Coming full circle in Wuxi

Eric Cheng (second from right) with colleagues at the Keppel Land China Annual Staff Conference in Shanghai earlier this year

Eric Cheng (second from right) with colleagues at the Keppel Land China Annual Staff Conference in Shanghai earlier this year

Eric Cheng first began his career in Keppel Land China as the marketing manager for Central Park City in Wuxi. That was followed by three years in the marketing department at the Company’s headquarters in Shanghai, before he moved on to head Keppel Land’s Waterfront Residence project in Nantong. Eight years later, he has come full circle and is back on familiar ground – but now with bigger responsibilities – as Keppel Land China’s city head for Wuxi.

Eric admits that the beginning was tough. “Even though I am a local Chinese, I wasn’t born in Wuxi. My staff came from diverse backgrounds, each with his own working style. I had to understand how they think, get used to their working habits and at the same time motivate them to continue improving themselves,” he said.

Born and raised in the vibrant, fast-paced metropolis of Shanghai, coming full circle in Wuxi, Eric had to adapt to the slower pace of life in Wuxi, where he found there was a greater emphasis on family and bonding.

“My approach is to become friends with my staff. Spending time with them after work, having meals and playing sports together have helped foster strong bonds that carry through to the workplace. I make it a point to understand their points of view and listen to their suggestions. When they know that their views are taken seriously, they develop a sense of belonging to the company which inspires them to put in their best.”

Being a Singaporean company, there are differences in how Keppel Land functions compared to a local Chinese company. After eight years, Eric has a deep understanding of Keppel’s culture and core values and is well-equipped to impart this understanding to his team.

“Local developers and suppliers usually do not place the same emphasis on safety as we do at Keppel. I have to explain that safety is Keppel’s core value and why we do not take chances. Being a local Chinese helps me communicate these messages to our stakeholders clearly.”

With his wife and two children residing in Shanghai, it is a two-hour drive from Wuxi for Eric to see his family on weekends. However, the job satisfaction he gains makes the sacrifice worth it.

“At Keppel Land, we are given ample opportunities to grow and achieve our career aspirations. My combined experiences have prepared me to take on leadership roles within the company, and helped me to grow – not just professionally but personally as well.”