Crystal Group's founder Kenneth Lo leads honours at the 2021 DHL-SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards

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world’s largest clothing producer, Businessperson of the Year, in 2019, last year, bounce back from its worst recession, Chinachem Group, Executive Award, heat conductive smart textile, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, Covid-19 vaccines, under licence from BioNTech, 2021 awards gave more weight, environmental, social and governance

Kenneth Lo, the textile magnate who incorporated the gender equality best practices and anti-sexual harassment awareness into the employee care programme of the world’s largest clothing producer, has been awarded the Businessperson of the Year award at the 2021 DHL-SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards.

Lo, the founder of Hong Kong-listed Crystal International Group Limited, led seven categories honoured by the peer-judged awards, which had been recognising outstanding corporate and entrepreneurial achievements in the city since 1990. Lo won the 2016 Owner-Operator Award, a category that has since been discontinued.

The annual awards held the first in-person black tie dinner since 2018 at The Grand Hyatt, after turning virtual for two consecutive years in 2019 and during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. The return of the gala event correlated with the city’s bounce back from its worst recession on record, said Gary Liu, chief executive officer of the South China Morning Post.

“Others might write the city off whenever a crisis shakes the region, but it is the vision, agility and the ‘Lion Rock Spirit’ of solidarity and perseverance that sets this business community apart,” Liu said. “Flexibility and adaptability are key to navigating the post-covid economy, and they require ongoing assessment and adjustment at every level. Tonight’s honorees were all well-prepared for the impact of a crisis and committed to transparent governance in a way that showed astute leadership and dedication.”

world’s largest clothing producer, Businessperson of the Year, in 2019, last year, bounce back from its worst recession, Chinachem Group, Executive Award, heat conductive smart textile, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, Covid-19 vaccines, under licence from BioNTech, 2021 awards gave more weight, environmental, social and governance

Kenneth Lo, founder and chairman of Crystal Group, on 31 October 2016. Photo: Felix Wong

Donald Choi, executive director and chief executive of Chinachem Group, received the Executive Award for his outstanding leadership of the Hong Kong-based real estate developer during a particularly challenging period for the property industry.

Modern Dental Group Limited, which offers one-stop dental prosthetics to more than 30,000 customers in more than 20 customers, was recognised with the International Award for its role in helping to enhance Hong Kong’s prestige.

world’s largest clothing producer, Businessperson of the Year, in 2019, last year, bounce back from its worst recession, Chinachem Group, Executive Award, heat conductive smart textile, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, Covid-19 vaccines, under licence from BioNTech, 2021 awards gave more weight, environmental, social and governance

Donald Choi Wun-hing, chief executive of Chinachem Group, on 20July 2021. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

DBS Hong Kong was recognised with the Enterprise Award. HK Decoman Technology Limited, a home renovation consultancy that uses a website to match engineers with homeowners, won the SME Award for small and medium enterprises. KnitWarm Limited was the start-up Award winner with its heat conductive smart textile.

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group), which produces mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in greater China under licence from BioNTech, was honoured with the China Company Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award, a discretionary honour, was left out this year for lack of nominations.

“This year’s awards ceremony paints the city’s picture of recovery and how entrepreneurs are rising above and beyond the challenges presented by the previous years,” said Ng Chee Choong, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director of DHL Express Hong Kong and Macau. “We are delighted that we are able to hold this awards ceremony for the first time since 2018, and have not only the winners of this year’s Hong Kong Business Award among us, but also the winners of last two years, 2019 and 2020 here this evening, to join us in this belated celebration.”

world’s largest clothing producer, Businessperson of the Year, in 2019, last year, bounce back from its worst recession, Chinachem Group, Executive Award, heat conductive smart textile, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, Covid-19 vaccines, under licence from BioNTech, 2021 awards gave more weight, environmental, social and governance

Stanley Kwok Chi-hung (left) and Stephen Ng Kam-kuen (right), co-directors of the start-up Knitwarm, in their factory in Kwai Chung on16 April 2018. Photo: Edward Wong

“As the city strives to move forward from the effects of the global pandemic, we also see more opportunities in the efforts to innovate that have been left in its wake,” Ng said. “This year’s HKBA chronicles success stories by those who were able to turn obstacles into platforms that elevated their businesses to new heights and opened more doors for budding and aspiring Hong Kong entrepreneurs to follow suit.”

The DHL-SCMP Hong Kong Business Awards began in 1990, using a unique system of peer judging to recognise outstanding business achievements in the city. Half of the judges in any year comprise winners from the previous year, while representatives of various chambers of commerce, universities as well as the title sponsors DHL and SCMP make up the remaining half of the panel of adjudicators.

Coming after two tumultuous years in Hong Kong’s record economic slump, the 2021 awards gave more weight to contributions in environmental, social and governance (ESG), gender equity and employee-care programmes, to recognise businesses that provide good corporate governance to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This year, we look further into companies’ ESG efforts, which illustrate not only how they were able to sustain their businesses but also their contributions to society and our community amid trying times,” Ng said. “The winners of 2021 Hong Kong Business Awards exemplify the unflinching passion that guided Hong Kong throughout its illustrious history. Along with this triumph comes the responsibility of paving the way for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow towards their future in business.”

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