“Always keep the business close at heart. I will only venture into those businesses which I can feel & touch.”
Dato Patrick’s late father, Lim Kim Chuan migrated to Malaya in 1935 at an early age of 16 years. He was from Ang Hui in Xiamen, China. Lim senior was poor but a strong believer of hard work and frugality. Ten years after arriving in Malaya, the senior Lim and a group of friends started a small scrap iron business in the Chan Sow Lin area, known as the ‘scrap iron backyard’ right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. They had to borrow money from the “chettiars” or professional Tamil moneylenders, to fund their business. But they never looked back and their business grew and became profitable.
Chuan Huat & Company was started by the late Lim in May 1957. Initially, the family business was to supply merchant hardware to hardware and engineering contractors and the company recorded substantial growth through the years. As a direct result of the growth, the business moved on to become a leading stockiest of iron and steel, and an importer and exporter of structural steel and other construction materials. Its strength and reputation impressed some large manufacturers and deservingly earned them the rights to distribute and market a wide range of building materials and structural steel in the country.
In December 1976, the first of the Chuan Huat group of companies, Chuan Huat Hardware Sdn. Bhd. (now known as Chuan Huat Steel Sdn. Bhd.) was formed. At about that time, Patrick had just completed his secondary education and was already involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. Since then he has already inherited his father’s qualities in running the business hands-on hard work, integrity and frugality. He can often be seen working with his bare hands sweating and carrying heavy steel products in and out of the store together with the workers. Being the eldest in the family, Patrick had to sacrifice his tertiary education to run the family business since young. In contrast, his two siblings had the opportunity to pursue their education overseas.
Despite this shortcoming, the Chuan Huat Group under the leadership of Dato’ Patrick closely supported by his younger brothers, Mark and Norman, continued to grow and expand. The family values have not changed over the years even though the company’s core business has expanded and diversified into the trading of a full range of building and construction materials. These included joint-ventures with foreign companies from Australia, Japan and South Africa to bring new technologies to the construction supply industry in the country.
Dato’ Patrick, with his business acumen, was keen to incorporate proper governance within the operations of the Chuan Huat Group which had provided the right platform to list the business in the stock exchange. Hence Chuan Huat Resources Berhad was listed on the Main Board of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, BURSA Malaysia, on 5 August 1977.
Over time, the Chuan Huat Group diversified into the IT business, initially in manufacturing activities involving the production of computer diskettes and compatible and remanufactured ink cartridges. This eventually led to the listing of Pineapple Resources Berhad on the ACE Market of BURSA Malaysia on 31 January 2002. The Pineapple Resources Group now focuses on the business of IT Retail with over 90 outlets in MPH Bookstores, AEON & Tesco Hypermarkets.
Dato’ Patrick has always believed that the Chuan Huat Group needs to diversify their business by moving into more profitable and market demand driven products. They have also expanded their building materials product portfolios to include value added activities such as ‘Cut & Bend Reinforced Steel Bars’, ‘Wire Mesh’ and ‘EasyFence’ welded security fencing to support the upstream operations of the steel and iron industry, thus forming the backbone of the Steel Service Centre Division. The Group also added architectural door hardware, security solutions and most recently the manufacturing and supply of fire rated doors in its diversified array of products and services. These strategic moves have strengthened the Group’s position to be a complete one-stop solution provider for the building materials sector.
Dato’ Patrick’s aspiration is to make the Chuan Huat Group one of the top building material suppliers in the country. The Group ventured into Cambodia with the setting up of a wire mesh manufacturing facility in anticipation of the rapid development of that country. Next in the pipeline, is expansion into Myanmar or other countries in the region. However for any potential new venture, he maintained his motto of “Always keep the business close at heart. I will only venture into those businesses which I can feel & touch,”
Dato’ Patrick’s passion for the building material industry is further reflected in his contribution to The Federation of Malaysia Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Dealers’ Association (FMHMBA)). He was elected the 8th President of FMHMBA (2011-2014) and is now the Executive Advisor. FMHMBA represents more than 3,000 members from throughout Malaysia.
During his presidency, FMHMBA was amongst the founding member to promote the formation of the Federation of Asia Pacific Hardware Chambers (FAPHC) during which he was appointed as a Vice President. The FAPHC is the regional platform for economic, cultural and commercial communication of the Asia-Pacific hardware industry with the aim of promoting the development of the Asia-Pacific hardware industry. Member countries include Malaysia, China, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Dato’ Patrick’s leadership in the building material industry is further recognized by his appointment as an advisor of the Malaysia Steel and Metal Distributors’ Association (MSMDA). Members of MSMDA include major suppliers of steel and metal in Malaysia.
Over the years he has been responsible for the hands-on operations, management and strategic planning of the Chuan Huat Group and has laid the foundation of the Group with clear authority and dedication on policies and processes. Despite his busy schedule in running the Chuan Huat Group, Dato’ Patrick still finds time to contribute to national and regional associations and he cherishes his time with his family, including his grand children.
As the CEO and Group Managing Director of Chuan Huat Group, Dato’ Patrick never neglects the importance of human capital. The loyalty of his staff, some serving close to over 36 years, bears testament to his excellent caring and well received management style of always keeping his business close to his heart.