Mission Hills chief slips away quietly

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 August, 2011, 12:00am


Mission Hills founder and chairman David Chu Shu-ho kept as low a profile in death as he did in life. The funeral was held in Hong Kong this week of the pioneer of golf on the mainland and one of the most powerful people in the game after he lost his fight with cancer. He was 61.

Chu (pictured), who suffered from nasal cancer, built Mission Hills into the world's largest golfing facility and recently turned his attention to Hainan Island , where an even bigger complex is taking shape in Haikou . The tycoon also controlled two listed companies in Hong Kong - Hsin Chong Construction Group and Synergis Holdings. He resigned as chairman of both companies in February as his health declined further and his eldest son, Ken, was appointed his successor.

Chu kept a low profile in his final years and one media report said he requested a simple funeral. Mission Hills said yesterday it would not be making any comment on his death.

In 2008, Chu broke into the top-10 figureheads worldwide in Golf Inc's list of the 'Most Powerful People in Golf'. The rankings are based on the ability to influence the development of courses and communities, the operation of courses, the equipment used by golfers, and the rules and administration of the game.

'It is probably no exaggeration to say Chu is the man most responsible for China's golf boom,' Golf Inc said. 'In addition to the 12 courses, residential and resort amenities at Mission Hills, Chu spearheaded the agreement to hold the World Cup tournament for the next 12 years.'

Occupying 20 square kilometres between Shenzhen and Dongguan , the club's 12 courses - bearing the names of some of the game's most famous professionals, including Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Jose Maria Olazabal - combined to make Mission Hills the largest club in the world, according to Guinness World Records. Chu sealed a deal to bring the World Cup to Mission Hills in 2007 and the tournament has now been moved to the new complex on Hainan .

A Hong Kong native, Chu was one of the first entrepreneurs to invest in the mainland in the late 1970s.

A firm believer in cross-cultural education programmes for academic advancement, he supported many institutions of higher learning on the mainland, in Hong Kong and overseas. In 2008, he established Dr David Chu's Care Fund for Orphans in response to the Sichuan earthquake, raising more than US$3 million for victims.