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Issue 2 Highlights- Interview with Mr. Jack Pong
August 15, 2020
 Yuet Wo Sauce and Preserved Fruits Limited 

Does the name “Yuet Wo (悅和)” sound familiar to those of you living in Hong Kong? Based in Tsuen Wan Texaco Road, Yuet Wo was founded in 1945 by the grandfather of Jack Pong who came from Foshan, Guangdong, a place from which traditional soy sauce making originated. In 1973, due to the colonial Government’s policy to develop 

Tsuen Wan into a new town, Jack’s grandfather decided to relocate Yuet Wo from Tsuen Wan to Kwu Tung North (古洞北), the Northwestern part of Hong Kong which was largely undeveloped at that time, in the hope that their family business could continue on peacefully in the coming decades. 

At the beginning, apart from making soy sauce, Yuet Wo also produced renowned Chinese white wine called Yuk Bing Siu ( 玉冰燒), which was a common drink in old days when soft drinks and beer were not available. In fact, Yuet Wo is the only soy sauce factory that is also a licenced distillery in Hong Kong. Nowadays, with its reputation and quality assurance established since the past 75 years, Yuet Wo is one of the major wholesale suppliers of soy sauce, vinegar and various traditional Chinese condiments to different chained restaurants in Hong Kong, as well as a retailer in their flagship store in Tsuen Wan

Market Street. Yuet Wo’s current base in Kwu Tung North is sized approximately 30,000 square foot, with around 50 workers employed. 


Jack Pong – the Third Generation of Yuet Wo 

Growing up in an open-minded family, Jack chose to study Hotel and Food Administration(HAFA) at University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada out of his crave for food and interest in cooking. When asked whether studying HAFA was a preparatory step for him to take up his family business in future, Jack’s answer was most astonishing, “No, it was not. I do not know much about soy sauce making process and never thought about returning to succeed my family business in Yuet Wo. It was until 2016 when I was planning to get married, I realized that a stable job with reasonable working hours was vital. Also, at that time, I started to curious about my grandfather, who aged 94at that time, still chosen to work everyday in Yuet Wo. It is the same for my dad and uncle, who were in their 60s and still passionated by Yuet Wo. Most importantly, I found myself most interested in preserving traditional industry in Hong Kong for the wisdom I see therein. Hence, I decided to join Yuet Wo and started to learn everything from zero. I have participated in and learnt each and every step in our production”, said Jack. 

The Major Challenges (i) COVID-19 

“As we are one of the major wholesale suppliers of soy sauce, vinegar and various traditional Chinese condiments to different chained restaurants in Hong Kong, Convid-19 did create an adverse impact on our business.”, said Jack. While others might cut the number staff and/or working hours in order to survive, as a family business with most employees serving for more than 10 years, Yuet Wo did not do the same. Jack responded quickly to the challenges brought by Convid-19 by proactively taking it as a chance to adjust their business model to avoid over reliance on the highly 

competitive wholesale market. Jack continued, “I started to explore different channels to sell our products online, to let our products be known to households in Hong Kong by setting up short term pop-up stores in shopping malls and also to expand our retail business by hosting group buy activities in a number of housing estates. Luckily, these steps stabilized our sale volume and we managed to survive with all our staff remained employed in the first half of 2020.”. As a family business, Yuet Wo treasures its employees and strived to maintain solid bonding with them. Profit is not always accorded priority.

(ii) Possible Resumption of Land by the Government

Yuet Wo is facing the same problem of land shortage as many others businesses based in Hong Kong. “My grandfather relocated to Kwu Tung North in 1973 in the hope that Yuet Wo may peacefully continue here for decades to come because Kwu Tung North was distant from city centre. However, now due to the problem of land shortage in Hong Kong, we expect that the Government is going to resume our land in the coming few years, despite the fact that most of our family members wish to continue running Yuet Wo.”. In face of Government policy that may materialize soon, it seems that Yuet Wo is in a passive position and might have little options. That said, Jack did not give up and in fact, he has already thought through different possible solutions before the challenge actually comes, including but not limited to seeking subsidy for relocation and having their land exchanged for another piece of land, etc. “We do not just adopt a wait- and-see attitude and count on the Government. In fact, we have considered different options, stand ready to reflect our views and propose possible solutions on the issue to the Government when appropriate. In any event, we wish to keep our base in 

Hong Kong because being “made in Hong Kong” is our pride and gives quality assurance to our customers worldwide.”, said Jack.

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(iii) Communication and Mutual Respect are the Key to Leadership
Born, raised and having a family business based in Hong Kong, Jack Pong is a typical Hongkonger who loves Hong Kong as much as everyone of us. He was not the most talented and brilliant student in school, yet with his positive attitude, determination and effort, he managed to keep improving his family business and shine in society. “When I first graduated from University, I worked in a leading fast food restaurant in Hong Kong and was promoted to First Assistant Manager in about three years’ time before I left. At that time, I worked approximately 15 hours per day and my role was to, amongst other 

things, lead other younger employees at work, as if I was a nanny. Later, when I entered Yuet Wo where the employees aged 50 on average, I thought it must be very difficult to have the experienced staff in Yuet Wo listen to my humble view on the production process. However, I was amazed by how the communication skills that I gained from my pervious employment still apply to the senior staff in Yuet Wo. Communication and mutual respect is the key to leadership, no matter whether you are leading the younger or elder generations. Instead of giving instructions to your subordinates at work, you need to actually participate in their daily works, satisfy their needs as appropriate and try to see things from their perspectives, through which you will gain respect and trust from them.”, said Jack. 

What Jack Has to Say to Young People 

Jack fully understands the frustration that every young people must have gone through. Yet, from his experience, he wished to remind young people not to underestimate themselves and undervalue their works at the moment, even if their roles might be relatively minor. “You will never know what you would do or become in the coming 3 to 5 years. Even if you consider your work at the moment is of little value, please do not give up and continue to take your work seriously. Each and every step you take now and the skills that you learnt might create positive impact on and even path the way for your better future. This is what I realized over the years.”. 

About Jack Pong 




Hotel and Food Administration at University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada 

Work Experience 

- First Assistant Manager of a leading fast food restaurant (2012 – 2016) 

- General Manager of a renowned western restaurant (2016) 

- Assistant Manager, the third generation of Yuet Wo Sauce and Preserved Fruits Limited (悅和醬園有限公司) (2016 to now)