With a prolific history of over 140 years, CG Corp Global is a multinational corporate operating out of Nepal. Despite its humble beginnings, it is today the largest business enterprise of Nepal. It stands proud with 10,000 employees on its rolls, spanning in businesses in over 30 countries worldwide.
In an Interview with Insights success, Binod Chaudhary, the Chairman of CG Corp Global gave some insightful answers highlighting the influences made by him and the company in the business world.
- Kindly brief us about the company.
My family’s history is one of making the best of hardship, of transforming difficulty into an opportunity. My grandfather left arid Rajasthan in the late 19th century. Seeking a better life, he came to Nepal to sell textiles.
Today, I am proud that CG Corp Global is present in over 30 countries. We are a conglomerate with 76 brands, 122 companies, and an employee base of over 10,000 people; we are genuinely a transnational company. Our business verticals include foods, hospitality, banking, cement, education, real estate, and clean energy to name but a few. Beyond these, I care deeply about improving the livelihood opportunities and health and social conditions, which I do through Chaudhary Foundation, where we run numerous projects.
My vision of creating Nepal’s first billion dollar corporation, producing world-class products and services, has been realised!
- Please tell us something about your Founder/CEO and his/her contribution to the company and the industry.
My father founded what would become the Chaudhary Group, but I carried the business to new levels — I transformed it into the powerhouse it is today. I remember the moment when I noticed Nepalis returning home from Thai holidays or business trips; they were weighed down with box after box of instant noodles, and I realised this was an opportunity. By using leftover flour from a biscuit factory, I began producing Nepal’s first instant noodles. I named the noodles Wai Wai.
My most significant contribution, though, is ongoing. It is my ambition, my drive, and my willingness to take risks.
- Kindly describe in detail about your services and products.
CG Corp Global’s products range from our famous Wai Wai noodles to clean hydro-electricity to luxury hotels around the world. In the Philippines, we operate a wellness resort called The Farm; it is an inspiring and healing place. I visit for two weeks and leave a new man: transformed, cleansed, and refreshed.
Our services cover an equally broad spectrum. CG Remit allows thousands of Nepalis, who work hard overseas, to send money home to their families; CG Education provides world-class schools and colleges in Nepal and abroad and; our telecommunications network will change the lives of millions.
- How is technology helping you or how technology has impacted the market in South-Asia?
Technology has the power to impact everything. Businesses must embrace the changing environment, and technological advancements enhance every aspect of the Chaudhary Group.
Take banking for instance. Banking apps and wide-reaching mobile networks bring financial services to people who otherwise would be unable to access them. In rural Nepal, visiting a bank branch could mean hours of walking. People who were once unable to save, or send money, can now do so without stepping out of their homes. This is just one example of how technology finds new ways to connect supply and demand.
Technology also affects me directly. So much of business is about people, and today’s technology makes it easier to build and maintain relationships across the globe. With video conferencing, I can meet regularly with my colleagues in Dubai, Singapore or Serbia without having to leave my office in Kathmandu.
As for the impact on South Asia’s economy; it is vast. More technology means more opportunities and more competition. There are new, game-changing companies every day. This is a fantastic thing, but we must always be on our toes, constantly ready to adapt to the changing scenery. There are opportunities in every industry. Think of agriculture, for example. In the 19th century, machinery began to make an impact in farmers’ fields, assisting workers and increasing productivity. Today, artificial intelligence, drones, and big data are doing the same thing. Costs are falling, and yields are climbing.
- Explain the industry challenges in terms of current trends, market players and cost?
In business and every market, there are always challenges. Today, rising economic inequality strains labour relations; disputes disrupt production and have knock-on effects down the supply chain. Business is not just about growing profits; it is also about contributing to society. The jobs created by an organization must not trap people; they must provide real livelihoods with sustainable working conditions.
Another challenge is the rise of protectionist policies and political instability around the world. This strong current in the sea of global politics is hurting trade, businesses are suffering, and that is bad for everyone. Political instability means licenses are harder to obtain, supply chains do not run smoothly and the consistency of regulations is lost.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of all, though, is climate change. It is not just a risk for businesses, but the entire population. Through innovation, we must find ways to continue advancing people’s economic conditions without causing more damage to our environment. We must move away from fossil fuels, towards cleaner energy; we should eliminate waste by repurposing by-products, and the materials we use for construction and packaging should be made less harmful.
- What are the key areas where startups of South-Asian countries have made the maximum impact?
Technology, of course, is a springboard for innovation; there are unlimited opportunities for disruptive companies and forward-thinking startups. Asia has transformed rapidly from low-tech manufacturing to technologically advanced markets and has done so much faster than many western nations. In smartphone usage, in particular, Asia is leading the way. It has led to a paradigm shift in producer and consumer behaviour, especially in the reliance on mobile apps. We have seen tech startups in e-commerce, travel, retail, education, entertainment, health and almost every other market you can think of — these will continue to make a significant impact for years to come.
- Kindly share us with your Vision and Mission of your organization.
Our vision is to become a 5.5 billion dollar company by 2021. It is ambitious, but ambition is crucial for progress.
Our mission is to become a globally competitive company and the most admired in Nepal. We will achieve this by developing long-lasting relationships with our customers and meeting their needs with safe, effective and sustainable products. We invest in the employees we recruit, producing the best talents in Nepal and immersing them in a challenging and motivating environment.
- How do you portray the future of your company in the coming years?
For CG Corp Global as a whole, the target is to be a 5.5 billion dollar company by 2021, and we are well on our way.
For CG Foods, my dream is to see a day when we produce noodles for every continent on Earth. For the Americas, we are studying Mexico because it offers a unique production base for export into the United States. If it isn’t Mexico, it will be somewhere else. We opened a plant in Europe and will soon begin operations in Egypt as well — we are well on the way. We want to be the first Nepali multinational to be listed in the New York Stock Exchange. We want our food brands recognised around the globe. I am lucky to be in a position where I can pursue my dreams and make real progress towards them.
For CG Hospitality, the target is to expand our portfolio of hotels to 200 properties by 2020. We currently have 86 hotels and over 4000 rooms across nine countries. We also have at least 40 more in the pipeline that will expand our reach to more destinations around the world.
Perhaps more important than the targets we have set for our businesses, is the social and economic change that we hope to create. Chaudhary Foundation does great work around Nepal: empowering women, improving health, nutrition and sanitation, rebuilding homes and incubating businesses with social good at the core. This work is very close to my heart and is a priority for each of my sons as well. We are driven by improving the lives of Nepali people, creating opportunities and supporting an environment that allows prosperity for all.
- What would you advise the budding entrepreneurs in your field?
Be ambitious and not intimidated by the competition. Rara and Maggi noodles dominated Nepal’s market when I launched Wai Wai. Had the presence of these brands frightened me, Wai Wai would have never happened, and the Chaudhary Group would never have reached the heights it has today.
Be persistent and never give up. Have an unflinching commitment towards your objectives, regardless of the challenges you face. If one project does not work out, be prepared to switch to the next one to achieve your goals.
Restlessness ruins negotiation. The more you appear restless at the negotiating table, the more you lose. The person in front of you tries his best to corner you. A deal hinges a lot on how you talk and how you present yourself.
Discipline. Discipline is about two things: personal conduct and time management. How do you conduct yourself with your colleagues? How do you present yourself before your partners, sales agents and buyers? These things determine your discipline. As for time management; when I was a young man on business trips in Japan, I would regularly have late nights, staying up till the early hours. But I would always be downstairs, ready to do business at 8 am. That is how I learnt discipline.
My final piece of advice is that if things need to change, then be part of that change. If you wait for the perfect moment to enter the battle, you will never make that first move. You cannot expect everything to be exactly as you want it to be, that’ll be too late. So either be the first mover, make the change and have that advantage, or be left behind.