Local Entrepreneur Shares His Insights On Doing Business In Sarawak

Local Entrepreneur Shares His Insights On Doing Business In Sarawak

Ever had an itch for the real estate biz?


Not sure about the path to being an entrepreneurial master?


We recently had the pleasure of speaking to a local entrepreneur with heaps of experience under his belt. Meet Joseph Chiu.


Joseph Chiu is a Sarawakian entrepreneur with a background in engineering. The Sibu-born Chiu, who has a knack for real estate, started out pretty much as you would expect.


The son of one of the earliest McDonald’s franchise owners in Malaysia, you definitely would expect the man to be groomed to be an excellent businessman. And with more than 10 years of working experience (both international and locally), there’s indeed a lot that this entrepreneur can impart.


Here is his story.


When He First Started Out


joseph chiu interview


Joseph graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wales, England in 2007. Ever the budding entrepreneur, he invested in his first property in 2006 while he was still a student.


In the time since then, he has not stopped growing his property portfolio. Joseph’s industry knowledge stems from experience as an engineer for some of the world’s most reputable contractors.


One of his prior work achievements includes working on the 2012 London Olympics’ underground project for one and a half years. Following this, he returned to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He continued to work in the engineering field as a project engineer for about a year. During this time, he had the opportunity to work on a two-block, 44-storied high-rise complex that included a shopping mall.


Next, he spent some time in Singapore where he had a hand as a project engineer in the MRT expansion project. After this, he headed back to Sarawak at the behest of his father.


Joseph has a keen interest in real estate and has spent some time travelling the Southeast Asia region to gain inspiration for his passion.


Breaking Into The Field of Entrepreneurship & Business


To understand the man, you need to get an inkling of how he grew up.


Joseph was raised in a family that ran a McDonald’s business. Impressively, their family owned the first franchised restaurant in Malaysia dating back to 1993.


Following his return from overseas, Joseph started a career in McDonald’s with the goal of helping the family expand the business. He started as a trainee floor manager for about a year, after which he graduated from Hamburger University. And the experience gave him a new perspective of working the line.


Five years and three new stores later, Joseph bid McD farewell to pursue his own dreams. One of his achievements during his time with McD was to lead a team of 300. His career with McD gave him a new outlook, as well as, business acumen that he still practises today.


“A true leader is a leader that will get their hands dirty with the team.”


Beyond McDonald’s & Entrepreneurship Journey


joseph chiu & partner
Image via IDeas Makeover


In 2015, Joseph left McDonald’s to pursue his passion for engineering and interior design. This led to him establishing IDeas Makeover, a one-stop platform for property investors.


IDeas Makeover is headquartered in Miri, Sarawak but they mainly operate in Peninsular Malaysia. The company has about 50 staff spread out in both Peninsular and East Malaysia. In particular, the company has a branch in Kuala Lumpur and an upcoming serviced apartment project in Malacca.


ideas makeover
Image via IDeas Makeover


One of Joseph’s motivator is bringing abandoned properties back to life. From looking for new properties to personally working on site, he strives for a feasible balance between value and aspiration.


Moreover, Joseph’s passion extends toward his recruiting style. He believes that the people make the business successful, a sentiment garnered from his time with McD. Thus, he always ensures that his recruits have the same passion and commitment that he has. He is well-known for spending hours interviewing industry hopefuls and specialists for the company.


Achievements & Future In The Real Estate Biz


ideas makeover 1
Image via IDeas Makeover


Most of the projects handled by Joseph has been well-received by his clients. The properties have either sold for profit or rented within months on the market.


ideas makeover truck
Image via IDeas Makeover


IDeas Makeover is currently handling 30 to 50 units per month. The Peninsular Malaysia team works in a 21-foot mobile office (the only one in Malaysia as far as he can tell) that will move from location to location. Moreover, the company has received some recognition from non-industry and industry peers alike.


“I felt that we’ve achieved something when not only one but two or three renowned public listed companies started to approach us. I felt that our team must have done something right.”


On their upcoming projects, the company is readying 26 apartments in Malacca which will be in operation by the end of 2019. And the company is planning to move into property development and hospitality within the next five years. In particular, the company will be venturing into property development in Miri starting from June 2019.


Advice For Entrepreneur Newbies


joseph chiu
Image via IDeas Makeover


Be passionate and never give up. Joseph had this to say about aspiring entrepreneurs.


“That person has to be passionate about the business that the person is going into before even understanding the economy.”


“When you step your foot into a business, no matter what, you can never give up. You have to be able to endure the pain as well, through the ups and downs. There will be a lot of sleepless nights, so be prepared for that.” he added.


He also goes on to share that secret to success as a leader is an attention to detail and also taking care of your people.


“The secret to success is in paying attention to details, but most importantly the art side of leadership. How you bring your people and how you take care of them is important. If you take care of them, they will take care of your business.”


Certainly, Joseph Chiu is a pure entrepreneur through-and-through. His outlook and imparted wisdom will truly come in handy to those that seek a similar path to his.