Prize Day Speaker
Alice Hung ’86 is the founder and chief executive officer of Universal (Hong Kong) Technology Co. Ltd., a leading sales and distribution company in Asia specializing in testing equipment, scientific and research instrumentation, industrial tools, and related supplies. The company provides essential equipment for the drug discovery, research, and development in nano-material sciences and quantum physics, as well as quality assurance in petroleum-related products.
Established in 1991, Universal has five branch offices and several service centers in China, offices in Vietnam, and an administrative and logistics center in Hong Kong. Its clients include world-class universities including Peking University, Tsinghua University, and the Academy of Sciences, as well as many top research institutions and testing laboratories in China.
The daughter of a geophysicist and a chemist, Alice was born in Beijing during the cultural revolution. She was uprooted to Hong Kong with her family in 1973 and settled in a rural area. As a young child, Alice spent her after-school hours running errands and helping out at home to make ends meet—she welded thousands of circuits a month and put clothes on dolls while she never had one for herself. Her interest in business flourished as she observed adults running small businesses and driving hard bargains. Although Alice’s parents had limited resources, they sent her to St. Mark’s. Graduating at the top of her class, Alice went on to Penn and Wharton and earned two degrees in three-and-a-half years.
Upon graduation, Alice returned to Hong Kong in 1990 and joined Lehman Brothers as an analyst. Her goal, at the time, was to buy a spacious home for her aging parents. Alice understood that China’s thriving economic reforms could provide better opportunities for her to realize her dream. Armed with a strong sense of business acumen and sheer determination, Alice waved goodbye to investment banking and her corner office after only six months and successfully built her own business.
Alice’s original quest for a family home ended in building up a portfolio of more than 100 real estate properties in New York, London, Chicago, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Ho Chi Minh, and other cities. From 1994 to 2013, she invested solely in real estate in Beijing and Hong Kong.
In 2013, she bravely put all her cash on the table and bought a technology from GE and then a piece of land in Wisconsin where she built a factory from scratch with the carved-out acquisition. The factory is flourishing and paid off her initial investment in less than four years.
Alice is an active venture capitalist and has an extensive portfolio of global technology investments ranging from biotechnology, dental clinics, zebra fishes, brain chips, flying drones without GPS, 5G data-security systems, enzymes to make artificial grapefruit flavor, and cross-border e-commerce.
Some of Alice’s most notable investments are ID Quantique, a Swiss company that is the world leader in quantum-safe crypto and leverages quantum technology in the fields of random numbers and scientific instrumentation; Nia Therapeutics, a U.S. company that develops neuro-stimulation therapies to treat memory-impaired patients; Exyn Technologies, a U.S. company that develops software to control multisensory rotorcraft micro aerial vehicles (MAV) and communication between flying vehicles; Gshopper, an online platform aiming to become the leading cross-border e-commerce platform for global consumers, merchants, and brands; Oxford Biotrans, a U.K. company that develops and commercializes enzymatic process technologies that yield high-value chemical compounds; Vitargent Biotechnology, a Hong Kong company that uses fish embryos to perform toxicity tests, and Arrail Dental, a successful dental group with more than 40 clinics in major cities across China aimed at the middle-class and expatriates.
As a beneficiary of a world-class education, Alice appreciates the importance of giving back. She is the chairperson of Wharton’s Executive Board of Asia. She is a generous supporter of the University of Oxford as well as her alma mater high schools in Hong Kong and the U.S., including St. Mark’s, where she was a 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni/ae Award.
Alice’s love of art led her to be a board member of the Hong Kong Arts Centre. She is also a connoisseur and collector of Chinese modern ink and Vietnam oil paintings. Her love of music inspired her to become an active sponsor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In addition, she has donated generously to numerous charities totaling more than $25 million over the years.
Alice resides in Hong Kong with her loving husband Alex, where they are devoted parents to their daughter Catherine and son Michael.