19 November 2019
Ricky Wong says entrepreneurs must forgo 'work-life balance' if they want to be successful. Photo: HKEJ
Ricky Wong says entrepreneurs must forgo 'work-life balance' if they want to be successful. Photo: HKEJ

Ricky Wong to HK youths: Roll up your sleeves and stop carping

Hong Kong Television Network Ltd. (01137.HK) chairman Ricky Wong said Hong Kong has plenty of opportunities waiting to be tapped.

He told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that young people are complaining when they are not even ready for challenges.

“I look down on people who decide to give up on themselves by using the excuse that society has no more opportunities for them,” he said.

Instead, he said Hong Kong’s youths should stop complaining and roll up their sleeves.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Wong’s business empire being listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Wong, 55, said he has no regrets returning to Hong Kong from Canada three years after his family emigrated there in 1989, adding Hong Kong is “still a good place”.

Wong launched an international direct dialing (IDD) business in Hong Kong and the company rapidly grew to become a listed firm in 1997.

Hong Kong people appear to have lost confidence in “one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” in the past five years or so, compared with the first five to 10 years after the handover when the level of confidence was high.

In 2012, Wong decided to venture into an entirely new business — television broadcast — by selling his profitable business for HK$5 billion.

“Now everyone can see what a painful decision it was,” Wong said.

Wong’s TV dreams have cost him nearly HK$2 billion. Having switched his TV business model to an online shopping platform, Wong is still incurring a daily loss of HK$600,000.

“I have no regrets going down this route as I have given it my 200 percent,” Wong said.

Wong said there will always be opportunities in life and it is down to whether the person is ready to step up to grab them.

Wong said it will not be difficult for young people to buy their first property if they work seven or 6.5 days a week and save half of their income without spending money on bad habits.

When his peers were buying BMWs, Wong, who was already making a million dollars a year in the 1980s, said he bought a HK$7,000 car. That was the reason he was able to start his own business.

Entrepreneurs must forgo “work-life balance” if they want to be successful, he said, adding if one desires a laid-back lifestyle and a balanced life, he or she is not entitled to complain.

Wong said Hong Kong should have its own flagship online shopping platform, like Taobao and in China, or else local shops can only be found on mainland websites in 10 to 20 years’ time.

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Hong Kong Economic Journal