first person

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 March, 2006, 12:00am


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Elize Chu Sze-ying, who runs a furniture manufacturing company in China, made her first million while still in her 30s. She is one of 274,000 millionaires living in Hong Kong, according to a Citibank survey

Before you earn your first million, you never give a thought to your personal life or leisure time. Hard work is the only way to succeed. If you don't work hard, the chances of becoming a millionaire are very slim. You have to be very industrious and you have to influence the people who are working for you.

I never saw my goal as being a millionaire. My goal was that I wanted to do something where I could use my knowledge, my strengths and do something for society. Even now money is not my first priority.

I want young people to have a different way of thinking. I don't want them to think in a negative way about money. Right now, I think a lot of young people in China and Hong Kong need to be educated by their parents and schools that money is not the core thing in their lives.

To have enough is good. You cannot be too narrow-minded or short-sighted about it. With a company, you have to be making a profit to survive, but that does not mean that the workers there should think only of money. I want them to have a positive way of thinking. I want them to participate in charity events, even if it only means giving a dollar.

I want them to grow with the company. I don't want them to see it as a place they work for eight hours every day and then go home. When they retire and think back on their working life, I want them to think back on how they took part in fundraising campaigns together.

Work can be very dull for local Chinese workers. Most of them are not from Guangdong but come to work there from very far away, so life can be hard. There are things we can do to involve them in the community that are not difficult to arrange. I want them to have a sense of value in what they are doing.

I have been working in China on and off for eight years. I am single and my parents live in Hong Kong and my life is good.

I don't think I have changed since becoming a millionaire. I don't look down on people. I don't spend a lot of money frankly. There shouldn't be a big change because a million dollars is not difficult to make, and it is not difficult to lose either.

Money is not an issue for me in my personal life. People shouldn't look at how much money people have when they are entering a relationship. If someone is intimidated by how much another person makes, it means they are not confident enough in themselves.

Having a million dollars is not a very big issue in any case. If you have a job, and a steady income, with good planning there is always a way to make that million.

It takes time and patience and hard work to earn a million, but when you have it, you shouldn't give up on your value in life. It's no good thinking: 'I have one million, I want to spend it.' If you don't treasure your wealth you will lose it. You have to maintain your wealth. It can disappear very quickly. If you were to ask young people 'Do you have one million dollars?', many of them would answer 'No, but I have $300,000 in credit card debts.' That is the norm right now and I wish young people could plan better, especially people with no experience. It is too easy for them to get loans and get into debt.

In 10 years' time, I would like to see many more millionaires in Hong Kong than there are now. Young people need to work harder to build on the success that the previous generation created.

We have come through some tough, tough times in recent years and I believe the young people can create a new Hong Kong, a better Hong Kong - and a Hong Kong that will be home to more millionaires in future.