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Redesigning Macau: Steve Che

From humble beginnings in a small Macau alley office to being listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, fit-out and construction company Space Group has come a long way in a short time.

Che Chan U, Chairman of Space Group Holdings

And it’s all thanks to the vision and leadership of Chairman Steve Che, who founded the company early in his career and has seen it grow to become a major player in the market.

After working for an SME engineering firm for two years, straight out of National Taiwan University, Steve decided to start his own shop. Initially, it was a two-man concern, and the majority of the work was basic fittings for interior design. “The early stage of entrepreneurship was very challenging,” Steve says.

“We were facing a lack of funds, business contacts, resources and work experience. In the face of uncertainties, I have led the team through adversity, taking one step at a time, overcoming all challenges that come our way. Integrity remains my core business value.”

In 2009, Space Group secured its first renovation projects for a casino in Sofitel Macau At Ponte 16. It was responsible for the overall renovation, drainage, mechanic and electrical work, as well as the fire protection system.

“It was a contract worth around MOP$30 million (US$3.7 million) and the construction work had to be completed within a short time frame of 40 days. We mobilised more than 200 people to work from morning to late at night, devoting endless overtime to ensure timely completion. This project received a high level of customer satisfaction and achieved a gross profit of more than 40%. Driven by the success, we continue to expand our business operations
in casino renovation projects.”

Rolling the dice

That gamble has more than paid off. Today, Space Group has not only collaborated with a range of local casinos on premium fittings and construction work, it is also expanding operations overseas. In both cases, this means providing distinctive characteristics and unique flourishes to reflect the different styles of cultures from around the world.

“Many international brands have penetrated into Macau,” he reveals. “There are about 6 large resorts, 41 casinos, 117 large and small hotels, and 38,770 guestrooms in Macau. This presents us with a very stable customer base.”

Che Chan U, Chairman of Space Group Holdings

Space Group was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2018. “The process of listing a company requires an enormous amount of administrative, legal and financial work,” he says. “My team and I persevered through the challenges to complete the required task, and it was a small accomplishment for myself and the team.”

He adds that his leadership style focuses on trust and encouragement. “When a task is assigned to an employee, I inspire them to do it to the best of their ability,” Steve says.

“For myself, I like to analyse and self-challenge. Where other people see ‘wishful thinking’, as long as it is a rightful thing to do, I will eliminate all odds and realise the ideas. I will analyse the situation from multiple dimensions to determine whether the potential difficulties can be resolved.”

Steve draws on his father as his role model. “He was a park administrator, an honest and down-to-earth person,” Steve reflects. “All his salary was spent providing for the household. He never took advantage of anyone. Under his guidance, I have learned tolerance, integrity and being down-to-earth. These values remain a lifetime asset to me.”

“We should not be limited to renovation work, but propelling towards ‘Smart Living’.”

Raising the stakes

“The world is constantly evolving and so is the fitting industry,” Steve explains.

“We should not be limited to renovation work, but propelling towards ‘Smart Living’. A smart home-lock system will auto-detect when you are back home and open the door automatically – as you enter the house, all the lights will go on and the curtains will open when you say, ‘I am back.’ When you are leaving the house, simply shout, ‘I am going out!’ and all the lights and electronics will be switched off, and the surveillance system will automatically switch on to monitor any smoke or flooding. The system is connected to your mobile phone and will notify the community property management of any cases of potential mishap. Smart home living is the future for residential architecture and that will be our corporate direction going forward.”

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