Meet Dr Chau Chak Wing, whose generosity helped make the new UTS Business School a reality.
Dr Chau Chak Wing is well known for his $20 million gift towards the new UTS Business School – as well as a further $5 million towards Australia-Chinese scholarships. But Dr Chau’s relationship with UTS, as well as his interest in Australia-China relations, dates as far back as his support of UTS’s inaugural Australia-China Business Leaders Forum in 2009 and beyond.
Born in Guangdong, Chau moved to Hong Kong in the 1970s and then to Sydney in the 1980s, where his three children were educated (his son Eric graduated from UTS in 2010) while he made his name in property development.
In 1988, Chau returned to China to set up the Kingold Group, which capitalised on the province’s property boom, as well as investing in education and tourism.
The company now has investments worth approximately $6 billion in Guangzhou and 6000 employees.
Chau has since played a pivotal role in developing relationships between Australia and Guangdong province, which now accounts for a quarter of Australia’s import and export of goods. To that end, he facilitated the signing of the 2002 Guandong LNG project with BHP Billiton, China’s first liquefied natural gas project.
He also helped develop vocational education skills exchanges for teachers and students between China and Australia. Most recently, he helped facilitate an agreement with the NSW government to introduce the Higher School Certificate into the curriculum of Guangzhou schools.Speaking at the launch of the UTS Business School in February, Chau commented, “We have an opportunity to cultivate new talents for Australia and China in which our students can exchange new ideas and form new links between our two countries.”
He adds, “By studying together, collaborating and strengthening their mutual trust, and sharing their cultural experiences, it will push our relationship further forward.”
Chau’s other philanthropic ventures in China and Australia include supporting the Australian Maritime Museum, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian Film Festival in Guangzhou.
Open for business
UTS played host to a raft of dignitaries at the official opening of the new Business School on Monday 2 February 2015. They included the Governor-General, The Hon. Sir Peter Cosgrove, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and several government cabinet ministers.
“Frank Gehry has created unique spaces to inspire a life-long love of learning, enable completely new educational experiences and enrich UTS’s approach to research,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Brungs. “Just as the Opera House put Australia on the map for the arts, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building will confirm Australia’s place as a global innovative leader.”
5 things you need to know about the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building
- It comprises 14 storeys, with room for 330 staff and 1300 students
- More than 10,000 people visited the Dr Chau Chak Wing building in the first weekend of its opening
- Its oval classrooms are contained within 150 large laminated timber beams
- The fabric-like contours of the brick facade are built from 320,000 sandstone-coloured bricks
- Following a treehouse design philosophy, students will be encouraged to walk up through the building, beginning with a polished stainless steel stairwell in the main lobby.
Story: Melinda Ham
Photography: Peter Morris