Joseph Chiu: Sarawakian Business Young Entrepreneur

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Joseph Chiu: Sarawakian Business Young Entrepreneur

Not many Sarawakians can say they know the real movers and shakers of change and progress within their state. So, recently PrimaBuzz interviewed Joseph Chiu. Someone who, is particularly influential locally but you may not know about.

Here is what we got to know about him. Everything from his early life, career beginnings, successes and secrets to it.

Who is Joseph Chiu?

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Joseph Chiu is a Sarawakian young entrepreneur who’s made it big in property/ real estate. He initially started in his family business of restaurant franchising. Then, ventured into his own passion for real estate.

Property magnate Joseph Chiu is from small-town Sibu. Both his parents are of Foochow descent.

Growing up, his parents were always busy. Both are highly ambitious and enterprising so they spent their majority time working. You can say his parents planted a hardworking drive in him from a tender age.

His father is a businessman/ franchisee. Who, also happened to be the first ever franchisee in Malaysia. His mother, on the other hand, is an accountant and a board member of a publicly listed company.

Educational Background

Joseph Chiu started primary education SJK Methodist Sibu. After, he moved onto Secondary at SMK Methodist Sibu. Then, pursued his tertiary education at Sunway College. There, he flunked all his first classes. That taught him freedom should be paired with responsibility.

Eventually, he finished off tertiary education at the University of Wales, UK. Joseph Chiu graduated a Bachelor of Civil Engineering major in 2007. So, is an engineer by profession.

Initial Career

Fresh out of university Joseph Chiu started working as a project engineer for Balfour Beatty plc in London. Which, was the main contractor for the London Stadium. He worked there for 1 ½ year then returned to Malaysia after his visa ended.

In KL, he continued as a project engineer at his uncle’s company for a year. Then, ventured to Singapore with the drive to chase different experiences and cultures. His passion for real estate kept him in project engineering. And, left him wanting to venture across South East Asia.

Business With His Father

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Photos of Joseph Chiu in work action

Not long after Singapore, his dad beckoned for his return home to help expand the family’s McD business. Joseph Chiu packed up and left his Singapore life without question.

He knew his dad lacked the commitment needed to expand. This point in time Joseph Chiu knew little about McD’s model of business. So, he sought to learn.

It wasn’t easy. He realized soon, he had left the comforts of project engineering to embark on his McD journey. He started as a trainee floor manager making a meager RM1700. Stationed none other than at the fry station. This was a stark change for Joseph Chiu.

Only later did he realize his father’s reason for starting him at the bottom. It was the best way to traverse this business. And, learn slowly while prevailing eventually as a changed person.

“You needed to get dirty/ rough and tough regardless of rank. McD was an all hands on deck business. A true leader is one who will get his hands dirty with the team”.

This business taught him :

  • Learning from the bottom up was crucial for character building
  • True leadership through working on the floor

Leaving His Father’s Business to Pursue Real Estate/ Property

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Image via iDeas Makeover

He left in 2015 to pursue his lifelong passion for real estate. He thought it was finally time before too late.

This passion he gained from his parents. Who has always profited well off real estate and property investment. Growing up he also looked up to Donald Trump “the real estate guy”. He always had the ambition to be a real estate developer.

How did it feel venturing out into unchartered territory? To Joseph Chiu, it was great to be pursuing what he loves and expanding a business.

Initial dabbling in property during his student years taught him many lessons. The main one being that interior design was crucial make-up and added cash flow value. However, middlemen could always overcharge or delay your project. So, after getting comfortable in life, he made a goal to take matters into his own hands.

So, he launched ELJO Development Sdn Bhd and iDeas Makeover. A great amalgam of engineering, real estate, and interior design.

iDeas Makeover is a one-stop solution and platform for fellow property investors. Which, served also to aid and grow his own real estate ventures. 3 ½ years after launching, he is doing very well despite heated competition.

Joseph Chiu hopes for a positive business year in 2020. Besides that, he wants to grow his staff force. He hopes to continue exploring the real estate market. And, venture into more property development and possibly hospitality.

Making it Big For Himself

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Some shots of Joseph Chiu’s completed property/ real estate projects

He has an impeccable track record in real estate. Most of his projects have sold or rented within months on market.

What is Joseph Chiu’s biggest success in his real estate venture so far? Being able to secure multiple renowned public listed companies as clientele.

Society wise, he’s actively involved in the Rotary Club’s We Love Kids Project. This platform helps positively influence neglected children. Their initiatives involve actively bonding and helping them develop life skills. In April, he along with the club will launch a new center.

His Drive and Motivation


Joseph Chiu and an iDeas Makeover event goer (Image via Facebook)

Joseph Chiu’s main drive in business is the people. He says it’s his real passion. Seeing his people do well for themselves gives him so much satisfaction. “It was the people who really drove me to stay with McD and open 3 more stores.

What really sets his business apart from others is its people-centric nature. “The soul behind any brand is essentially the people. If you treat them well, they’ll treat your business well”.

His Secret to Success

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Photos of Joseph Chiu in work action

Joseph Chiu had a few factors/ secrets he attributes his success to. Of which are:

  • Attention to detail
  • Great leadership/ Knowing how to bring people together to perform in unison
  • Drive to satisfy others (no greater satisfaction than to see his employees do well)
  • Trusting your subordinate leaders (avoid micromanaging)

Who Does he Attribute His Success to?

Joseph Chiu’s parents. Both have very different styles yet are very successful leaders. His father is money-centric, while his mother is people-centric. He believes himself to be an amalgam of both.

He attributes his deep knowledge of the business art to his mother and her business partner. From a young age, they taught him to always look at business as a battlefield.

Advice or Tips From Joseph Chiu

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Joseph Chiu giving a speech (Image via Facebook)

In business, make sure you’re passionate about your business. Then try first to understand your business’s weather. Next, understand giving up is not an option. Lastly, be vigilant. Be able to endure pain and expect many sleepless nights.

Joseph Chiu is so well rounded and balanced between his career and outside life. He says for this, no matter how busy, always make a point to exercise. For the last 2 years, his team has taken 40 minutes out of lunch to hit the gym.

Honestly, knowing a fellow Sarawakian making such waves locally brings so much respect for him. Well wishes for Joseph Chiu in any future endeavors. We hope to continue hearing about the great influence he is spreading locally.

Kuscera Youngblood About the author

Her writing is focused on millennial content. Particularly local content. She's passionate about the local scene and wants more people to know about it through her writing. Check out her articles on, which she actively writes for.