Nirvana Asia is Malaysia's (and Asia's) biggest private funeral services provider. It runs cemeteries, columbaria, funeral homes and crematoriums across the region in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and China.
Unlike other service providers in its niche, Nirvana sells its services based on a pre-need basis through a network of agents. As of 2016, Nirvana holds a market share of 31% in Malaysia and 35% in Singapore, five times its closest competitor. While not listed on KLSE, Nirvana Asia is currently listed on HKSE.
The visionary behind Nirvana is Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong, the son of a rubber tapper born in 1954. With Nirvana, Tan Sri Kong has single-handed carved out a profitable business in a niche that is often regarded as highly taboo.
Who is Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong and what made him want to start a business in a niche most would consider taboo?
Who is Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong?
Tan Sri Kong is the visionary behind Nirvana Asia, an integrated bereavement service provider. It is said that he was inspired to start a private funeral service when he couldn't find a suitable place for his father-in-law's funeral in 1985.
What Businesses Does Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong Own?
Tan Sri Kong owns 38% of Nirvana Asia.
Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong Family
Tan Sri Kong's children are very much involved in the business. His eldest son, Jeff, is the Chief Executive Officer of Nirvana Asia.
Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong Net Worth
According to Forbes, Tan Sri Kong is worth US$990m (~RM4bn). This puts Tan Sri Kong in the 16th position of Malaysia's richest.
Interesting Facts about Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong
Tan Sri Kong's funeral service idea was considered so taboo, banks didn't want to give him a loan when he asked for one.
Inspiring Quotes from Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong
On picking the funeral niche:
"Death is a certainty. Whoever is born must die. That means a demand in perpetuity."
"Every life deserves a curtain call. We celebrate life and its achievements and make sure that the transition to the other world is dignified, respectful and easy for both the deceased and their loved ones." - from an interview with Forbes.
Read more about Nirvana Asia
BFM's interview with Dato Seri Jeff Kong, CEO of Nirvana Asia
Forbes' coverage of Tan Sri Kong
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This is the first piece in the Visionary Profiles series. Let me know what you think of it, or if you'd like me to feature someone.