It takes a special kind of motivation to work in the same field for 26 years. Fortunately for Raymond Wong, General Manager of Takeda Pharmaceuticals Hong Kong, he’s carried a keen sense of purpose throughout the two and a half decades he’s spent in the pharmaceutical industry.
For Raymond, it’s all about how much it means to the patients that pharmaceutical companies deliver their products to. Takeda, as an international company, has been committed to serving the global community through healthcare solutions, from prevention to care and cure. Oncology, for example, is a crucial area, given that it can be a life-or-death field. “We focused on increasing the access to some of our ‘best in class’ oncology medicine to patients. By doing so, Takeda aspires to achieve the greatest possible health impact for patients in a sustainable way in parts of the world with high unmet needs,” says Raymond.
“We’re running a pharmaceutical business, but we have to put the patient at the centre of everything we do,” he says. “We have to find the most innovative way to serve our patients so as to build their trust and improve their lives. We believe if we do that, we have a successful company. We don’t really worry about the business as long as we can build trust and reputation.”
“We have to find the most innovative way to serve our patients so as to build their trust and improve their lives.”
It’s no surprise then that Raymond has spent so long in this career. That said, he recognises he still has a lot to learn. “In order to advance my career, something I need to gain more experience in is being more entrepreneurial,” he says. “Specifically, in terms of how we can expand our business while we better utilise our resources here in Hong Kong.”
Indeed, Raymond considers learning as one of the most important things a professional can do, both at the start of one’s career and as an experienced business leader. “You have to take every opportunity to learn,” he says. “You have to make a great effort. It’s important to learn as much as possible when you’re young. The first company you join is key. It’s one of your allies, one of your success factors. It shapes your skills and your mentality.”
Some of the lessons Raymond has learned have helped him influence his team to develop themselves professionally. “We have to create the environment to inspire people, so we can then enable them to innovate,” he says. “That’s also crucial because, as leaders, we must develop our talents and potential.
“We need to encourage every member of the team to have a healthy, productive discussion in every meeting. We want to create a safe environment for them to speak up so they can share their thoughts with us to enable fruitful discussions. Hopefully my colleagues are able to learn something in every meeting.”
“Hopefully, my colleagues are able to learn something in every meeting.”
These lessons have been invaluable in managing Takeda’s Hong Kong branch. Since Takeda as a whole is aiming to be a truly global company, it’s important that Raymond leads the team with innovation and inspiration initiatives to keep up with the Hong Kong market and the rest of the Takeda group. In fact, when Raymond became the Hong Kong General Manager, he immediately had to start working on an overhaul of the company to ensure
it was competitive.
Further expansion and growth
“When I first joined the company, one of the challenges was the corporate profile here in Hong Kong,” he says. “It was very low and, when we spoke to our main customers, there wasn’t any brand recognition. So the first thing I had to address, was how to build our corporate image and branding among Hong Kong citizens. The good news is we have been improving significantly.”
Since then, Raymond has carefully managed Takeda, supporting a range of products for the Hong Kong market. The company covers gastroenterology, oncology and over-the-counter medication, and plans to move into neuroscience products and vaccines. Given how much importance Raymond places on improving health, this expansion and growth is to be expected. After all, he believes that in addition to the company itself, the industry as a whole is dedicated to helping patients and managing disease.