Hing Kee Java Edible Bird's Nest Co., Ltd. (樓上)
Kent is the founder of Hing Kee Java Edible Bird's Nest Co., Ltd. (樓上), the pioneer of the upper floor shop. Under Kent's leadership, the business grew rapidly from its origins as an upstairs shop selling bird's nest products to a well-known chain store offering diversified products and its own line of ready-to-eat products made in its own factory.
Today, the company offers a broad range of products ranging from swallows' nests and Japanese sea cucumbers, to dried seafood with herbal tonics and other international products. It employs over 500 staff and operates 25 shops across Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China; and has won numerous awards including the "Hong Kong Top Brand" award by the Hong Kong Brand Development Council.
Kent continues to be a strong supporter of HKUST and gives back to the university in various ways. Financially, he matched alumni donations to the HKUST Alumni Endowment Fund dollar for dollar up to HK $2 million in 2012. He also hires fellow graduates through his company's management trainee program, as he appreciates the creativity and global outlook instilled into HKUST alumni as a result of the university's holistic education program. More recently, Kent's company pledged an annual scholarship for PhD students researching health and quality living.
"I enjoyed my time at HKUST very much. Of course, I learned a lot on the academic side, which has really helped me in setting up my own business, but it is more than that. I was in Hall 4, and being with so many really smart people, I learned a lot about myself. I became more outgoing as a person and also more humble. HKUST has done a lot to help us in our lives. It is worthwhile for me to give back," says Kent.