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Frederick Chavalit Tsao wants to change the world…one life at a time

Written by Monte Mathews

Frederick Chavalit Tsao wants to change the world…one life at a time


Frederick Chavalit Tsao, best known as Fred, is the billionaire fourth-generation scion of an extraordinary family.  With deep roots in Shanghai, his Singapore-based family business, the IMC Group has been transformed under Fred’s 25-year-long leadership. At age 37, Fred took over a traditional shipping company turning it into a multi-national conglomerate.  Now Fred has taken on an extraordinary new challenge: he wants to change the world. To do this, Fred first created OCTAVE Institute, designed to help people find clarity, harmony, and a new level of consciousness and freedom.

This is SANGHA Retreat By OCTAVE Institute. At this $500 million 47-acre lakeside retreat, Western Science and Eastern Wisdom are combined. Far more than any spa resort, SANGHA uses a thoroughly integrated approach incorporating the latest technology and an understanding of health, wellness and mindfulness practices to create an experience like no other. Since each guest’s journey uniquely personal, an international team of doctors provide a comprehensive medical assessment. That evaluation paves the way for a customized plan of meals, treatments, exercise and

At its heart is the new SANGHA Retreat.  This exquisite property is located in a 47-acre lakeside site a. 30-minute bullet train ride away from Shanghai.  Designed by Fred’s brother, Starchitect and New York-based Calvin Tsao, SANGHA Retreat opened its doors two years ago.

And now it’s ready for its international close-up.  We caught up with Fred on a whirlwind visit to New York in advance of the publication of his first book: “Quantum Leadership: New Consciousness in Business” (Stanford University Press) is available for advance purchase on Amazon.

The on-site OCTAVE Institute is Fred Tsao’s platform created to help people find new clarity, and harmony leading to a new level of consciousness, mindfulness and freedom. OCTAVE Institute was built to help individuals and groups discover, learn, grow and evolve their relationships to their inner selves, others and nature itself.


With a July 30thpublication date, it promises to be the first of four books articulating the ethos behind SANGHA Retreat.

“By unleashing creativity, individuals, communities and businesses can begin to solve today’s problems and challenges in a truly sustainable way” says Fred Tsao.

Fred, a dapper 61-year old who looks far younger, speaks impeccable English no doubt in part to his education at the University of Michigan where he obtained a Master of Science Degree in Engineering at the ripe old age of 20.

Here is what he had to say,…


Of OCTAVE, Fred says:

“I am starting a company about life.  I use a new language, a new paradigm because we are in the material era. But we’re moving into a second human spiritual awakening. Materialism leaves us stressed out, off balance, hollow of meaning. We’re not well, our families, our friendships, our companies, our society, our environment—nothing is well. In order to be mindful, we must shift consciousness and create new lives for ourselves and our families. We have to focus on ourselves, to find out why we are here. Because it’s holistic, everything we do impacts the world. We don’t go fix it outside but change it inside. If you want to change the world, focus on finding and changing yourself to find your purpose first. When I built SANGA Retreat, I surveyed everything.  No one else shares our holistic world view. In fact, the wellness industry cannot even agree what wellness is.  For us, wellness is just an alignment process. We all come here for a purpose, to play a role. We have to wake up.”


“Mindfulness is shifting consciousness and creating life. At SANGHA Retreat, we teach people how to change habits. We have six habits that we want to help our guests with Breathing, movement, food, thoughts, energy, mindfulness. There’s a lot to learn.”

Guests at SANGHA Retreat are hardly roughing it. SANGHA is rated a 5 Star Property. It’s Intimate in scale, with private courtyards and walkways connecting the Clinic, Spa and its 60 suite-level hotel rooms with OCTAVE’S live-work-learn community for Quantum Leadership Retreats. There are also 108 private villa residences. SANGHA’s name itself was inspired by the Sanskrit word for ‘Community’.

“At SANGHA we encourage couples, families, communities to come together so that they can work together on their relationships as well.  So that you go on the journey of your life together. It actually makes the process of change faster, better, more supportive. When people come to the retreat, they dedicate time to invest in themselves, in their own progress. And we like it groups because groups are much more powerful.  You learn much better in communities. Supporting yourself in a group, finding people like you with the same challenges, working together, that’s powerful. Bring the family along. On your journey, go with fellowship. And your family is your true important fellowship. “


Asked the standard journalistic question of where he sees himself in 5 years, Tsao bristled ever so slightly.

“That was all very well in the Industrial era but we are creating a new era. You cannot use that thinking and that paradigm to create a new era. That’s what I am promoting: shifting consciousness.  The vision of where you will be in 5 years means you limit your expectations, your experiences, your ability to change.  Just follow your purpose, your gift, your passion. The center of self is just burning to find that purpose. Focus on that. Don’t focus on the form, focus on the essence. You will discover a joyous, meaningful life.  That is the whole purpose of SANGHA Retreat. Because we are a more than a school of life, we actually support your transformation.”


We can scarcely wait to see where Frederick Chavalit Tsao will be five years from now. But we’re confident he will have made a world of difference.



199 Yang Cheng Ring Road
Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China

Reservations: +86 (512) 6788 1666​​​​​​​

Monte Mathews
Author: Monte Mathews

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Monte Mathews

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