As Joint Managing Director for Chuang’s Consortium, an investment holdings company specialising in property development, investments, hotel and serviced apartment operations and management based in Hong Kong, Edwin Chuang is always under pressure.
He oversees an international portfolio of investment properties spanning industrial, residential, and office spaces, as well as taking care of the company’s asset management and trading opportunities.
While he’s passionate about the work, enthusing during our conversation about his business’s technological integration and dedicated team, he interestingly mentions that after a long week at work, he relaxes by boxing. “Work can be so incredibly stressful,” he says. “But when I get that opportunity to fight – to throw a punch – suddenly the stress is gone. I feel refreshed and quietened.”
That detail seems out of character for Edwin. In conversation, he’s affable, and his speech is both eager and impressively exhaustive in detail. He’s polite, and his enthusiasm for the gym and deep-sea diving seem far more typical of his tempered demeanour.
He loves to get in the ring, though. So much so that he’s devoted his business prowess to his very own speakeasy sports bar called Paper Street – a name inspired by the 1999 film Fight Club. “During the day, we operate the club as a small, one-on-one, personal boxing gym,” he says. In conversation, Edwin’s voice climbs in intensity as he reveals that behind that façade hides a large, unassuming sports bar.
He’s invested a lot into perfecting the ‘Fight Club experience’; every Friday, he invites professional fighters to come along and spar in the front gym for the entertainment of patrons.
“It’s just an easy-going thing,” he says. “The fights are always so powerful, and everyone has such an exciting time.” On that detail, his enthusiasm for the rough and tumble of boxing begins to make more sense. Equally passionate about property development, Edwin is devoted to offering dedicated, singular experiences for patrons, with Paper Street an apt example of that.
It’s a passion that started in his childhood when he spent time with his father, who is the chairman of Chuang’s Consortium. As a child, he saw construction in its many stages for the first time, marvelling at the work his father was involved in.
Later in life, when he attended university in New York City and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and architecture, he became enamoured with the city’s iconic urban architectural wonders.
“I don’t think people realise that it’s such an incredibly old city. That’s what makes the property there so fascinating. Like in Brooklyn, where the buildings have been transformed into residential areas with farmers’ markets, or the Meatpacking District, where most of the industrial space is now retail.
That conversion from nothing to something is rousing.” It’s iconic restoration efforts like this that made Edwin as passionate as he is about refurbishing properties all over the world. “I just love to work with something old and turn it into something new.”
During our conversation, Edwin eagerly rattles off a list of projects that are commanding his attention right now. He effuses about his work throughout the Philippines, including regenerative coral art commissioned for his Pacific Cebu Resort, along with the construction of new villas throughout the sparse and underdeveloped region of Palawan.
In Hong Kong, he’s invested heavily into luxury houses at The Peak and residential developments in Tuen Mun and Kowloon, while developing hotels internationally in markets as challenging as Mongolia and Vietnam.
Across all projects, Edwin emphasises detail, focusing on ensuring that guests enjoy a tailored experience. “It’s difficult to offer an experience that is perfect for everyone,” he admits, “but what this business can do is understand what guests want. That starts by engaging people on a face-to-face level.”
Edwin devotes significant attention towards this aspect of property development. “I try to accommodate our guests by knowing about their journey,” he says. “That starts with doing a lot of simple stuff to customise the experience, like finding a juice that matches with a customer’s mood to go with their lunch. Or, if they already have meal plans, recommending restaurants that we think they would like.”
Because no one guest is alike, with some on layovers and others on family holidays, Edwin realises the futility of trying to employ all-encompassing solutions. Instead, his vision of success for Chuang’s Consortium rests on maintaining his personal rapport with occupants.
“Success needs a clear mindset,” he tells The CEO Magazine, “and you must be mindful. You must be creative, and you must listen. Honestly, that’s as simple as talking to your customers. You’ll only know that if you put yourself out there.”