It was a great privilege for Asia Blockchain Review (ABR) to catch up with Datuk Clifford Hii, Group Managing Director of HCK Capital Group, recently. This is the first part of our interview with him.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to talk to Asia Blockchain Review. We greatly appreciate your time and consideration in this matter. First and foremost, how are things with you and HCK Capital Group as we navigate this new normal?
Progress had been slow initially, but we do see some momentum in the real estate and education sectors given the number of COVID-19 infection has been manageable over the past few weeks.
In the real estate development front, we already have 100% of our manpower back to work in the office. As for our construction business, the pace is slower considering that there are SOPs in place for foreign workers, notably the need to subject each and every one of them to the COVID-19 test.
With the ongoing global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, trade war imbalances and now violent protests over the recent killing and shooting of African American individuals, the situation in the US must be quite precarious for businesses as a whole. What’s your take on all this from HCK’s perspective? Are there any ramifications here in APAC? Or are we shielded from all this?
Whenever one of APAC’s invaluable giant partners “sneezes”, we the smaller neighbouring countries will catch a cold. APAC is not shielded at all by disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and other global issues.
However, I, on behalf of HCK Capital Group, believe there are plenty of opportunities to tap if we know how to transform the current adversities into opportunities. An example is that China and the US are currently not in good terms, both politically and economically.
This has prompted both countries as well as their neighbors such as Hong Kong and those in the European region to deploy their resources and investments elsewhere.
Such a move has benefited APAC member countries that boast stability given they have become recipients of new investment inflow. Another opportunity that has arisen from the COVID-19 health crisis is that prior to the pandemic, there had been over-reliance on the brick and mortar way of doing business.
With property prices in Malaysia expected to decline up to 20% in the coming months, what are some digital transformation (DX) steps that the ecosystem can undertake to weather the storm slightly? Or do you think this scenario has nothing to do with DX but with the economic fundamentals of the country that are perhaps on shaky ground? What’s HCK’s view on this?
There are two major digital transformation components that can be undertaken to enable the real estate industry weather the storm slightly, both of which leverage Big Data and AI (artificial intelligence). The first component starts with purchasers of real estate in mind. Currently, most real estate developers may have the data of their buyers.
There are some top real estate developers overseas who have in their possession information of what their potential purchasers desire in terms of layout, hence, they are able to incorporate the best tiles or carpet, the preferred furnishing or even sanitary appliances that work best for the would-be property buyers.
At the end of the day, the cost savings derived from the exercise can be passed down to the future purchasers. With reasonable pricing on the real estate, buyers will eventually gain more confidence to purchase the said real estate – either for their own use or investment purposes.