Hennessy X.O Celebrates Malaysian Entrepreneurs On Their Journey Of Excellence

In retracing its footsteps, the house of Hennessy discovered in its archives that the very first shipment of its cognac to what was then Malaya, occurred on 24 August 1868. Since then, Hennessy, particularly Hennessy X.O, has become a regular feature for Malaysian entrepreneurs who regard the drink as a mark of high appreciation for their guests, and a deal clincher for their business. 

From left: Roland Chua, Leon Lee, Choong Pin Hoong and Andy Yek

On a recent Wednesday evening, a quartet of four Malaysian entrepreneurs, representing various industries and business strata, gathered at the intimate Frank’s Bar in Avenue K. Here, they participated in a session where they enjoyed Hennessy X.O cocktails and pours, and then shared stories of their own journey of excellence in their respective businesses. Much in the same way where Hennessy X.O has undergone its own journey perfecting its blend of eaux-de-vie as the Hennessy X.O elixir which the world knows today, this foursome have also made their own strides, taking bold decisions and tuning their respective businesses to hit newer and greater heights.


Known for his distinctive and engaging property marketing and brokerage style, Lee founded Penang-based Zeon Properties Group back in 2012 which has flourished to offer a full suite of property development products and services. In the decade since, Lee’s leadership has grown the company beyond Penang and Kuala Lumpur, with established points of sales in Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China. His globe trots now take him across the region, with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, indonesie and more firmly in his orbit. For him, the secret sauce, one share by many successful Malaysian entrepreneurs, lies in creativity. “Being bold by being creative is one of the tough decisions that you need to make in order to grow because of its inherent risks and intangible rewards,” he says. “But the growth is vital because for me, the most important result is how our growth fuels the business, and continues to help more and more people in the company to secure their livelihoods,” he says. He also recommends a sunny disposition in light of challenges, saying: “I always aim to deliver results with all my heart and we always try our best to make it right – so if any issue persist, it’s not yet the end.” For Lee, his first exposure to Hennessy X.O came by way of Hong Kong’s TVB dramas. “I would always be fascinated that the protagonists would nurse a glass of Hennessy X.O and then always arrive at the right decision,” he smiles, adding, “I guess that’s why I equate Hennessy X.O today with success in life.”


For Choong, the year 2009 – two years after his graduation from university – proved to be a seminal one which set him on the path of entrepreneurship. That year, he joined the family business of mechanical and electrical contracting. “One must have guts to invest in failures,” is Choong’s mantra and he has clearly taken this to heart in his current role. By combining new and old approaches in an industry that many view as ‘traditional’, Choong has seen a growth in the business and new opportunities open up. For him, the biggest challenge came with the lockdowns, as he made a tough decision to keep everyone on the payroll. “To retain all of the team was a challenge, but we have come out stronger,” Choong says. On Hennessy X.O, Choong’s earliest memory of it was the cognac’s redolent spice, something which has stayed with him throughout the years.


A two-decade-long journey in entrepreneurship for Yek began with Bintulu’s construction scene in Sarawak. From there, he found his passion in home makeovers, which eventually led him to the wholesale construction of bathroom and kitchen equipment. In the present day, Yek’s business has also birthed its own brand Gucini, inspired by Italian-styled sanitary ware, kitchenware and home improvement products. “For me, having a good team is critical in the path of being a successful business,” Yek states. “Caring for my team means that they still are with me today, continuing to work hard and going in the same direction despite all the challenges we have faced.” Around the same time when Yek launched his own path in his business, so too did his love for Hennessy X.O begin as he remembers his very first glass of Hennessy X.O shared with his father, served on the rocks, some 20 years ago.


Out of Johor comes Kin Ho, a group specialising in wood production and pallet manufacturing. The business, which began four decades ago, is now under the capable hands of Chua whose biggest lesson has been to “adapt to the changing business conditions and to be abreast with technological developments.” An illustration of the latter is how Chua successfully grew the business during the Movement Control Order by riding the e-commerce wave. Today, Chua surmises that his key responsibility lies in prioritising efficiencies as he oversees an even larger task of evolving a traditional business transitioning into the Industrial Revolution 4.0. On a lighter side, Chua remembers fondly that his first sip of Hennessy X.O was in the presence of his father, who has, and still regards the drink as a clear symbol of success.


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