Making Waves: Genting Group’s Loui Lim
Making Waves: Genting Group’s Loui Lim
A CHARMED LIFE
Before attending the UK’s prestigious Harrow School, Loui spent his childhood running around the hotels and casinos that his father, Genting Group chairman Lim Kok Thay, operated in Malaysia. When big acts came to the resorts, Loui would sneak backstage to meet showgirls, pet white tigers and learn the secrets to magic tricks. “Often I felt like I was living in my own movie,” he says.
Loui now works for his family’s multibilliondollar Malaysia-based empire, which stretches from Birmingham to the Bahamas and encompasses casinos, plantations, theme parks, resorts and cruise lines. At Genting Hong Kong, he has two roles: executive vice-president of new ship designs for Genting Cruise Lines (which includes Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and the ultra-luxury Crystal Cruises) and vice-president of leisure and hospitality for Genting Malaysia’s land-based resorts.
The nature of his job means he’s often in beautiful places with powerful people doing enviable things. His Instagram handle, @llimshady, is unsurprisingly peppered with selfies in private jets, designer ensembles and azure waters.
CUTTING HIS TEETH
He’s the first to admit he leads a charmed life, but there’s a lot more to Loui than his sartorial flair and family name. He’s a hard worker with a lot to prove. “A last name can only take you so far,” he says. “You still have to prove yourself, you sink or swim, and family businesses would not have these lasting legacies if the people running them were not capable. Business is still a game of survival of the fittest.”
A straight-A student, Loui was awarded an art scholarship at Harrow and even had a painting he did in high school exhibited by Sotheby’s. Afterwards, he studied at London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and while he never practised as an architect, he uses those skills in his role overseeing the construction of ships.
“I am very hands-on with the designing of our cruise ships, yachts, hotels and casinos,” says Loui, who moved to Hong Kong, where his brother is also based, after graduating. “My role goes further than design, as I try to envision the complete guest experience, from the interiors down to the branding and marketing.”
CHANGING THE TIDE
Since coming on board, Loui has spearheaded some fundamental cultural changes at Genting. “Our company is quite traditional and all of our senior management have been with us a long time,” he says. “I try to bring a fresh perspective and new set of eyes to the table.” As a millennial who has grown up around hospitality and luxury, he feels he understands the aspirational demands of the younger generation. Specifically, he’s trying to shift the company’s focus from gaming to travel, wellness and entertainment.
He sees Dream Cruises, which offers a holistic leisure experience, as a game-changer in this respect. “Most people in Hong Kong are familiar with our cruise ships but in the past they have associated them with gambling,” he says. “With the introduction of Dream Cruises, we have really started to evolve and change that perception.”
Until the death of Lim Goh Tong, Loui lived in a multigenerational family home with his paternal grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins. “Every night we would have up to three or four families sitting around the table for dinner,” he remembers. “I feel that migrant Chinese families are a lot more traditional and close-knit; we still uphold a lot of ancestral traditions from China that are no longer popular.”
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Loui’s grandfather’s story is the quintessential rags-to-riches tale. As a teen, Goh Tong helped feed his family by selling vegetable seeds by the road in Mainland China. At the time of his death in 2007, he was a US-dollar billionaire. Having the opportunity to live at close quarters to his idol is something Loui cherishes.
Loui wears a jacket, shirt, trousers by Alexander McQueen (Photography: Dino Busch/Hong Kong Tatler)