60 years after it was founded, the future of one of Hong Kong’s largest property developers became more apparent this month when the board of Hang Lung Properties appointed Adriel Wenbwo Chan as its new vice chair.
Chan, the son of 71-year-old Hang Lung chairman Ronnie Chan, was named to his new role on 11 September and officially assumed his new duties this week, with the third-generation scion simultaneously taking on a vice chair role at Hang Lung Group, the parent company of the blue-chip builder.
The announcement comes on the heels of Hang Lung Properties’ purchase of a controversial US government property on Hong Kong’s Shouson Hill Road property from the US government and an interim report which showed that the developer suffered a net loss of HK$2.54 billion ($328 million) in the first half of 2020.
Expanding the 66 Brand
As he moves up in the company that his grandfather founded in 1960 on the back of the family’s successful food processing operation, Chan will retain his current responsibilities with the companies, where his job description includes overseeing development and design, project management and cost control. The 38-year-old is also chair of the board sustainability steering committees for both Hang Lung Properties and the group.
Chan, who joined Hang Lung’s board four years ago with the support of a media campaign which included promotional videos, is credited with being among the stewards of Hang Lung Properties’ “66” portfolio of mixed-use properties, which now accounts for around 50 percent of leasing revenue for the developer and its parent group.
Established to leverage the success of Hang Lung’s Plaza 66, which has been a landmark since it opened on Shanghai’s West Nanjing Lu in 2002, Chan in August 2019 oversaw the opening of Spring City 66 in Kunming as the ninth project in the series.
Hang Lung, which has previously struggled with leasing for its “66” projects in Tianjin and Shenyang, is slated to open the 5 million square foot (460,000 square metre) Wuhan Heartland 66 in the Hubei provincial capital’s Qiaokou commercial district during the first half of 2021, with Westlake 66 scheduled to open in phases in Hangzhou, Zhejiang beginning in 2024.
At home in Hong Kong, Chan is overseeing Hang Lung’s redevelopment of a Kowloon Bay canning factory into a 186,300-square foot residential and retail project, as well as development of a 105,000-square foot office and retail complex on Electric Road in the city’s North Point area.
Chan’s ascent to the top ranks of the publicly listed companies is in keeping with Hong Kong’s tradition of family control of its largest corporations, including in the property sector, with the vice chair role becoming a recurring motif.
Just over one year ago Hong Kong-listed Kerry Properties appointed Kuok Khoon Hua, the youngest son of the company’s now 96-year-old founder, Robert Kuok as vice chairman and CEO.
New World Development named Adrian Cheng, the grandson of the firm’s founder as vice chair in 2017 with the younger Cheng adding CEO to his list of responsibilities this year, in addition to being picked to chair the company’s mainland China division.
Adriel Chan has been prepared for his leadership at Hang Lung with the help of degrees from the University of Southern California and from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
In addition to his corporate duties, Chan sits on the executive committee of the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong, the advisory council of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Overseers Committee of Morningside College of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Chan joined Hang Lung in 2010 and joined the boards in 2016. Prior to that he worked in finance and risk management.