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Building the Beverly Hills of Asia
Faith Tang’s contribution in shaping the Hong Kong real estate industry to what it is today has made him a legend among the island’s glitterati. Together with a group of like-minded partners, Faith helped built Icon City Group, Hong Kong’s first local boutique multi-discipline property consulting firm. Today, the company has carved a formidable and unparalleled reputation as being one of the best in the industry. Having recently retired from Icon City Group, Faith is fully embracing his role as Director of Instant Bonus Development Sdn. Bhd. In this issue of Top 10 of Asia, he talks about his next adventure in building the Beverly Hills of Asia right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Despite hailing from Hong Kong, Faith Tang, Director of Instant Bonus Development Sdn. Bhd. and former Chairman of Icon City Group, is happy to take on the challenge of educating his fellow countrymen about Malaysia’s real estate treasures. “Malaysia’s property prices was and still is the cheapest in Asia, capital to capital,” says Faith. “From the first time I stepped into the country many years ago, I felt right at home. The political situation is relatively stable, the people are easy to get along with and they have a fantastic ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ programme. These are very compelling reasons to invest in the country.”
Faith had set his sights firmly on real estate for as long as he could remember and the passion for all things property has never waned even after 40 years. In 1974, he attached himself to a British surveying firm as a trainee surveyor. Possessing zero real estate experience, he had to work doubly hard to prove his value to his British mentor. His hard work and determination paid off, landing him a partnership role in the firm. He then joined a property valuation agency, Thomas Ng and Associates International Ltd. (now known as Icon City Group) in 1986 as an associate and later on, found his niche in managing private investments in real estate funds.
An ardent believer that there is no better investment than property investment, Faith has successfully guided many an investor into making profitable returns through his funds. “It is evident throughout the world that the value of a property will always appreciate in the long term. If you have the holding ability, you will not lose your investment and your returns will be high and secure,” Faith explains.
Witty, calm and incredibly insightful about human nature, Faith is always on the lookout for clever investors. “It’s easier to work with people of the same mind-set, who won’t question your every move. Speed of execution is essential at times, and you wouldn’t want to be bogged down by petty arguments.” His criteria for choosing investing partners are those who are willing to learn about the industry and who would not balk during times of economic turmoil.
His real estate investment funds offer a unique proposition to the average Hong Kong investor who have HK$2 to HK$10 million to spare. “HK$5 million can’t get you anything in Hong Kong, to be honest. The big fund houses are not interested in these types of investors, but I see an opportunity in this niche segment. I would gather about ten of these investors and form a substantial investment fund to invest in development projects,” says Faith. “The investors are encouraged to be actively involved in the whole property development process as they are my co-investors and partners. They are confident that the projects will be successful because I have invested my own money into it.”
His professionalism and credibility in the industry have led many Hong Kong celebrities, including Stephen Chow, himself a savvy property investor, to his office door. Many of them not only became his investment partners but also lifelong friends. According to Faith, turning a client into a friend is the recipe for success. “For many stars, it can get very lonely at the top as they don’t know who they can trust. Just being there for them and spending a lot of time to know them made a world of difference. That’s how I earned their trust and friendship.” As a testament to his strong connections to the entertainment industry, international artiste Alan Tam is one of the many star-studded investors to Faith’s first Malaysian project, the Robsonhill Residency. Fondly dubbed as the Beverly Hills of Asia, the project is slated for completion in 40 months and will be an exclusive residential complex unlike any other.