The Standard’s Masterclass – Life Lessons and guidelines for success

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The Standard’s Masterclass – Life Lessons and Guidelines for Success (Dr. Theresa Fok)

Life lessons and guidelines for success


When encountering obstacles in business or in life, do we choose to forge ahead with the same strategy or do we choose to adapt?


During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, my company encountered great economic hardships with the overall drastic drop in property transactions and I faced an unprecedented struggle to ensure my business’ survival. My business partner decided to relinquish ownership of shares in the company at this particular tough moment. I was left at a crossroads on whether I should continue running the business on my own or to just give up. I pushed through and devised a new business strategy. At the time, I observed that there were many property vendors with multiple distressed assets on hand. I was referred by a client to two multinational French banks who appointment my company as their only real estate agency responsible for handling mortgagee sales. I assisted with networking prospective buyers with these vendors and facilitated the sales transactions to alleviate their financial burden. I believe that every crisis brings its own opportunities and you can turn poison into medicine. In this manner, my company was able to push through these challenging times.


As my company specialises in properties in the Mid-levels, the majority of my clients are expatriates who appreciate the areas proximity to Central. I noticed that most properties were of dated renovation standards and were unsuitable for the preferences of expats. I began offering a comprehensive renovation service to inject a new life into these older properties – a “win-win” accretive property investment approach that enhances the comfort for the tenant and the overall value of the property for the owner. Rental yield for my renovation projects were up to 10% at the time.


I observed Hong Kong’s rising property prices & greater stamp duties, and I proceeded to locate other viable investment options abroad. I positioned my company to occupy the international property niche market to differentiate my company from the vast majority of local real estate agencies selling only Hong Kong properties. My company acts as a crucial advisor and agency liaison for international developers interested in developing a presence in Hong Kong.In turn, we assist our investors in identifying auspicious markets abroad by handpicking quality developments to assist them in building their international property portfolio. We were among the first to be appointed directly by developers as the Exclusive Agent for a few Canadian and Malaysia properties.


Each time I encountered problems, its interesting that there were always people who would appear around me to give me negative comments and to tell me to give up. If I had listened to them, I would never be where I am today. I believed in my ability to get through all obstacles and I created opportunities paving the way for a successful future for myself and my company. A lot of the time, I find that there are people that want to do many things, jumping from one job to another. But I believe that it’s better to choose a field that is suitable to your skillset, and to persist in the event of problems, which are definitely ever present.


About Dr Theresa Fok

Dr Theresa Fok, Managing Director & Founder of the award-winning boutique real estate agency Jade Land Properties (HK) Limited, is a property investment expert with entrepreneurial vision and over two decades of extensive experience in real estate investment and property management across the Asia Pacific region.


The Standard’s Master Class

The Standard’s brand new online video series ‘Master Class’ features the successful female entrepreneur Dr Theresa Fok, who has made notable achievements both in business and in her family. She shares with the audience her recipe for success and finding happiness in the face of adversity.

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