About Our Chairman

About Dato' Chiong

It takes both guts and brains to establish a brand and to achieve a firm foothold in the market. Dato' Chiong Hoe Keat, who has been learning the ropes of the trade from his father since a tender age, is a Doctor of Business Administration and successful young businessman. He has picked up a vast body of knowledge as well as techniques from his father which will benefit him for a lifetime. Further, he has also picked up valuable business experience to complement his business education. After he took over the helms at the family business, Dato' Chiong began making use of modern business and marketing know-how to establish the Zhang Jia Birdnest brand and to turn in a sterling report card. Dato' Chiong has also successfully branched out into investments and real estate in his efforts to build a publicly-listed business empire.


As the Managing Director of the I Group, Dato' (Dr) Chiong Hoe Keat understood early on that competition is intense in business and the only way to stand out from the rest is to have great foresight. Possible ways of exercising foresight include the development of an array of businesses, the development of a range of products and the establishment of a solid brand to build a positive image for the enterprise and to raise its competitiveness. In order to best position the company for industry leadership, the Chiongs chose to base their company in Hong Kong where they will be able to access financial information from around the world quickly and harness potential business opportunities. Currently, the I Group has assets worth more than USD 45 million in Southeast Asia in industries such as real estate, education, agriculture and mining. The Group's businesses operate in mainland China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The Group owns two subsidiaries, which are ION Venture Capital Ltd., and Icon Real Estate Ltd. The group's chief businesses include equity investment, venture capital investment, residential property development and the provision of property management services, etc. Currently, the Group is actively involved in the establishment of new holiday resorts in Bandung and Bali in Indonesia. This is the Group's first focus project and the listing prospectus is expected to be released in 2013. To promote the Group's growth prospects through multiple means, in addition to growing the Group's two subsidiaries on a continuous basis Dato' (Dr) Chiong Hoe Keat is also directly involved in the management and marketing aspects of the Group's work. He was appointed as the Executive Director of Zhang Jia Birdnest Malaysia in 2009, an Independent Director of Jevu International in Hong Kong in 2010 and also became the largest shareholder in Lead All Investments Ltd., and a Director of PT KONDERATU Resort this year. Under the leadership of the Chiongs, Zhang Jia Birdnest has achieved stunning progress. In the few short years that the brand has been in existence it has garnered the 2012 Asia-Pacific Excellence Emerging Entrepreneur, Excellence Product Awards; it has also received the 2011 Asia-Pacific Top Excellence Brand and Asia Pacific Top Golden Brand Products as well as the Asia Pacific International Honesty Product at the 10th Asia-Pacific International awards.

The founder of Zhang Jia Birdnest is a Mr Chiong from the Malaysia state of Perak. He was a trader of electrical appliances who turned to the bird's nest industry as he had detected the vast potential of the industry. Mr Chiong had three sons. In the 1980s his eldest and second sons acquired vast knowledge of bird's nest as they were growing up thanks to their father's painstaking efforts to educate them. This process also imbued them with a sense of mission vis-a-vis the family business. The eldest son, Hoe Keat, would follow his father after school hours to pick up the trade. He saw that industry competition was heating up and that there would be plenty of conflicts and difficulties ahead. The Chiong brothers learnt about the harsh realities of the world from an early age.

Unlike his peers in childhood, Dato' (Dr) Chiong Hoe Keat was unable to play to his heart's content as a child and was often unhappy about this fact. However, as he grew older and wiser he began to understand his father's plans for him and came to realise the wisdom of what his father had once said: "Wealth in the form of money is easily frittered away. If I only leave you with money it will be gone eventually for various reasons; however, knowledge is eternal and if I leave you with knowledge you will be able to use that for life. Today, I am imparting to you not just knowledge but also the techniques of swallow cultivation and management know-how. Master these and you will be able to use them for a lifetime and no longer have to fear defeat and challenges."

Zhang Jia Birdnest has chosen to focus on the oft-neglected "guanyan" bird's nest rather than the traditional method of obtaining bird's nest from the wild. In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of Malaysian merchants converted unoccupied buildings into "swallow houses" and made use of sound waves similar to the calls of the swallows to attract them into building nests inside these swallow houses. They would wait for the young swallows to leave the nest before collecting and processing the nests. Bird's nest collected through this method is known as "guanyan". At that time, merchants dealing in bird's nest collected through traditional methods claimed that the quality of "guanyan" was inferior to that of bird's nest collected in the wild. Years went by and the nutritional worth of "guanyan" was proven with scientific testing. The increasing sophistication in the marketing of "guanyan" also led to growing acceptance of the product among consumers who now show a marked preference for the cultivated product.

In the 21st century. The eldest son of the Chiongs, Hoe Keat, had graduated and joined the world of business as he readily took up the responsibility of running the family bird's nest business. Dato' (Dr) Chiong Hoe Keat is of the opinion that the company has to establish a solid reputation if it wishes to provide consumers with quality assurance they can trust. It was in this vein of thought that he spent years exploring, discussing, experimenting and innovating before he launched the Zhang Jia Birdnest brand.

"Zhang Jia Birdnest" is a heritage brand with 25 years of history. At its official début in 2011 the brand took the bold step of entering the Chinese market, the world's largest consumer and collector of bird's nest. In the area of bird's nest processing, Dato' (Dr) Chiong Hoe Keat has exercised extraordinary powers of innovation. He had noticed the state of cutting-edge fashion and technology developments in Japan, which utilised bird's nest as an ingredient in several skincare product series. The Japanese were especially accomplished in their bird's nest cleaning and processing technologies. Therefore, he borrowed these technologies for the use of Zhang Jia Birdnest to ensure the purity and quality of the company's products.

In order to build a world-renowned health brand, the Chiong brothers have been committed to careful cleaning of the bird's nest as well as the oxygen treatment process in their workflow. Advanced technologies have been deployed to monitor the entire production process to ensure that cleaning and processing of the bird's nest are carried out in precision. They acquired professional equipment from Japan and decided to employ the oxygen treatment process which is critical to the purity and cleanliness of the final product. Typically, bird's nest must be pre-soaked for 8 to 14 hours prior to cooking for another 6 to 8 hours. However, Zhang Jia Birdnest's processes have significantly cut down the time needed and have made it more convenient for consumers to carry and consume bird's nest.

As China's bird's nest market is worth hundreds of millions of yuan annually, Dato Chiong Hoe Keat hopes to penetrate the giant Chinese market and establish a leading bird's nest retail network within three years through the harnessing of local market conditions, enterprise research and the expertise of his professional team. He is currently in the midst of working with Jevu International to strengthen and propagate the Zhang Jia Birdnest brand so that it will become a household name.


Dato' (Dr) Chiong Hoe Keat is well-versed in theories of management and has a knack for the subtleties of international trade. Armed with the trust placed in him by his father, his family and his employees, he has set three goals for himself. These are:

1. To establish Zhang Jia Birdnest as a world-renowned brand and to list the company on the stock exchange;

2. To allow Jevu International to guide the company and to implement modern management and marketing methods to revolutionise the ways in which bird's nest is being marketed as well as profit models;

3. To implement management systems across the I Group to achieve even better performance. The I Group is expected to apply for public listing next year.