The BUddy Post – HKBU Alumni Affairs Office

December 2023
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Go

People・Wisdom

The Success Behind a Group Worth Ten Billion

An Interview with Alumnus Dr Jacinto Tong, HKBU Alumni Association President and Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gale Well Group Limited

Alumnus Dr Jacinto Tong, HKBUAA President and Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gale Well Group Limited, shares his insights and experience of career success.

Under the leadership of President alumnus Dr Jacinto Tong (Chemistry) who was conferred Honorary University Fellow of HKBU in 2016, the new management committee of HKBU Alumni Association (HKBUAA) was elected this summer. Currently Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gale Well Group Limited, Dr Tong has been actively engaging in strategic property investment over the years. His wisdom and diligence have driven the expansion of the company from Hong Kong to Macau and Mainland China, occupying a prominent position in the sales and tenancy markets in residential and commercial property. Dr Tong shared with us the secrets behind his success and his vision for HKBUAA.

At the Inaugural Dinner of the 63rd Executive Committee of HKBUAA, the 63rd President of HKBUAA alumnus Dr Jacinto Tong (back row, third from left) leads his executive committee members to take a photo with University representatives, including Dr Clement Chen (back row, fourth from left), Chairman of the Council and the Court of HKBU; Ms Rosanna Choi, (back row, fifth from left), Treasurer of the Council and the Court of HKBU, and Professor Alexander Wai (back row, sixth from left), President and Vice-Chancellor.

Unexpectedly Chosen by Chemistry

Even though Dr Jacinto Tong is an expert in property investment, who can imagine that he actually studied Chemistry at Hong Kong Baptist College (HKBC) when he came to Hong Kong from Macau for studies? He recalled, “When I took the admission exam, I encountered a teacher of the Department of Chemistry of HKBC and therefore I was admitted to the Department by chance. Interestingly, I was chosen by Chemistry indeed.” During his studies at HKBC, Dr Tong stayed in the dormitory and thus was able to make friends and establish close relationship with fellow schoolmates from all over the world. The countless joyful moments with fellow schoolmates formed a major part of his fond memory at HKBC. Moreover, he shared with us his wisdom on university education, “It is all about gaining communication and social skills. In my view, university education is not only about gaining knowledge per se. Establishing a good network and maintaining good interpersonal relationships, on the other hand, are vital to university life. I am glad that I can still be in touch with some of my friends at HKBC!”

The Art of Letting Go

After securing a solid foundation on academic studies at HKBC, Dr Tong continued his studies in Canada where he obtained a bachelor’s degree. After graduation, he returned to Hong Kong to develop his career. In 1976, he established together with his family the Gale Well Group Limited, which was nearly half a century from now. With his acute business acumen, Dr Tong has ever since led the Group to specialise in strategic property investment in his capacity of Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Group. The Group was ranked 25 of Forbes’s Hong Kong Richest in 2018. Dr Tong was thankful that he encountered numerous friends and mentors who all supported his business. When being asked how he gained insights into investments, he said, “Many people lost quite a lot of money in the global stock market crash in 1987 and they needed to liquidate the property in hand in order to compensate for the loss. Subsequently, I grasped the opportunity and actively invested in the property market at relatively low costs. Moreover, it is crucial to learn when to ‘let go’. Letting go in terms of willing to stop loss when the market is weak; also willing to earn less even when the market is strong. We cannot be too ‘greedy’ when it comes to investment, and timing is the key.” Dr Tong has successfully seized the golden time of investment with his foresight and decisiveness, bringing an important growth driver to the company.

Alumnus Dr Tong discusses with Dr Melanie Lee, Director of Alumni Affairs, regarding the ways to tighten the bonding between alumni and alma mater.

Bringing in New Momentum for HKBUAA

Dr Tong strives to provide staunch support for his alma mater even though he is always busy with work. This year, he has taken up the Presidency of HKBUAA, leading the new management committee to serve the University and the alumni community. He shared his vision for HKBUAA, “The new cabinet of HKBUAA consists of 3/4 executive members who graduated after 2000, because cultivating young people to support HKBU’s development is vital. They are energetic, and are willing to make changes. The pandemic did push the lessons and activities to be held online in the past few years, and this hindered them from experiencing the original university life. I hope HKBUAA will organise a variety of activities that can facilitate young people to strengthen the connection and interaction with others, especially with more senior alumni, with a view to broadening their horizons and offering guidance and internship opportunities to them. When he was asked how alumni could contribute to alma mater in return, he responded, “It is actually very simple. Join us and support the activities of HKBUAA. It is all about engagement, and it is the spirit and sense of belonging that matter.”

Alumnus Dr Tong always contributes to HKBU, and he generously made a donation to support the First-Generation University Student Fund in 2017. He attended the Ceremony together with his spouse (second from right) and took a photo with the senior management of the University.

Never Retiring nor Resting

Dr Tong really cares about the development of the young generation. He pointed out that HKBU students might be rather shy in some people’s eyes, but they are deep down very talented. He would like to give a piece of advice to young alumni, “Knowledge is intangible; therefore, it is important to expand one’s horizons. They can reach out more and take more initiatives. HKBU is actually providing many opportunities to students and alumni. They should grapple with these valuable opportunities.” As of now, he continues to expand his horizons and extend his networks, as he believes in neither retiring nor resting. He is still working every day, yet he also tries to strike a balance between work and life. In his leisure time, he enjoys playing badminton and jogging, staying energetic always while maintaining a healthy and happy life.

Alumnus Dr Tong always supports sports activities. He is the prize presentation guest for 2017 Asian Fencing Championships, and he was presenting the prize to Cheung Ka-long, who became a student of HKBU in 2022.

Dr Tong likes to play sports at his leisure time, and football is one of them.