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INTERVIEW BEYOND20


‘Will people start travelling thewaythey used to? I doubt it’


NEPALESE BILLIONAIRE BINOD CHAUDHARY DISCUSSES PIVOTING HIS HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES


meetings and come up with new solutions, which eventually bring better efficiencies, cut red tape and bureaucracy and save time. It also eliminates the need for too much of a support systemin terms of logistics. AtCGCorp Global,wehave operations in 26


countries across the world. I used to travel 20 days a month — half of my life used to be up in the air on planes. The same applied to many of our senior executives. That was not a very effi- cient way of spending our time. Nowadays, I travel only to our global offices and I stay there longer than I used to. Zoom is the new way of life and it works extremely well — actually, it works better than before. It’s a very efficient way of using time and resources. A lot of new innovations are taking place as substitutions of old habits. There are so many different fast- breaking changes that the corporate world is likely to follow.


business from his father in the late 1960s. Considered Nepal’s first billionaire, hisempire, Chaudhary Group (CG) Corp Global, has inter- ests across the sectors, from producing noodles in Serbia to providing telecommunications ser- vices in Moldova and running a luxury hotel in the Philippines. As a major global investor, Covid-19 has


B


Q A


46


forced Mr Chaudhary to make major adjust- ments, particularly at CG Hospitality, which counted 94 hotels in operation in early 2019, where propertieshave beenrepositioned—with a certain degree of success — to domestic travel- lers as international tourism came to a halt.


: How has the pandemic affected the way the CG Corp Global does business?


: The brighter side of what we have experi- enced is clearly the digital connection that


the world has discovered, and everyone has applied in their own private and professional life. The new normal has taught companies to use digital technologies, to have more virtual


inod Chaudhary has built an empire of 160companies and 123 brands across the world since taking over a small textile


Q A


: What strategic adjustments have you implemented?


:Weare a very diversified group, withinter- ests ranging from hospitality to finance,


energy, real estate and infrastructure. There is no single rule or solution that is applicable to all the geographies or verticals. In hospitality, when the hospitality and avi-


ation sectors came to a grinding halt, we quickly realised there was not going to be a solution overnight. We repositioned our prod- ucts, looking at more domestic markets. One of our properties is The Farmin San Benito, in the Philippines — it’s a wellness and detox centre. Wequickly developed a top-quality security pro- tocol and local high-net-worth individuals started looking at the farmas the ultimate lux- ury quarantine. The whole thing worked so well that we’ve never seen that kind of business in the property’s history. It’s all domestic clients, while earlier


domestic traffic used to be not even half that. We have another property in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal — the Meghauli Safari resort — which was heavily dependent on American and European customers. We reposi- tioned it and started promoting it as a stayca- tion for the Nepalese domestic market. Today it’s become a very popular destination for the


www.fDiIntelligence.com February/March 2021


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