2017 Honorary Fellow
Mr Ma Ah-muk was born in 1931 in Chaoyang, Guangdong, when China was at war with Japan. Growing up in a traditional Chinese family, Mr Ma was raised to be a hardworking person. In 1948, Mr Ma moved to Hong Kong without a single penny in his pocket. He earned his living as a labourer, believing that diligence and persistence was the best way.
With his mantra that success in business is where preparation and opportunity meet, Mr Ma has always kept an eye on the latest trends and done his best to grasp every opportunity. When he was 23, he saw the potential for minibuses to operate in the public transport system and in 1967 he decided to venture into the minibus business.
It was not all plain sailing. Starting from scratch, Mr Ma had to learn from his mistakes, but after countless days of working from sunrise to sunset the company started to grow. Fast forward 50 years and Mr Ma’s green minibus fleet is currently the largest in Hong Kong, operating on around 60 routes. As a natural entrepreneur, Mr Ma is also the chairman of more than 40 companies, covering various industries including real estate, finance, food and beverage, security services and hotel management.
A man who has never forgotten his roots, Mr Ma looks beyond his own business and is committed to philanthropy. He was awarded by then Hong Kong Governor Sir David Trench for his contribution to Hong Kong. Many years ago, he contributed significantly to the Tai Wan Shan community in what is now Hung Hom and was appointed chairman when he was 36. Over the years, Mr Ma has participated in charitable work in his hometown of Chaoyang and sponsored the building of bridges, roads and ancestral halls.
As an honorary advisor to the Hong Kong & Kowloon Chi Sin Kok Benevolent Society, Mr Ma was a key figure in seeing the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival listed as part of China’s intangible cultural heritage. Mr Ma is also an advocate of youth development and education, setting up scholarships at a number of universities, including Hong Kong Shue Yan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University.
It is easy for people to forget the importance of cultural development in a fast-paced city like Hong Kong. The Academy provides opportunities for the public to engage in a wide range of cultural programmes in line with its mission of nurturing performing arts talent. Sharing the same conviction, Mr Ma has provided minibus advertising space to promote the Academy’s Master’s degree programmes and EXCEL (Extension and Continuing Education for Life) programmes.