Case Studies

Our faculty produced the following case studies for teaching purposes:
by Kevin Au, Marshall Jen (2020)
Abrupt changes can happen in family businesses. Dr David Chu, founder of Mission Hills (MH) Group and the world’s largest golf club, passed away when he and his eldest son, Dr Ken Chu, who was in his early 30’s, committed to a substantial project building a golf and resort complex in Haikou City, China, which was a driver of the MH’s portfolio growth. The father-son duo were highly entrepreneurial and similar in many other ways. Since David left the scene, Ken was determined to transform MH from a professional golf club to a portfolio of eight culture-related businesses – (i) golf; (ii) real estate; (iii) wellness; (iv) entertainment and leisure; (v) retail; (vi) tourism and theme parks; (vii) sports and recreation; and (viii) education. How could Ken grow and synergize the family portfolio with his father’s entrepreneurial spirit and sustain the family legacy together with his siblings and other non-family executives?
Subjects covered: Strategic renewal; Succession planning; Rising-generation development; Family entrepreneurship
by Kevin Au, Marshall Jen (2020)
The case demonstrated how Simon Wong and Grace Ko, two second-generation members of a multi-family business, has transformed the LH Group (LHG) with innovation and creativity. Bringing in restaurant brands from other countries, Simon and Grace remodelled the traditional Chinese dim-sum restaurant chain into an upscale contemporary Japanese, Korean, and wedding banquet business. LHG planned for IPO and was listed in 2018 under Simon’s leadership. The ongoing success of LHG was not destined, however. How could they continue to innovate and execute their plan for future success?
Subjects covered: Strategic renewal; Succession planning; Family entrepreneurship
by Kevin Au, Rebecca Chung (2019)
Konica Minolta Business Solutions (HK) Ltd. was likely the first multinational corporation in Hong Kong to put the ideas of corporate social enterprising into practice. Its new service business that was launched in 2014 (the i-Transform Station) employed so-called "hidden youths"-disadvantaged individuals who refrained from joining mainstream society-empowering them to reconnect with society.
Subjects covered: Corporate social entrepreneurship; Shared value
by Kevin Yuk Fai Au, Howard Pong Yuen Lam, Shi Yu Lu, & Icy Fong Lai Ngai (2018)
The chief executive officer of Bamboos Health Care Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd. (Bamboos) started her entrepreneurship journey in 2005 with a telephone and a fax machine. She created a platform to match the demand from patients or their relatives with the supply of services from health care professionals. After 12 years in operation, following one consistent business model, Bamboos was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Despite several challenges in its early years, the Bamboo's business model proved to be sustainable in Hong Kong and became resistant to change. In early 2018, the founder was considering entering the health care market in mainland China and changing the company's business model for the first time. Could the current business model in Hong Kong be modified to enter mainland China and other countries? What changes would be required with respect to strategy and management?
Subjects covered: Business models; Entrepreneurs, Start-ups
by Morten Bennedsen, Joseph P.H. Fan, Brian Henry, & Yupana Wiwattanakantang (2015)
The Kam family has owned Yung Kee, a huge 750-seat restaurant in Hong Kong, for more than 50 years. Starting out as a food stall, the business still 'packs them in' today. However, soon after the death of the patriarch, at the age of 96, in 2004, his two oldest sons became embroiled in a bitter and very public family feud over the restaurant's management and the family fortune, estimated to be worth HK$2 billion.
Subjects covered: Family businesses, Shareholder relations  & Succession planning
by Kevin Au & Jeremy Cheng (2014)
How can family business incubate entrepreneurship amongst next generation members? Professor John Mok of AML presents a very thorough transgenerational entrepreneurship scheme which covers career progression, venture funding, and education in different stages.
Subjects covered: Transgenerational Entrepreneurship; Family Angel Scheme; Family Business Education; Career Development; Succession Planning
by Jeremy Cheng, Florence Ho, & Kevin Au (2014)
How can a family transfer its tacit knowledge across generations? How do family entrepreneurs actually learn? The case focuses on the development of Mr. Jude Chow, a second-generation member of AEL. The same question occurs when Jude grooms his younger brother, Francis. This is heightened by Jude's decision on whether to assign a risky project to Francis.   
Subjects covered: Transgenerational Entrepreneurship; Entrepreneurial Learning; Next Generation Leadership Development  
何德記書局有限公司(A)* (2009)
by Kevin Au & Barbara Li
Ho Tak Kee is a professional publisher and printer in Hong Kong. The family is considering closing the printing operation if no one from the next generation can steer the business.  As a next-generation member, John is facing the dilemma of advancing a professional career outside the family or revitalizing the family legend. The case puts the audience into John's decision track.   
Subjects covered: Succession Planning; Next Generation Career Development
by Kevin Au & Barbara Li
As John decides to go back to Ho Tak Kee, he faces a number of challenges. He wants to steer the business and the family in a new direction, but there is always resistance to some of the changes.  The case describes the actions John takes to navigate through the challenges.
Subjects covered: Next Generation Leadership Development; Change Management; Growth Strategy  

Importance of Case Method

  • Case method is the one of best methods to learn about family business practices.
  • Cases allow families to engage and disperse unique lessons to the community.
  • Participants can immerse themselves in the case, learn how to develop an action plan, participate in the discussion, and learn to articulate a position.
  • They learn through individual analysis and preparation, informal small group discussion, open-forum sharing, and end-of-class generalization.

Potential Teaching Issues from the Case

The most important decision is to locate a challenge(s) that the protagonist encountered.  This might be a challenge(s) that the protagonist had solved already or one that the protagonist is working on.  This provides a discussion point for participants to learn as a decision-maker. 

Case Development Process

Expected Time

Relevant Procedure

1 Month

Before the interviews, background materials will be collected.

1 - 2 Months

In-depth interviews will be conducted. Separate interviews will be arranged for each interviewee. Each interview will last for about 1 to 2 hours. 

1 Month

A draft shall be completed in a month after all interviews. The draft will be submitted to the case protagonist for comment.

1 Month

The case will be ready for signing-off after all adjustments.

Contributing to our Research

Families participating in our case research will enjoy a dynamic interaction with our research team.  They will get feedback from the principal researcher(s). We engage our participants to share potential best practices identified in our functions, thereby leveraging the impact of the research to the family business community.  To achieve this, we offer a complimentary Full Membership (two-year) of our Family Business Learning Network to two authorized members of the participating family.  We stress on academic integrity and confidentialty of participants and their firms in the research process.

Interested in contributing to our research?  Simply contact our Education Professionals.