Cover Story

Arun Chaudhary: Building An Empire

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“The new building will stand in place of the building that we are in right now. It will be a 5 star hotel unlike any other that Nepal has seen before.” Explained Arun Chaudhary, Chairman of CG| Holdings, insinuating the new direction towards which the company has embarked.

The ability to visualize and articulate a possible future state for an organization or company has always been a vital component for success in any institution.

So has been the case for CG|Holdings. An intricate segment of Chaudhary Group, CG| Holdings’ business verticals include the automobile, education, realty, manufacturing, financial services, retail chain/convenience stores, and now the hotel sector.

However, it is also true that almost nothing great has been achieved without passion; an ideology that Arun Chaudhary firmly believes in. The best definition of the word we could find, that did not pertain to matters relating to romance, oddly enough came from the Urban Dictionary which rightly defined passion as: “Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible.” As so often is the case, business people with passions can be like magnets, attracting supporters, helpers, enthusiasts, and ultimately success. Of course, success can mean different things to different people.

I look at success in terms of the achievements that I have attained from the various aspects of me as a person. And what I mean by me encompasses the different roles that I have to play.

“Success is not a destination, it’s a journey. There is no yardstick to measure success. I look at success in terms of the achievements that I have attained from the various aspects of me as a person. And what I mean by me encompasses the different roles that I have to play. The role of me as Arun Chaudhary, me as a son, me as a father, me as a husband, me as a friend, me as a boss and so on;” he clarified when we broached the topic of his success “The benchmark that I have set in terms of all these roles that I have to play highlights the definition of success.”

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The Chaudhary family finds its humble beginnings in a family owned textile business that was established by Arun Chaudhary’s grandfather Bhuramull Chaudhary. It was his son, Late Lunkaran Das Chaudhary, who took over the reigns of the business at the age of 23 after Bhuramull Chaudhary’s demise.

Lunkaran Das Chaudhary took massive strides in the Nepalese business sector, and established himself as one of the most prominent industrialists of the country. His sons further expanded the banner of the family and established what is now the largest and most diverse business conglomerate in the country.

In the process, Lunkaran Das raised his sons as to become impeccable business individuals who understood the importance of family and the strength that it has.

Arun Chaudhary has these values instilled in him and he carries it with him like a badge of honor. “I have never been ONLY a businessman, who I am is a result of where I come from. Who you truly are is something that you are born with. That nobody can change. The remaining paraphernalia that you add on as you go is what shapes you to who you ultimately become.” He further explained, “Each individual is like a precious gem. But you’ll only be able to see how brightly it shines once you go through the tedious task of cutting, shaping and shining the gem.”

“As a kid, there was a time when I wanted to be a pilot. I wanted to be a doctor too. But that was mostly because of the way that I saw them carry themselves. For a kid smart uniforms, and white coats with stethoscopes slung around the neck appeared alluring,” Arun Chaudhary shared “but growing up in a business family molded me into a business man, which I am glad it did. Regardless, I was always sure of one thing: I would be the best at whatever I ended up doing.”

His words carried the conviction of a confident man and his piercing gaze left little place for doubt. Arun contributes his sureness to his habit of pursuing anything he does with a passion and vigor that few others can replicate.

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Arun Chaudhary, who has had his share of ventures, told us what he believed leads to success from a business standpoint, “First and foremost you need to find something that you feel an unrelenting passion for. It has to be something that you connect with, something that sends energy coursing through your body from just the thought of it. It has to surpass mediocre interest and you have to be prepared to completely immerse yourself in it and give it your 100%;” he continued “but even with all the passion, knowledge and hard work, you will still need luck to make it all work.”

While he could very well have claimed it was his vision, hard work and dedication what attributed to the success of CG Holdings, and resultantly himself, he was candid about how important the role of luck was. “No matter how big I make myself out to be, or how much work or effort I say I put in, I wouldn’t be where I am without luck. There are many people who are more committed than me, harder working than me, and smarter than me, but I was fortunate enough to have luck by my side.”

But even with all the passion, knowledge and hard work, you will still need luck to make it all work.

When asked what he defined luck as, he quickly responded, “Blessings from my elders, my friends, and my well wishers.” He carried on after a short pause, “You should be grateful for what you have. That doesn’t mean that you have to be content with what you have, but you should appreciate everything that happened that led you to where you are today. Be happy with what you have and work towards what you want. Be nice to people and the blessings will come from them.”

CG| Holdings has established several different business verticals right now, but it all started with CG| Motocorp. This was something Arun Chaudhary started more than 30 years ago. Through the years CG|  Holdings diversified its portfolio into several avenues. Some ventures succeeded while others failed, unraveling a significant pattern for Arun Chaudhary.

“Any business that I connected with fared well, the ones I did not connect with fizzled out. That was something that has been proven true time and again.” Arun explained. “But once I find that connection, I always set one common goal, which is to become the biggest player in it.”

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The education sector has been one of the sectors that Arun Chaudhary has felt especially strongly about and one in which he has set out to make considerable developments. He believes that the effectiveness of education isn’t necessarily reflected by the hours you spend with your nose buried into books, neither is one’s capability reflected through grades.

Referring to his ventures in the education sector (which includes 3 academic institutions under CG| Learning: CG Institute of Management, Excel International College and Premier College), Arun Chaudhary shed light on this aspect of CG| Holdings, “The entire purpose of starting management schools was to create business ready individuals. Most colleges churn out graduates, not individuals who are ready for the real business world. That is mainly because you get theoretical knowledge but don’t have on the job exposure. What we believe is that theoretical knowledge is the base on which you build through experience and practical knowledge.” He went on “Having said that, stepping into the real world doesn’t serve as a springboard towards success. On the contrary, it’s the first step towards it and more importantly it is a platform where you can make mistakes and learn from them.”

“You have to adopt a preemptive state of mind where you prepare for anything and everything that can, and will, come your way. This has been one of the most crucial foundations on which I have laid my plans, and I have repeatedly resorted to one important mantra- ‘Just in case.’” He added “Life is not always hunky-dory and you need to be prepared for what is to come… just in case.”

You should be grateful for what you have. That doesn’t mean that you have to be content with what you have.

After doing fairly well in the automobile industry CG| Holdings had ventured into real estate. They constructed 5 towers throughout the city, and CG| Properties was taking strides. Unfortunately, the devastating earthquake brought things to a screeching halt. Towers no longer sustained the same attraction and the damages to the towers had Arun Chaudhary thinking, “It was a major set back. In front of me, a building that took 5 years to build was filled with cracks which felt no less than cracks in my dreams and visions.”

Faced with a problem, Arun Chaudhary recalibrated his strategies and found a solution “I had two choices, either give up or learn from what had happened. I chose the latter.” Channeling their investments and efforts slightly differently, they shifted their focus from towering structures to lavishly spread-out bungalows. CG| Properties are back with a new vigor and already have 300 bungalows being built in various places like Hattiban, Sunakothi, Dhapakhel and Bhainsipati.

Despite the highs and lows, Arun Chaudhary has always been responsive to changes and opportunities; and he now seems to have found his groove in the hospitality industry. Tourism and hospitality has been a well-defined area for Nepal and it has been one of the core competencies of our country. It’s a beautiful fusion of various factors that has worked for Nepal and this brings plenty of foreigners into the country. However, the infrastructure is lacking.

“What I want to do is create an establishment with a difference. I’m already over 50 and I’m not getting any younger. I’m an old man in a hurry, and I intend to get things done fast.” Veiled under these light hearted words was cold determination which is reflected from the quick transitions that are taking place. CG| Holdings have acquired Tigerland Safari Resort in Chitwan and taken their initial step towards a new sector. This was mainly in part to understand what they were getting into and to get a first hand experience of the problems and opportunities in the hotel and hospitality business. But there is plenty more to come.

The existing building of CG| Holdings in Jhamsikhel will be replaced with a one of a kind 5 star hotel. A business hotel will be constructed in Tripureshwore and a wellness retreat will find a place in a pristine bit of land in Budhanilkantha.

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He has also set sail with his induction of the international franchise Holiday Inn into the Nepalese hospitality industry. It is expected to break ground next year.

Arun Chaudhary is a visionary. His strategic business decisions have accumulated to create one of the biggest enterprises in the country. The decision to introduce Maruti Suzukinto an emerging Nepali market back in 1980 was a stroke of genius. For any business, it is important to find its position early, and that was exactly what CG| Holdings did by targeting the middle to upper price bracket.

“The biggest chunk of the market is in the middle bracket. More often than not, this has been where I have preferred to dwell with my businesses. That was the strategy when we introduced Suzuki (then Maruti).” Said Arun Chaudhary, “and it’s a similar case with Holiday Inn. The brand presence and recall of the Holiday Inn is extremely high in China and India, who are our primary clients. Holiday Inn operates 700,000 rooms under their portfolio that consists of 69,000 hotels. It’s not a boutique hotel, and targets the upper-mid scale people, which is exactly where I want it to be.”

Arun Chaudhary’s success as a businessman has been commendable. The same can be said about his perseverance towards fulfilling the roles that don’t pertain to the world of numbers and profits; a case rare to find in the cutthroat world of business. A dedicated father and husband, Arun Chaudhary goes above and beyond to play his role in different aspects of his life. In doing so, his ascent to success and the journey towards greater achievements appears to be one that will be long remembered.

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WORDS AND PHOTOS: TNM TEAM 

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