Solidarity hallmark of success
SUNDER Chugani is typical of the kind of Indian businessman who came to Hong Kong decades ago to start a life in one of Asia's most challenging business environments.
He arrived in the territory 30 years ago with little more than family contacts and an innate trading sense which, he said, came naturally to most Indians.
He heads a family business which he describes as medium-sized.
'Indians are born traders. We are also able to blend with any community in which we find ourselves,' he said.
'We are able to blend into any situation. That is how we are able to succeed.' He is proud in the knowledge that outside India there are about 14 million Indians who have assets with a value of at least US$40 billion (HK$309.2 billion).
'If we settle in a country outside India, we don't interfere with the way things are done in that country. We try to concentrate on our jobs.
'In Hong Kong, we are a minor group in the greater community, yet we contribute 10 per cent of the business which is conducted by Hong Kong enterprises.' Mr Chugani said one of the Indian community's great strengths was cohesion.
'If a family has a bereavement, we will gather around that family and give support and compassion.
'If there is a cause for celebration, like a wedding or when a child is born, we celebrate together.' He said that Hong Kong's Indian leaders, Hari Harilela and K. Sital, provided much of the community spirit which had drawn the Indian people together.
'They give us support as individuals or as a group. They advise and guide us.' Mr Chugani's company, Sharich, imports commodities, mainly electronics and sanitary-ware, from China and re-exports to Europe and the Americas.
Thirty years ago, after having completed a year of study, he decided to move to Hong Kong to establish a trading business rather than continue his education.
'It is generally not difficult for an Indian to establish his own business because we have family and other contacts in most parts of the world. In my case, I had relatives who had already settled in Hong Kong and, because my own family was in business, I had no trouble setting up.
'I am now a Hong Kong Indian. This is my home and I would not like to have to leave. I have very positive views about our future here.
'As individuals and as a community, we have made great contributions to Hong Kong.
'That is of value anywhere you may find yourself.'