Chapter 6

The Role of the Wife in Overseas Chinese Family Businesses

Traditionally, in a Chinese family business founded by a male, the role of the wife is often invisible to the public. Nevertheless, wives’ contribution to the success of family businesses cannot be ignored. They generally are greatly respected and admired by their husband and children. They instill a sense of purpose, responsibility, and community in family members, as well as promote cooperation and spiritual values and provide unconditional support. They also help their husband pass on moral values to the children.

One example is Lee Kim Hua. She is the matriarch of Genting Group, a conglomerate from Malaysia that specializes in tourism, resorts, gaming, plantations, power generation, oil, and gas. Lee Kim Hua is the widow of the late Lim Goh Tong, the founder of Genting Group, who died in 2007 at the age of 89. They have six children and 19 grandchildren. The six children are Lim Siew Lay, Siew Lian, Siew Kim, Tee Keong, Kok Thay, and Chee Wah. Lim Goh Tong himself was known to be a very hard-working man and visionary and his wife has been a tower of strength, supporting him throughout the years. Lee Kim Hua did not interfere in the running of Genting when it was under her late husband; she also leaves the operations to her son today, whom she believes knows best. Genting Group was founded in 1965. Currently, it employs over 58,000 people globally. It has been voted Malaysia’s leading corporation and one of ...

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