honorary University Fellow (2020)
There is a saying in I Ching, “The Heavens are in motion ceaselessly; so will the Enlightened exert themselves constantly. The Earth nurtures all life in nature; so will the Virtuous be broad-minded and accommodating to the needy.” This saying perfectly describes Mr Michael Hui, an entrepreneur who has been successfully managing his business in a forever changing world. At the same time, he has selflessly rendered support to others, including his business friends and young people in the community, and he has helped them to advance in life.
Born into an ordinary family, the young Mr Hui completed junior high in Hong Kong and continued his secondary education in the USA, and later went to Cornell University to study Economics. Upon graduation in 1990, he stayed behind to work, respectively, in the property development and real estate management industries. He returned to Hong Kong in 1997 to help his father, the Honourable Mr Hui Cheung-ching, run the family garment business, so that his father could have time to take up the import-export functional constituency seat of the HKSAR Legislative Council. Passionate and energetic, the young Mr Hui quickly picked up the fundamentals of the garment industry, from assessing the quality and characteristics of fabrics to the operation of the production lines. The learning process was strenuous and challenging, but also rewarding. Today, Mr Hui is the Managing Director of Freedom Industrial Corporation (Freedom), and a renowned business leader in the import and export industry in Hong Kong.
While most of the manufacturing processes in Hong Kong shifted to Guangdong Province for economic reasons starting from the 1980s onwards, the rising production costs on the Mainland since the turn of the century have led to entrepreneurs such as Mr Hui rethinking their business models. In addition to assuming the role of a manufacturer and trader, Freedom has further diversified its clientele, and transformed its business model from traditional sales and trade fair to brand development and management, and unto e-commerce and online sales channels recently. Mr Hui always emphasises that for a business to succeed, innovation and brand building are extremely essential.
While Mr Hui continued to build up his connections in the business sphere in Hong Kong and China, he was often approached by his business associates to help them start a company in Hong Kong. That gave him the idea of founding an executive search firm of his own, and the company Elysian Executive Solution was subsequently created. Today, the firm not only helps financial institutions in Hong Kong and China to recruit professionals, but it also provides an exclusive club that brings together professionals from all over the world to share their experiences and explore collaborations with their counterparts.
Mr Hui cares about young people. As the former Chairman of the Hong Kong United Youth Association, he is of the view that young people are the future of a country, and therefore more effort should be put into creating a better environment for them to blossom. To that end, he always makes time in his busy schedule for youth work. Besides giving talks to secondary school students, he has also lined up his business associates to provide internship positions to university students. The training opportunities provided thus far have proved to be most useful, particularly in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008. In recent years, Mr Hui has connected experts in different fields to assist young start-ups to create their own future by setting up companies and expanding markets in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.
Versatile and well-connected in the business sector, Mr Hui demonstrates a keen and astute business acumen and enthusiasm for trade and commerce. Besides being the Vice President of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ and Exporters’ Association and Chairman of the Industry Training Advisory Committee (Import and Export) of the Education Bureau, he is also the Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Committee, which advises the Chief Executive on the development of SMEs in Hong Kong and suggests measures to support and facilitate both their development and growth. In addition, Mr Hui has subsequently served as a part-time member of the Central Policy Unit, a member of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and a member of the Programme Management Committee of the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales. He was also appointed a member of the Greater Pearl River Delta Business Council, advising the HKSAR Government on matters pertaining to the promotion of business development and economic co-operation. Recently, Mr Hui has been re-appointed as a member of the Competition Commission, which assists in the formulation and implementation of the competition ordinance and promotes Hong Kong to become a fairer and more efficient free trade city.
Mr Hui is no stranger to the HKBU community. He has been an Honorary Court member of the University since 2009, and he was a member of the HKBU Council between 2013 and 2015, during which time he served on the Finance and Personnel Committees of the Council. Mr Hui was instrumental in inviting China’s first astronaut Mr Yang Liwei as well as former national gymnastics team member and Olympic gold medallist Miss Cheng Fei to the HKBU campus for sharing sessions with students. He also worked with entrepreneurs from local SMEs to provide internship positions to students of the University’s College of International Education. Due to his business experience on the Mainland, he was appointed as Member, and later Chairman, of the University’s Advisory Committee for the Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) in China Studies Programme between 2011 and 2018.
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and significant contributions to youth work, Mr Hui was conferred the Medal of Honour in 2009, and appointed Justice of the Peace in 2015 by the HKSAR Government.
Today we honour Mr Hui, a man who not only works hard to advance his business, but who also offers exceptional support to his business associates. He cares about young people and is willing to commit an inordinate amount of his time to youth work. Such virtue is a shining model for all, and especially our students.