Nirvana founder makes it to Forbes Global Game Changers list

Interview Dato David Kong MD of NV Multi Asia for Shanghai August cover story.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri David Kong, founder and executive chairman of death care service provider Nirvana Asia Ltd, has made it to the 2017 Forbes Global Game Changers list, the only South-East Asian among the 30 people honoured.

In its biodata on Kong, Forbes said: “On a continent starved for space, Kong sells tiny lockers for human remains in ornate columbaria where relatives can pay respects and even enjoy a meal.” 

Nirvana runs cemeteries and columbaria across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and China and peddles services door-to-door.

Almost half (14) of the trailblazers on this second annual Game Changers list - featured in the June 13 issue of Forbes magazine - are from the United States.

Other Asians honoured along with the 62-year-old Kong are Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Salman Al Saud, Lens Technology founder Xhou Qunfei (China), Cainiao chief executive officer Judy Wenhong Tong (China), Didi Chuxing founder Cheng Wei (China), Reliance Industries chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani (India), and Mobileye cofounders Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua of Mobileye (Israel).

The movers and shakers from the US are Stewart Butterfied of Slack, John and Patrick Collison of Stripe, Larry Fink of BlackRock, Ken Frazier of Merck, Robert Katz of Vail, Jeff Lawson of Twilio, Adam Neumann of WeWork, Gabe Newell of Valvem John Overdeck and David Siegel of Two Sigma, Michael Rapino of Live Nation, Evan Spiegel of Snap, Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani, and Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe.

Rounding out the list are James Dyson of Dyson (UK), Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann of Transferwise (UK), Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes of Atlassian (Australia), Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva of Embraer (Brazil) and Christo Wiese of Steinhoff (South Africa).

In order to be considered for the Forbes Global Game Changers list, leaders must be running a for-profit operation with a market value of at least US$1bil (RM4.32bil) that is growing and innovating better than its peers.


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