Cambodia-made stars, hearts, birds ornaments bring Asian businesses together 1
Diverse and passionate team members were cheerful at their first-ever Asian Business Club (ABC) during Chinese University of Hong Kong club promotion day. They were also proud to promote Hinrich Foundation’s fair-trade products from Cambodia producers.

Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Asian Business Club helped promote Cambodian handmade ornaments on Club Promotion Day

Chinese University of Hong Kong’s club promotion day was scheduled to take place on Sep 11. This year, students formed 10 clubs ranging from Asian Business to Finance, Healthcare to Marketing. Among these established clubs, the Asia Business Club (ABC) is the first of its kind, attracting the diverse business leaders from countries including China, India, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines

ABC has a clear mission: Learning and sharing Asian knowledge and business opportunities to grow together. This inspires me a great deal, as my previous and future career lies in developing Asia through export trade. 

Our first cross-cultural challenge

Our 15-member ABC group celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival by gathering on campus to prepare for club promotion day, a mere two days away.

The team shot a short video of every member for our club debut. Excited and nervous, we were required to say “Welcome to Asian Business Club” in our peers’ Asian languages. I drew a lucky lot which told me to speak Fukien which even the standard Beijingers had to give up. I wondered if this was really what people call a “lucky” draw.

Rules are rules, so I had to practice saying “huān yíng tsam ga” in Taiwanese meaning “Welcome to Asian Business Club”. I felt this language was strong, rough, heavy and harder than other Mandarin that my friends have informally taught me.

It wasn’t until the Taiwanese guy had to speak in Vietnamese that I felt I was luckier than him.

Doing something different

Our team was brainstorming how we could make our booth unique and distinguish it from others. I spoke out.

“Why don’t we promote lovely Cambodian handmade ornaments at our booth to attract visitors?”

I brought up this idea because it is something close to my heart.

Not waiting for their questions, I added my explanation

“We can help our friends learn more about Cambodian producers, their products, their country and engage them by helping them to give back. Let’s give hardworking people opportunities by giving them jobs.”

This is also what the school’s aims to do; build the next socially responsible leaders who strive to create sustainable growth worldwide.

The club chairman Tarun Garg responded positively to the idea.

“Thanks buddy, you know what, this is something we Asian Businesses should know and promote as well,” he said

“I am delighted that our booth representing Asian leaders could spread this to more classmates from other countries and do something meaningful and purely Asian for a good cause.”

Cambodia-made stars, hearts, birds ornaments bring Asian businesses together 2
Another photo of team members at their first-ever Asian Business Club (ABC) during Chinese University of Hong Kong club promotion day.

The team agreed to order a number of products to offer visitors as souvenirs.

On the promotion day

Visitors were stunned by our team working professionally and enthusiastically to promote the club businesses. The array of lovely, colorful silk-made products, also helped attract an audience for our booth.  People marveled at their quality craftsmanship and the stories of the artists who made them.

One booth-manner from other club cheerfully said that this reminded her of the coming Giving Christmas. The other school staff from the School’s Career Management Center admired the artistry of the Cambodian producers and said she hopes to spread the words to help these products sell more.

We were all happy the small gifts we gave away held not just material value but spiritual value as well. People may think this is merely about charity where we hope to create more jobs for hardworking people.

But looking at this in the business perspective, it is really about the global trading business in which all customers should expect outstanding international standards, high-quality products, ethics, professional communication and added value.

My team and I feel rewarded that through the club promotion day, Cambodian products could bring us future Asian business leaders together through the stories of esteemed workers- those who dream for a better life with pride and dignity.

About the Author – Khiem Vu

Khiem Vu

Khiem Vu believes international trade creates jobs, reduces poverty and promotes peace. His faith in trade, which he sets as a mission for his future career, is inspired by Mr. Merle Hinrichs, the founder of the Hinrich Foundation, a non-profit that promotes sustainable global trade.

Khiem had served as a program manager for the Export-led Job Creation Program for almost seven years before he returned school to pursue an MBA at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

He and his diverse team have a vision that by developing export trade leadership among Asian suppliers, they can drive their competiveness and innovation in today’s complexity of trade. By doing so successfully, the world can uplift people’s livelihoods and these individuals can, in return, support their family with pride and dignity.