Chai was born and raised in Malaysia. She received her MSc. in Manufacturing Engineering from the Queen’s University of Belfast, United Kingdom. From 2011 to 2014, she was Chairperson of Ulysse Nardin SA, a Swiss watch company established in 1846, which her late husband, Rolf Schnyder, brought to new heights. In his honour, Chai founded the Rolf Schnyder Foundation (fondationrolfschnyder.org). Working with NGOs and schools, the foundation has built and funded free clinics and an orphanage for HIV children in the poor townships of Myanmar, as well as various children-related projects and scholarships in Mongolia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Peru, Mexico and China.