Established in 2000, Orando Holdings Sdn Bhd has proven that it is a force to be reckoned with since its venture into property development in 2003. Over the last decade, the boutique property developer company has built six upscale housing projects and is looking to expand its expertise internationally, further proving itself to be exceedingly credible. It has successfully secured a respectable reputation as a developer who ‘builds homes with a heart’ in a vastly competitive industry. Observant and innovative, Dato Dr Eng Wei Chun, the Managing Director of Orando Holdings Sdn Bhd, speaks to Top 10 of Malaysia on his journey in establishing Orando as well as the company’s undying passion to provide quality homes and services to benefit the community at large.
To sum up his childhood years, Dato Dr Eng Wei Chun (Eng) concluded it with one word – average. “I was never the outstanding student in class nor was I athletic. In a way, I was really just a regular boy,” Eng chuckles. However, things started to change when he saw for himself how his family’s timber trading business plummeted due to an economy downturn. “It was definitely one of the hardest things a boy had to witness. Life was very tough then but my family, especially my father, did not give up on it,” Eng nostalgically recalls.
“My father is not the kind to give up without a fight, and thankfully I inherited that nature of his. He did not let his past business’s failures pull him down. On the contrary, he was quick to grasp the opportunity in the booming property industry and started his own hardware shop,” says Eng with a sense of pride. The business was started from scratch and Eng himself was very much involved in it where he spent most of his time in the shop mingling with the customers who are mostly contractors. As the days went by, Eng was quick to notice one thing – the majority of contractors were driving luxury cars which to him was an indication of wealth. “It certainly sparked a great motivation in me. I was determined to earn big bucks myself so that I can drive fancy cars, live in big houses and lead a greater lifestyle,” he says with a hearty laugh.
And so began Eng’s journey into the real world. “I remembered that my father suggested that I take up a business course but I chose engineering instead. I was young and naïve back then and felt that one does not need to study the subject called, ‘business’. You are either gifted with a good business sense or you could gain it through experience. And I was confident that it is always better to have a ‘professional’ qualification instead. Now as I look back, I wish I had taken my father’s advice,” he laments.
Nonetheless, Eng excelled during his college days demonstrating a strong determination and passion. He even managed to lead a movement among his fellow course mates to get a renowned lecturer to conduct a workshop for them. “Thankfully the effort was a success and my faculty lecturer congratulated and praised me for it,” he beams. During his final year of studies, the young Eng was wooed by public listed companies scouting for talents. After his graduation, Eng started his career as a Quantity Surveyor with SP Setia (formerly known as Syarikat Pembinaan Setia).
At the tender age of 22, Eng has already mastered skills and obtained knowledge in the property developing industry beyond his age. With that, the ambitious Eng decided to leave SP Setia to achieve something more on his own. He first started his own company as a contractor and managed to land a MYR 1 Million contract for waterworks. However, after fulfilling the contract, Eng decided to sell off his company in order to venture into the property development industry. It was in 2003 that Orando Holdings Sdn Bhd (Orando) became a reality when Eng approached the renowned Indonesian businessman, the late Atun Susila, about developing a piece of land which became Orando’s first milestone housing project – the compact, quality-oriented Taman Yarl, off Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur.
Though it has started small, Orando’s reputation rocketed especially among those who are familiar with the real estate hotspot of Cheras in the Klang Valley. Thanks to its past completed projects, namely the Taman Yarl and Sri Angkasa Homes that shone forth the company’s ability to deliver stellar quality, many more successful projects followed suit and Orando’s portfolio is now filled with significant milestones in building excellence. Other completed projects are Vistaria Residensi, which is in a prime location with a charming hill view in a tranquil environment complete with comprehensive public transport and amenities, and Sky Vista Residensi which offers stylish city living with stunning views of the Kuala Lumpur city centre skyline and verdant greenery.
Current projects which bear the hallmark of Orando’s design are Vila Vista and Villa Crystal. Vila Vista is a brand new landmark in Cheras and its 39-storey residential block is currently the tallest highrise residential development in the area. Its uniqueness starts from its 6 distinct floor plans that integrate beautifully for residents to savour and enjoy life there. On the other hand, Villa Crystal is another gem in the making. Situated in the exclusive South Desa Park, this striking 38-storey will command attention and will certainly be a breath-taking serene sanctuary. “Unlike our previous projects, Villa Crystal comes with a multi-purpose yard that can be turned into an extra bedroom, music room or a wine cellar,” Eng explains. The idea of having the added features came to him through observing the living environment and lives of modern young families today who need the extra space for different occasions or activities. “The idea came from observation. Of course there were also market surveys and analyses done by consultants but at the end of the day, it all boils down to correct understanding. When you observe society and understand the market correctly, then you will be on your way to becoming a successful businessman,” says Eng.
Even as property prices in Kuala Lumpur are not as cheap as they used to be and have significantly doubled in the last five years, properties in Malaysia are still among the cheapest in the region. “Malaysia is still young and growing. As the Malaysian government is putting effort to transform Kuala Lumpur into an international business hub, infrastructures that have been put in place will certainly promote healthy commercial activities. I believe Malaysian properties will have a bright future and that demand will be significant,” says Eng confidently. He adds that the keenness of property investors do play a very important part.
When asked about his work philosophy, Eng shares his views on quality and trust. “I believe in the Swiss watch philosophy. Think about it. There are so many watch brands in the market to choose from. Why, you can even get a reasonably priced one with the same function but not branded. Yet, many still opt for Swiss watches and the reason is simple: quality, the status accorded to the buyer and the appreciation in value over time. Same goes for houses,” explains Eng. Orando believes in delivering quality to its customers and all building materials used are SIRIM-approved. Thanks to such quality, its developments have seen good appreciation in value.
The key to Orando’s success is its team of people who are dedicated and pursue the same goal as the company’s. “When you are in a business, the most important asset to keep the company running is your employees. You don’t want your employees’ productivity to be affected because of financial worries. In addition, it is also crucial to recognise the contribution of each and every single person involved in putting Orando to where it is today,” says Eng. “To put it simply, each employee is essential to our achievements and to what we can achieve in the future. We have certainly not reached our potential but passion drives us each day in our journey to get there.”
Eng reveals that Orando has received several awards during the past few years. Among the recent awards it received in 2014 were the European Quality Award from the European Business Assemble (EBA) Oxford, United Kingdom; the Five Star Best Residential High Rise Development Award and the Safe Home Award for its Vila Vista project under the Asia Pacific Property Award 2014; Sin Chew Business Excellence Awards 2014; The Star Business Award (SOBA) for Best in CSR; and the Best Quality Leadership Award organised by European Society for Quality Research (ESQR), Switzerland. These recognitions have undoubtedly helped played a vital role in Orando’s escalating success and the public can certainly expect more to come from this flourishing ‘heart and soul’ Malaysian developer.