The son of a gynaecologist and a hand surgeon, Gordon Hui Yip-wang would seem to have his path determined from an early age. But the chairman of Sunseeker Asia has enjoyed a varied career that began with designing buildings and continues in his present role dealing in luxury yachts.
“I’m happy-go-lucky. I just see what happens next,” he says. “Your instincts tell you what your priorities are. And you don’t really know how important something is until you’re doing it.”
Born in Hong Kong, Hui attended boarding school in Britain before studying architecture in London. “I’m not really into medicine and I didn’t qualify to get into medical school,” he says.
One of Hui’s first assignments out of school was to design floating offices for property developer Olympia & York, a project that was cancelled after the stock market crash in 1989. After returning to Hong Kong to be with his ailing father, Hui went into residential property investment in London.
Through it all, Hui enjoyed his childhood pastime of boating. “Since I was born my parents had boats, and we were always out boating with them on the weekends,” he says. “We would stay overnight in Double Haven, back in the 1970s when it was stunning. It was a remote place, like a paradise. Those are fond memories.”
Hui bought his first Sunseeker in 1992. But it wasn’t until he relocated to Hong Kong with his wife and two sons in 2003 that he started working with the company to expand their distribution in Asia.
Having sold his company in London, Hui now manages Sunseeker franchises in 11 countries throughout Asia, including China, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea. Now divorced and with his sons away at boarding school and university, he travels extensively.
“I spend three months away from Hong Kong each year, attending to 12 to 15 boat shows all over Asia,” he says. He also keeps busy meeting and entertaining clients, often until late into the night.
“There’s a lot of socialising involved in this business. At the beginning it was fun, it was fantastic. But after a while, it’s actually quite tiring,” says Hui, who enjoys relaxing by watching TV and movies, skiing and sometimes napping on the boat.
Hui has learned to adjust to the demands of dealing with multiple countries and constantly changing markets. “Every day is different, so you have to be flexible. Sometimes you can spend the whole day doing something that doesn’t get you anywhere,” he says. “Sometimes you have absolutely nothing to do for the whole day. But if you’re doing something you enjoy, it doesn’t matter.”
For now, Hui is enjoying his work and his involvement with a new Rotary Club charter that encourages members to devote their time and energy to doing good. “I can’t imagine having nothing to do and being idle. That would be strange. I’m quite happy with [this job],” he says. “It’s a challenge – a challenge to keep going as best we can.”