Hung Fook Tong | APEA - Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards

Dr. Ricky Szeto

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Hung Fook Tong Group Holdings Limited
Food & Beverage Industry

“As the mountain does not move,
so the person moves by himself.”
- if one is faced with a challenge or obstacle, it is up to the individual to take action and make a change, rather than waiting for external circumstances to change.

Information about the Entrepreneur

Meet Dr. Ricky Szeto, the CEO and Executive Director of Hung Fook Tong Group Holdings Limited (Hung Fook Tong). The company is the largest herbal retailer in Hong Kong with a network of 120 stores and a diverse range of herbal food products.

No success story is without its share of struggles, and Dr. Szeto’s journey was no exception. While he was working at a bank, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 hit him hard, leaving him in the red with a staggering debt. But he didn’t crumble and joined Hung Fook Tong in 1999, utilizing his business acumen to reform the company from a local herbal tea shop to a modern corporation.

Dr. Szeto also has a passion for sharing his knowledge, exemplified by his 15-year tenure as an associate professor in the Department of Business Administration at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. He also teaches at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a Professor of Practice (Finance) in the School of Accounting and Finance. He wants others to learn from his story and live with perseverance and a never-say-die attitude.

Other Interesting Facts about the Entrepreneur

A charitable sports event that Dr. Szeto has regularly participated in for over 10 years is the “Oxfam Trailwalker”, an iconic Hong Kong 100km trail race. It’s clear that Dr. Szeto practices what he preaches in all aspects of his life - there are no shortcuts to success, rewards come from a lifetime of experience and effort.

Dr. Szeto’s faith is a fundamental part of his life, and he is a committed Christian. He earned a master’s degree in Theology in 2010 and is now pursuing a doctorate in Theology. He is glad to share the values of his faith, whether, in the context of business or spirituality.

Company Achievements and Role of the Entrepreneur

As the CEO, Dr. Szeto is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, providing the Board of Directors with innovative strategies, and making crucial corporate and operational decisions. For his past 24 years of effort, Hung Fook Tong became the first publicly-listed herbal tea enterprise in Hong Kong, staffing over 900 employees across Hong Kong SAR and Mainland China.

Dr. Szeto and his team revolutionalized traditional herbal tea with new flavors and bottled tea packages which were marketed with a “homely” image. The new perception of healthy and tasty herbal teas is now widely welcomed by young people in their daily lives.

Another signification milestone was the opening of shops at Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations. The company’s pre-packaged healthy products are a perfect match for the needs of modern and busy families who commute via MTR daily. This strategy has proven to be successful – Hung Fook Tong shops can now be found at more than 60% of MTR stations in Hong Kong, making the brand easily accessible and popular among the public.

Currently, Hung Fook Tong is the largest player in the Chinese herbal retail market in Hong Kong, with the aforementioned 120 stores and a product portfolio that now includes an impressive range of 200+ diverse products. Hung Fook Tong’s bottled beverage products are available in Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and other markets.

Vision, Mission, & Future Plans

Dr. Szeto envisions building a brand that will inspire people to live healthier and happier lives. With the recent growing awareness of health and wellness, Hung Fook Tong will continue to promote the health benefits of Chinese herbal food culture with its high-quality food and beverage products.

Dr. Szeto and the management team work hard for sustainable and ethical business practices, covering environmental aspects such as waste and carbon reduction. The company supports social causes and initiatives in local communities and the workplace, and promotes the concept of sustainability throughout its entire supply chain. Under Dr. Szeto’s leadership, Hung Fook Tong will continue to thrive, guided by his philosophies and principles.

Entrepreneur’s Milestones