Wilson Lai studied a Master of Commerce and Master of Business Administration at Deakin. Since graduating, Wilson has gone on to become the President of Hollyland Group Holdings Ltd and was awarded ‘Young Industrialist of the Year 2017’ by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.
Career path and highlights
Wilson was introduced to the business world early in life. Growing up in Hong Kong with a grandfather dedicated to showing him the ropes for their family’s packaging business, a young Wilson attended many strategic business meetings where he was privy to important behind the scenes management decisions. This experience built the foundation for Wilson’s understanding of business management, which later guided him in choosing to pursue both a Master of Commerce and a Master of Business Administration at Deakin University.
Wilson reflects on his time at Deakin University with much affection, and highlights that his decision to study here was not only about the flexibility of Deakin’s teaching model. ‘It was also about the campus life, meeting people from different places and experiencing new cultures’, says Wilson.
Wilson was impressed by the multiculturalism he experienced in Australia, and since his return to Hong Kong he has been looking for an opportunity to return to Melbourne.
Following the completion of his studies, Wilson worked as a management associate at a global logistics company, before joining his father in law’s business, Hollyland Group Holdings Ltd in 2007. Established in 1975, Hollyland Group is a founding shareholder of the industry-leading circuitry protection manufacturer, Hollyland (China) Electronics Technology Corporation Ltd and has a well-recognised presence around the globe.
Though his father in law had already laid strong foundations for the business’ success, Wilson identified an opportunity to improve their staff management system by introducing a new program to gather scientific and analytical data to inform staff development. Wilson faced many challenges in implementing this system, learning a lot about change management and the best processes for gaining his employees’ trust and recognition.
‘Many people are reluctant to change, so I needed to think about how we could slowly implement change and educate staff on automation and then build their loyalty through this’, says Wilson.
Wilson is actively involved in a number of Chambers of Commerce, where his role is to promote and assist industry members by listening to their challenges and considering how they can open the door to more domestic trade in China. These discussions include how they can improve the national quality standards which would enable them to continue serving a global market.
The Hollyland Group’s subsidiary, Hollyland (China) Electronics Technology Corporation Ltd went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2014. This was a significant milestone for the company as it demonstrated all of the hard work that they had put into building the brand.
In 2017, Wilson was awarded the ‘Young Industrialist of Hong Kong’ by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, presented by the Chief Executive of HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administration Region). This award represents a significant personal achievement, as it recognises Wilson as a Hong Kong industrialist who has made an important contribution to industry and society and demonstrates high promise for the future of Hong Kong’s manufacturing industry.
Given Wilson’s experience in the area of manufacturing, where technology and automation are constantly bringing about change, he emphasises the importance of being open minded and trying new things. Understanding the value of research and development, the company has dedicated five percent of their revenue to exploring new market segments such as renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Wilson also explains that one must consider the people in their company and the impact that change may have on them as well. This emphasis is underpinned by the values of Wilson’s late father in law, who always stressed the importance of creating a sense of ownership amongst their employees by providing opportunities for their personal and professional development.
Wilson says, ‘If you have a good team spirit, one plus one can be infinity. Be open minded, be adventurous, it is always good to try different things. Don't jump to conclusions before trying a task. Change brings opportunities and you need to look at not only the short term but the long term with optimism and consider the future impact. You should always put yourself into the shoes of others so you can understand the experience from their perspective’.
In addition to this, Wilson emphasises the importance of being kind when creating a trustworthy and sustainable business.
‘Kindness is very important. Always consider the ethical implications of your activities. It’s not about how exceptional you are but how trustworthy and kind you are to others. Kindness breeds sustainability’.
Wilson currently lives in Hong Kong with his wife and two children but hopes to relocate to Melbourne in the coming year.