Q&A – Interview by Andy à Paris
Interviewee: Mr. Ken Chu – Vice Chairman, Mission Hills Group
Interviewer: Mr. Jérôme Bloch – President, Andy à Paris
Date: January 19, 2007
Venue: Property show house C22
1. How did you come to the idea of “Mission Hills”? Is it a 1 man business or
have you created a pool of investors?
Ken, I think you would have the best answer to this rather than I do, below are
some points I think they’re good to be included:
- Mission Hills was opened in 1995, by that time, golf has only had a history of
10 years, it wasn’t popular in China
- Golf in the western world has a history of over 500 years, and it’s widely-liked
- Golf is one of the best platform for networking, especially in the business
- Mission Hills is built and run by the Chus, with many experts in different areas,
having 12 masters in the world of golf to design our courses is one of the
great honor and pleasure
2. What is your long term vision? Is it a proper business where you aim for a
return on investment or a pure legacy?
- at first, we only wanted to bring golf into China, then we decided to build 5
courses where each course features one designer from each continent, to
bring the characteristics of golf in each continent to the Chinese golfers
- the next 7 courses were built corresponding to the rising demand of golf in the
area; at the same time, we expand our facilities to cater different needs of
guests, to provide an all-around experience to both golfers and non-golfers
- Mission Hills has been affirmed by the Guinness World Records? in 2004,
which brought eyes to China in the golfing world, foreigners are interested to
come see and experience the largest golf club in the world while golf is only in
its 20s in China
- Golf has eventually become a door for the world to China, and a window for
China to the world
- We aim to not only be the largest golf club in the world, but the “best”; besides
golf, we continue to provide world-class, unique and exhilarating recreational,
conferencing and residential experiences
i. Dongguan Clubhouse – at size of 680,000 square feet, it combines
conferencing, recreational, F&B together in a location surrounded by
greenery and the excitement of golf to serve our members and guests
ii. Mission Hills Spa – 4 sites in different parts of Mission Hills featuring
different environment and treatments
3. When everything will be finished, what will be the final figures in Mission Hills: How many Golf Courses, Hotel rooms, properties...
Mission Hills has been hosting number of professional and amateur tournaments and visits:
In the professional arena:
- hosted the inaugural Goodwill Trophy co-organized with our reciprocal club,
the Celtic Manor Resort, in last November.
st- Hosted 41 World Cup of Golf in 1995, which was the first international golf
tournament being held in China
- Host venue of World Cup of Golf for 12 years beginning from November 2007
stnd- Host venue of the 1 and 2 editions of Dynasty Cup
- Apart from the visits paid by our golf courses designers, Mission Hills hosted
Tiger Woods’ first visit to China in 2001
In the amateur arena:
- The inaugural edition of the Mission Hills Asia Pacific Open Amateur
Championship was played in November
In the junior golf scene:
- Mission Hills has linked up with the Chinese Athletes Educational Foundation
(CAEF) to establish and co-sponsor a programme to develop young athletes
as the next generation of top golfers in China, and the world
- MH has also become the Home of Faldo Series Asia, which is aimed at
identifying and nurturing the next generations of players in Asia - Mission Hills David Leadbetter Golf Academy continues to offer youngsters
the chance to experience and learn about golf through a series of summer
and winter camps
When we look at China’s golf history, the first and most important factor that helped shape its path was the developing progress of various economic regions. As indicated by the geographic distribution of golf courses in China, 57% of them are located in 3 of the major economically vibrant regions: the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Huan Bo Hai Region. If we draw a comparison between golf, GDP and foreign investment in local markets, it is evident that golf in China is developed following the market prospects rather than random allocation. It is totally in par with the speed of local economic development. Especially in the three economic regions where a high concentration of foreign investment is located, golf facilities have become one of the compulsory factors for investment consideration. In that way, as long as the economy grows in the Pearl River Delta, there are a lot of rooms for golf to grow also, which we believe will be on an upward steady trend.
4. Up to now, what have you learnt from the 'Mission Hills' experience? (Ken, should I leave this to you? I believe you have a more emotional but also practical experience than I do.)
5. How many green fees did you sell in 2006? How many events did you organize?
On a normal weekday, 1,500 rounds are played at MH on average, and 2,500 rounds on weekends. We have a record of 3,000 rounds on a peak day. There were 450,000 rounds of golf played in year 2005, last figure showed in mid of December 2006 projection for year 2006 was 500,000, i.e. growth rate at about 10% pa.
We have hosted more than 20 major events in a history of 12 years, e.g. Tiger Woods Mission Hills China Challenge, first two editions of Dynasty Cup in year 2003 and 2005, Goodwill Trophy and Forum, etc. We now look forward to the World Cup of Golf in November this year. Among the various events held in Mission Hills, the inaugural Goodwill Trophy and Forum, Faldo Series Asia China Championship and Mission Hills Asia Pacific Open Amateur Championship happened in year 2006.
6. Do you have members? How many?
Mission Hills is a member-club. However, we usually do not disclose the number of members.
7. How many overnight stays in your Hotel?
Mission Hills has 315 rooms in total while the year-round average occupancy is above 70%.
8. Tell us about the private properties. What was built? What do you plan to build? How are sales doing?
Hillsborough: December 1998
Regent on Mission Hills: November 2000
Savannah 3A: June 2002
Savannah 3B: January 2003
Mission Hills in Residence: April 2004
Emerald Canyons: April 2006
Emerald Valley: December 2006
- Mission Hills is not only a golf club but a unique community combining golf,
leisure, wellness and healthy living, with other components like resort and
- The fascinating natural surroundings makes a far richer experience
- For reference to our property sales, Emerald Canyons which was launched in
last April, attracted over 400 potential buyers for 103 villas and we made a
record of selling out in 3 hours; while 168 villas of Emerald Valley, which was
launched in last December, were sold out within a couple of hours.
(James, please help to double check with Ken if there is any concrete plan to disclose.)
9. How many people work for you? For the construction of new courses on the one side and for the daily work on the resort on the other side?
We have over 7,000 staff in total for operation of the whole club, of which 2,500 of them are caddies.