“Agile In Name And Leadership.”
Real estate developer reaps gains from localization.
A native of Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia, Chai Keng Wai heads Agile Real Estate Development Sdn Bhd, also known as Agile International (Agile Int.), the oversea office of Agile Property (雅居乐), which is one of the largest and most successful property developers in China. Locally, with good expansion strategies and passionate team, Agile Int. has been ranked as the top ten real estate developers in the high-end property development segment, even with their short history of presence in Malaysia for only 6 years.
Innovation in the real estate industry has always been a hallmark of Agile Int., whom actively introduces new trends and innovative ideas to the market. Such ideas include cutting-edge Virtual Reality (VR) techniques on project management which enable homeowners either local or overseas to view project progress remotely; online apps (A-life) that provides homebuyers’ accessibility to information pertaining to their purchase and lifestyle, something that Agile Int. is among the first who introduces.
Chai, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, views his formal education as a foundation of his career, as it has equipped him with the fundamental knowledge to the industry, while his leadership, communication and management skills has developed with his experiences in his chosen field.
Chai reckons himself as a visionary leader and believes that the best way to lead a team is to inspire them. He lists empathy, honesty, integrity, passion and accountability as key characteristics for leadership, and strongly subscribes to the concept of mentorship. He believes leadership can be taught and that a good mentor would be able to impart the right values and hone an employee’s current skill set.
Chai draws inspiration from the Chairman and President of Agile Group Holdings Limited, Mr. Chen Zhuolin. He credits Mr. Chen as the reason of his joining Agile, whose businesses now spans Vietnam, Cambodia and the United States of America. Chai now shares the same belief of Mr. Chen’s “benefitting from society, giving back to society” and applies that to relationships with clients, business partners and employees. Being in charge of the overseas businesses outside of China, Chai practices being open-minded and respectful, learning and understanding the diversity of local markets and cultures in globalization.
Among one of the challenges Chai faces leading a Chinese company that is expanding to different countries is “localization”. Differing work culture and varying pace of business expansion in the respective local markets allow him to embrace that difference and narrow the gap through mutual respect and understanding. Managing employees from varying cultural backgrounds also helped him building his leadership character through communicating, coaching, motivating and managing in respective ways, to achieve the goals sets by the headquarters in China.
According to Chai, his measure of leadership is the ability to bring an organization and people to work together towards common goals, with good communication, judgement and integrity. Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.
Keeping true to their mantra of giving back to society, Agile Group as a whole has pioneered and committed to a host of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Their efforts range from supporting education through scholarships and infrastructure development, disaster relief, poverty alleviation; right up to advocating of sustainability for better communities.
“An outstanding leader is able to make differing work cultures and work pace set by non-domestic, international management work by localizing values and work structures, as well as deliverables exactly in the way Chai Keng Wai does.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group