Dr Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu
Honorary University Fellow (2023)
As the saying goes, how to keep the momentum going is key to success. Businessmen often find it more difficult to sustain a business than to start one, especially for a family business. The second generation to lead the Fook Tin Group Holdings Limited, its Managing Director, Dr Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu has proven that this is not always the case. With his acute market sense, unceasing strive for innovation and more importantly, a steadfast commitment, Dr Chai has successfully transformed a small factory into a multinational conglomerate.
When Dr Chai joined the Fook Tin Group in 1988 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States, the family business was a small factory with diverse product lines ranging from plastic household goods to small electrical appliances. In his observation, most of these products were facing a saturating market except one – the scale. He then strategically shifted the company’s focus to this blue ocean market, and created the first connected scale in the world, which became the forerunner of today’s Internet of Things (IoT) smart scales.
Indeed, Dr Chai’s commitment to innovation has driven his family business to new heights. Through the acquisition of technology companies, the Fook Tin Group managed to apply the most advanced technology to develop professional scales for medical, industrial and automotive use, and became one of the leading manufacturers in the world. Such remarkable achievement brought Dr Chai the very well-known appreciation as “King of Scales” as well as the Young Industrialist Award of Hong Kong in 2004.
Despite the accomplishments in his career, Dr Chai has continued to equip himself with new knowledge and skills. He returned to the university and completed an EMBA programme in 2007. He was later awarded the Doctor of Engineering degree in 2010.
As a prominent industrialist and entrepreneur, Dr Chai is keen to contribute to Hong Kong’s innovation, technology and industrial sectors with his expertise and experience. He became one of the youngest members to join the Board of Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute and was the Chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI). Currently, he is the Chairman of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP). He is also a member of the Chief Executive’s Council of Advisers (Innovation and Entrepreneurship), a member of the Advisory Committee on Attracting Strategic Enterprises, the Office for Attracting Strategic Enterprises, and a Council Member of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. He was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2018, appointed as Justice of the Peace in 2021 and awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star in 2023 by the HKSAR Government for his outstanding contribution to Hong Kong.
In addition, Dr Chai is a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and a committee member of the CPPCC Chongqing Committee.
Commitment is the driving force behind Dr Chai’s dedication to serve the community. As the Honorary President of FHKI, Dr Chai has been actively promoting re-industrialisation in Hong Kong and rejuvenating the local industries. As the Chairman of HKSTP, he has been working hard with his team to create a conducive environment for innovation with a goal of realising Hong Kong’s potential of being an international innovation and technology centre.
Under Dr Chai’s leadership, HKSTP’s ecosystem has grown to become a hub for over 1,300 start-ups and tech ventures from over 22 countries and regions. Most notably, Dr Chai has advocated the repositioning of the three industrial estates in Tai Po, Yuen Long and Tseung Kwan O into the newly branded “InnoPark”. In support of the Government’s “new industrialisation” vision, the InnoParks unlock new opportunities with the “Innofacturing” concept, which infuses innovation into existing industries with advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, data analytics and IoT.
Dr Chai has also played a vital role in bridging research and the industry. A staunch supporter of research translation, he has established the connection between HKSTP and the local universities, including Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), to facilitate the transformation and realisation of research and development outcomes after he took the helm of HKSTP as its Chairman. He has also striven to deepen the collaboration among the government, industry, academia and research institutes, which he believes would help fill the gap between research and commercialisation. As a pioneer in the use of AI, he is fully supportive of the development of art-tech and cultural-tech in Hong Kong, and is particularly impressed by the work of HKBU in this regard through its Visualisation Research Centre.
Whether it is the family business, public service or personal interests, Dr Chai has demonstrated that commitment is the key to success. Even in times of challenges or failures, he stayed devoted and motivated in all his endeavours. Dr Chai is undoubtedly a role model of the younger generation.