Category Archives: Cover Story 耀点

Building The Way to The Future 构筑未来

Nicole Chow Managing Director, UAG (United Asia Group)

The housing industry is one that is tough and without the proper know-how, it is one that is not easy to build a success from. Blazing her way through this tough industry, Nicole Chow is now known as the developer who produces creative and functional living spaces that not only look good but offer a stylist alluring lifestyle to her customers. The dynamic developer shares her thoughts with EZ recently on leading UAG Group of Companies towards greater success in the Land Down Under.

The pivotal year in Nicole Chow’s life would have to be 1997 when she started UAG with a target of building beautiful luxurious homes in Australia. Ever since that crucial year, the UAG Group of Companies has created a name for itself as a formidable developer with over 40 projects under its belt.

Today, the developer has stepped up in scale and prestige so UAG is now constructing projects that cost well in excess of AUD$100 million. The secret to Chow’s success has to be her strong determination in achieving her goals and taking a strong hand in leading her team towards her goals. “I like to think that my creativity allows me to identify an opportunity efficiently so I quickly rule out any project that does not stimulate me or a project that doesn’t allow me to build upon our young but significant brand identity,” she shared.

The managing director of UAG Group says she works strategically to ensure that her company pursues only worthwhile projects that she and her architect husband from SJB, Tony Battersby, can be proud of. “We both know that a project will often take years to come to fruition, so you need a beautiful, satisfying and hopefully profitable project that will keep you energized and focussed for the entire life of the project,” she said. This is the reason why UAG continues to pave the way in building prestigious projects as it rolls from one good project into the next with a passion.

It is never easy leading such a large group but this does not deter Chow from taking the reins and holding it firmly. She believed it is her strong passion for her profession that kept her going despite her demanding schedules that involved extensive travelling and long work days on site or in the studio. Despite her tight schedules, she always ensures that she travels in style and she always engages professional consultants and builders who understand her vision for her projects. “I also balance out the draining aspects of my role in the company by having a really cool office…currently my studio is located in one of my recent projects – Emblem,” she said.

The outspoken lady loves the idea of becoming an architect but she decided that her business skills are much better put to use, a decision that led to the creation of UAG and her current success as a developer.

“I was perhaps too impatient to endure the five long years of an architectural degree but I still retain a passion for design and architecture which I combined with my business acumen to build UAG into my new Australian empire.”

All UAG’s projects are a stylish representation of an alluring lifestyle and Chow is extremely passionate about each project they undertake.

Each UAG project bears Chow’s signature of a prestigious location and a sophisticated architectural design that combines thoughtful and liveable floor plans with beautiful materials and finished palette. She may have been in the industry for almost two decades but the process of creating new living spaces continues to fascinate her till this day. “It is wonderfully satisfying to locate a site, engage a talented team and actively lead and manage the team all the way through the challenging journey from start to finish,” she said of every project UAG completed.

UAG has shifted to larger scale projects recently which Chow agrees represent a significant increase in risk but she thinks it is time for the company to make the shift to align with market conditions for continued success. She said UAG is now versatile enough to respond rapidly to these opportunities in the market especially when backed with a talented team of designers, advisors, bankers and builders.

“We have a new boutique scaled development in the beautiful suburb of Armadale called 881 that is scheduled to commence very soon,” the Melbourne-based developer says. The new project will feature 70 apartments with a broad range of types from expansive four bedroom residences to one and two bedroom units. “The apartments will be beautifully designed by my favourite architect and his clever team,” she said, adding that the project will also boast a stunning rooftop pool and garden terrace.

The future of UAG looks bright as Chow promises to forge ahead by continuing to search out wonderful locations and building gorgeous residences in Melbourne. “We remain eager in building creative liveable spaces and we are always on the hunt to create another signature UAG Project,” she promised.

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所谓外行看热闹,内行看门道,房产行业如缺乏确凿的业务技术和长远思路,其实是一个不容易建设且取得成功的事业。而具备炽热理念的 Nicole Chow 却通过这艰难的行业证明了自己:她所创立的UAG集团(United Asia Group)目前被视为是集无限创意、功能性和优美生活空间于一身的房产开发公司。这位以优美奢华风格闻名的设计型房产开发商,与EZ分享了她的构思与主导的集团在土地上迈向更长远的未来路途。

1997年,这对 Nicole 来说是关键的一年,为了在澳大利亚建设美丽豪华住宅的想法,她开创UAG集团,而现在公司日愈强大,已开发逾40个房产项目。随着加大规模和延续声望,目前具有超越1亿澳元巨额成本的建设项目。

她的成功秘诀是实现目标,带领团队强而有力地朝着目标前进的坚定决心。

我觉得是创造力让我找到机会,并且迅速排除任何没有鼓舞性、无法建立我们品牌象征的项目。作为UAG集团的董事经理,她指出,公司只追求有价值的项目,这是她与来自SJB公司的建筑师丈夫 Tony Battersby 皆感到自豪的一点。

我们都知道,一个房产项目往往需要数年时间实现成果,所以你需要一个美丽、满意并且盈利可行的项目,会使你充满活力,愿意投注和聚焦生命能量。

我们都知道,一个房产项目往往需要数年时间实现成果,所以你需要一个美丽、满意并且盈利可行的项目,会使你充满活力,愿意投注和聚焦生命能量。

这就是为何UAG不断寻求延续和突破,从深具声誉的项目进入下一个好项目的激情所在。

领导一个庞大群体不是件易事,但这并不妨碍 Nicole 在业务上的掌控能力。

她认为,再苛刻的时间表也动摇不了她的职业和坚持,包括在现场或工作室长时间工作的热情。尽管紧密的日程安排,她会确保本身风格,她从事着专业顾问和建设者,了解并渗透项目概念与需求。

我在公司里扮演着平衡的协调角色,并且有一个很酷的办公室……目前我的工作室坐落在我们近期的代表性项目 – Emblem 精品公寓。她直言有成为建筑师的想法,但运用自己的业务技能,作为一个成功开发商引导UAG更为重要。

她说,也许没耐心忍受漫长5年以获取建筑师学位,但仍然抱持创意设计和建筑思路,结合本身的商业触觉,希望建设UAG为她的澳大利亚新王国。所有建设项目都是时尚诱人的生活方式,我们热情看待所有承担的项目计划。

UAG 所开发的房产项目具代表性特征:那就是精选优雅地点和繁复建筑设计相呼应,还有宜居平面图搭配优美材料成品。

在同行业近20年,创新生活空间的过程是持续吸引她的地方。现在设有令人满意的据点,包括一个优秀的团队,积极的领导和富挑战性的过程,从开始到结束都一气呵成的管理组合。她认为,流畅的团队配合是使项目达致最高完成度的原因。

随着业务发展转移至规模更大的项目,她也赞同这意味着增加风险,但她认为改变公司策略符合市场条件才能持续成功。目前UAG集团的组合条件足以快速应对机遇市场,特别是拥有优秀设计师团队、顾问,银行家和建设者的强硬后盾。

我们有一个新的精品规模计划,在美丽高级郊区 Armadale 881公寓项目,

计划马上开始。新项目将有70公寓间单位,结构范围广泛,从广阔配置的4居室,也有1居室和2居室住宅的单元类型。公寓将由我最喜欢的建筑师和他的精英团队一手打造,非常漂亮。她补充说,该项目还将拥有一个令人惊叹的房顶游泳池和花园露台。

总部位于墨尔本的UAG集团将锐意进取寻找精彩的方向,在当地建设华美的住宅。我们持续着创造宜居空间的渴望,寻觅并落实另一个UAG代表性项目。”Nicole Chow承诺。

Giving It Forward 艺术是温柔的武器

Jason Yeap, OAM

Chairman, Mering Corporation

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Malaysian-born lawyer, property developer, with a passion for art and culture and a drive for philanthropy, Jason Yeap began his career in 1985 as a lawyer. In time, his shrewd business acumen saw him stake his trademark in the property industry and earn his reputation as a property investor. He launched Mering Corporation in 2004,  which is a property investment and development company.

“…they thought I could contribute, I did, and the rest is history…”

Jason was invited to the Board of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in 2004. Since then he has served the maximum of a nine year term with the Board. His tenure with the NGV Board of Trustees broadened his perspective of what the Australian community as a whole was all about. It was an opportune moment for Jason as he was in a position to draw on his resources and contacts available via his active involvement with the Chinese communities and Associations, to activate significant contributions to the community.

Jason comments that “of course there was a significant change in my perspective of art ever since I joined the NGV. Before, in my case it was about art as an investment. However now I look at the administration of art and what art can do to and for the community.”

In 2010 Jason was recognised “for service to the arts, particularly through the National Gallery of Victoria and to community” with the award of the Medal of the Order of Australia.

2012 saw Jason take the Chair of the NGV Foundation and in 2014 he was appointed as a council member to the National Gallery of Australia and looks forward to an extension of his current term with the Council. Recently he was announced as a Patron of Multicultural Arts Victoria. (MAV)

“…there are enough opportunities, perhaps not enough given…..”

Jason believes that politicians and others can play a key role in alleviating this imbalance of opportunities available and opportunities given. Jason states part of this change process is to have the ability to speak and act on what one believes in and what is right without fear in society.

In his advocacy for philanthropy, Jason and his wife established the Wong Swee Soon International Science Internships Award under the auspices of the Global Challenges International Science Internships Fund. Through the fund, students in the new program will be supported through an international internship.

His other involvements include being a member of the Board of Directors of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the largest Research Institute for Children in Australia. In 2012, he was made Board member for The University of Melbourne – I Believe Campaign – that aims to raise $500 million by 2017, one of the largest fundraising campaigns in Australia to date. Since 2014 to date, Jason holds the Chair of the Asian Advisory Board, University of Melbourne.

In 2013 Jason was named an Ambassador of The Australia Day Ambassador Program, an initiative that sees high achieving and proud Australians attend local Australia Day celebrations in towns and cities across the nation

Through his years of experience Jason shares that integrity is that one “ingredient that will make the difference between a good businessman and THE businessman.” “Integrity is what will get you on the right side of people in order to earn their respect.” Jason himself sets the benchmark of what it means to be THE businessman as his various roles will testify. As of 2014 till present, Jason is actively involved as a Board Member with the Asian Advisory Board, Bank of Melbourne and a member of the Trade & Investment Policy Advisory Council (TIPAC) Department of Foreign Affairs.

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He feels most people recognise that in about 10 years’ time; Australia will inevitably be a vital and major player of the region. The focus for now should be, according to Jason, on how to capitalise on the integration of Asians in Australia.

For Australians, Jason says, an appreciation of the fact that they definition of an Australian has changed. An Australian now incorporates into its definition people like Jason himself, he says.   This is largely due to the migration factor prevalent in Australia and the incorporation of Asians in Australia.

His role and his work through the MAV is perhaps one of the many platforms available for Jason to achieve a means to this particular end. Jason says that “It is a great privilege and honour to advocate for MAV because of its mission to reach out to the new arrivals to this country through innovative cultural engagements. It has brought better understanding and respect for all in Australia.”

Jason acknowledges there is a lot more that can be done and any advocacy for MAV and the likes, that advances its mission “is very essential and personally satisfying.”

Jason Yeap 身上可以看到传统华人的3大特点:勤奋、精明和经商。这名出生在马来西亚的澳大利亚籍华裔,与很多漂洋过海的华人命运雷同,自1978年来到澳大利亚,完成高校教育后,顺其自然的就在这片土地上扎根。

问他为何会从专业律师转为房产商,然后又从房产商成为艺术推广者。对于这个戏剧化的转变,他展开憨厚的笑脸说:一切都是自然的变化,当你带着专注和虔诚的心做一件事,其实就是一种创新。

律师时期,他在墨尔本华人社区是大家耳熟能详的人物,活跃于社区活动交流,为人群解惑。

由于在律师时期频繁接触房产投资,这也触动他在2003-2004年间决定自立门户进行房产事业,当然,和作为律师涉及的领域又不一样,经商也使他的交际圈子有层次上的变化。

在成为艺术的推广者之前,他作为艺术品收藏者,一切的关注点还是从浓浓的铜臭味开始:投资艺术品赚钱。

那时收藏艺术品纯粹只是觉得适合作为家里的摆设,或者交易赚钱。无可厚非,这是身为商人绝对的商业触觉。

可是,在他2005年正式作为董事加入维多利亚国家美术馆 (NGV),紧接着就是成为基金会会长。这一次,艺术彻底颠覆了他的人生观和生活。

我可以这么形容:政治是沉重的,商业是激进的,只有艺术是温柔的。其实对于Jason Yeap来说,艺术何尝不是温柔的武器,悄无声息的攻入了人们柔软的心房。

对艺术改变观点之后,他从一个现实而冷静的旁观者成为了探索艺术未来的追寻者,他开始寻思:艺术可以做什么?或者艺术可以让周边的社区,甚至把亚洲社区连接在一起?这也是他行进中的主要研讨课题。

我希望提供机会给任何有需要的人。随着艺术建设思维散发的,也包括他的慈善精神,他多年来财务资助提供社区服务、协助和咨询,其中包括投入经费给墨尔本大学,作为各领域探讨的研究基金。

2014年至今,他除了担任墨尔本大学亚洲顾问委员会董事会主席、墨尔本银行亚洲顾问委员会董事会成员,也是澳大利亚外交部贸易与投资政策咨询理事会(TIPAC) 的成员。

当问到一路走来,有没有特别遗憾的事,他思索了下,最后还是否定的。这个回答其实符合了他在任何领域的探索精神,不断往前走,不留下遗憾。

此时此刻可说是 Jason Yeap 人生的黄金时光:回馈社会、享受生活、拥有事业资源、感受艺术、爱好摄影,与家人共度旅行的美好时光……

可是,睿智人生如他,却始终保持一个澳大利亚人信奉的淳朴人生哲理:相信你所相信的,依循你的思路和信念去做任何事。