Startup Story of a Filipino-Taiwanese Businessman

I’m Jean Hung, CEO of King Cement Group, a businessman of Taiwanese origin, but I was born and raised in the Philippines. I earned my BA in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs after attending Xavier School, Reedley IS, and De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. Since I was a teenager, I have worked both for the family business and, on the side, as a fitness instructor in the rapidly expanding worldwide fitness industry.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me the importance of hard work and the value of money. They stopped giving me an allowance once I started working and only paid for my gas. As an only child, they made sure that I didn’t get everything I wanted without putting any effort into it. I had to work hard to buy things or participate in extracurricular activities. This upbringing taught me the value of money and the rewards of hard work, so I know the pain and struggle of money.

My Career Inspiration

My inspiration to pursue a career in business came from my dad, who is a businessman. However, he started from being an employee and worked his way up to become the best in his craft. His skills were so impressive that he was pirated from Taiwan by his boss, the late Tan Yu, a well-known philanthropist and the 7th wealthiest man in the world in 1997. 

My dad often shares stories about how he and his boss did business together and how he learned a lot from him. He always reminds me of how his boss built his business, expanded it, and became the 7th wealthiest man in the world. When I was younger, my dad asked me if I wanted to earn millions through being an employee, which could take years, or become a businessman and earn millions to billions in a span of minutes, hours or days. It was an easy choice for me.

Learning Something New Every Day

I always remember my motto in life – “Make sure to learn something every day, even the slightest or little information possible, just as long as you learn something new every day. Because little of something every day builds up to something bigger altogether.” Whether you’re starting out in your career or have been in the game for a while, learning something new daily is essential for personal growth.

Handling Criticism Professionally

Negative feedback can be tough, but it’s important to remember that criticism is not always a bad thing. It’s all about how you respond to it. Instead of taking it to heart, I try to learn from it and look at the problem objectively. 

When I receive negative feedback or criticism, I put myself in my critic’s shoes and try to understand why they gave me negative feedback. This approach has helped me learn from my mistakes and prevent them from happening again in the future.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Finding the right balance between work and personal life can be a challenge. However, taking care of your physical and mental health is just as important as your professional goals. I always make sure to spend time with God daily through prayer, get enough rest, exercise, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Spending time with family and loved ones is also a priority for me. And do not forget to spend time learning something everyday. 

Gaining Competitive Advantage of Start-Ups

Innovation, Collaboration, and Modernization

Startups usually have the technology, modernization, or creative advantage compared to traditional players in the industry, especially if they are the traditional players who do not innovate or improve and are up to date. Innovation, collaboration, and modernization are the keys to disrupting the status quo.

Innovative Approaches to a Unique Market Position

Usually, startups invest heavily in technology, artificial intelligence, or industry professionals or like minds who are experts in their fields. With the advancement of technology, everything is one click away, from chat, message, calls, marketing, and many more. Technology can make everything easier and faster, and with larger competitors, startups can gain an edge with the advancement of service or product reach.

Maximizing Strengths with Limited Resources

Each and every startup has its strengths and weaknesses. For zero or low-funded startups, it is advisable to maximize their strengths in skills, abilities, and expertise rather than fully funded and explore other services to get things done easily. This approach can help startups compete effectively, even with limited resources and budgets.

Agility and Adaptability for Longevity

Agility and adaptability are key strengths for startups to stay in the game for the long term. Startups must be flexible and quick in transforming their business based on the market condition to stay afloat. Doing business is not all about earning money but the passion to provide the products and services of your business to others. Your agility and adaptability determine your craft in business.

Technology as a Competitive Advantage

Technology is a plus for startups to provide a competitive advantage in this modern World as we are in the Technological Era. With everything just a click away, ranging from chat, messages, calls, marketing, and many more, technology makes everything easier and faster. 

However, the downside to technology is that messages, gossip, or words travel faster than ever before, and with technology, more and more people are becoming lazier and not using their brains. Despite technology being a great equalizer for startups, larger competitors have more resources or liquidity of funds. But with technology, startups can advance their product or service reach, which can be a leading advantage.

No Particular Market Niches for Startups

There is no particular market niche or specific business model that startups target because it all boils down to what business the startups want to do. Rather, there are many startups in the transportation industry, fintech, food and beverage industry, and many more. Startups can target any market niche if they have a unique value proposition and can solve a real-world problem.

Pivoting Quickly for Market Changes

Being flexible and quick in transforming the business based on the market condition would be very beneficial and would give startups or businesses leverage over others.  The financial crises of the 1990s and 2000s, as well as the recent pandemic, serve as perfect examples of how fast and flexible startups need to be to survive the hit and how prepared they are for it. If not, how quick is your exit strategy or alternative to keep your businesses afloat? That would determine the proactiveness of a startup or businessman.