SIX SINGAPORE FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES BEAT THE 3RD GENERATION ‘LOSE FORTUNE’ JINX: WHAT IS THEIR SECRET?

SINGAPORE – As part of its leadership succession plans, homegrown retail company C K Tang has named Mr Sean Tang Wen-Wei, 32, its new chief executive on Tuesday (April 18).

He is the third-generation Tang to lead the company. Other family-run businesses have also made their mark in Singapore. Here are another five of them:

1. Eu Yan Sang
Set up by Eu Kong in Gopeng, Perak, under the name Yan Sang in 1879, the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) supplier began operating in Singapore in the 1910s under the leadership of his son Eu Tong Sen.
Richard Eu, group CEO of Eu Yan Sang International. Photo: The Straits Times

 

Now a provider of both raw Chinese herbs and processed TCM products, such as its signature Bak Foong pills – a herbal blend said to relieve menstrual symptoms – the company saw a gross profit of over $173 million in the 2015 financial year. It is currently led by group chief executive Richard Eu, great-grandson of Eu Kong, and has expanded to the tune of over 250 retail outlets, carrying over 900 own-branded products.

2. Sing Lun Holdings

Mr Patrick Lee (left) and his son Mark helm Sing Lun Investments as chairman and chief executive, respectively. Photo: The Straits Times

The apparel manufacturer counts top global sportswear brands such as Under Armour and Puma among its clients. Mr Lee Chee Hung set up a textile wholesaler in 1951, which later expanded into apparel manufacturing under the leadership of his son Patrick, who joined the company in 1968 and currently serves as its chairman.

Mr Patrick Lee was honoured at the SG50 Outstanding Chinese Business Pioneers Awards by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2015 for the leadership he displayed.

The company is currently led by chief executive Mark Lee, son of Mr Patrick Lee. Headquartered in Singapore, it operates 13 manufacturing facilities overseas – six in Vietnam and the rest in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and China – generating a turnover of $235 million in 2015.

3. Hong Leong Group

City Developments’ chairman Kwek Leng Beng(Second from left) at his Republic Plaza office.
Photo: CDL

The mammoth conglomerate, which holds gross assets of over $40 billion, was established in 1941 by Kwek Hong Png as the Hong Leong Company. He soon invited his brothers Hong Khai, Hong Lye and Hong Leong to join him.

Trading during the height of World War II, the company dealt in ropes, paints, ship and rubber estate supplies out of a small Beach Road shophouse.

Profiting handsomely from increased rubber demand during the 1950-53 Korean War, the company later diversified into property by acquiring a substantial stake in developer City Developments Limited (CDL) in 1971.

Currently, the conglomerate has diversified holdings in industries such as manufacturing through Hong Leong Asia and hospitality through its hotel arm Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

Mr Kwek Hong Png’s elder son Leng Beng took over as executive chairman in 1994. Younger son Leng Joo was deputy chairman and executive director of CDL when he died, aged 62, in 2015. Mr Kwek Hong Png’s nephews were also placed in various executive positions to assume management roles.

4. Far East Organisation

Children playing at the Far East Organisation Children’s Garden at Gardens by the Bay Photo: The Straits Times

Established by late philanthropist Ng Teng Fong in 1960, Far East Organisation is another conglomerate that remains in the family. It was involved in over 770 developments in Singapore, including one in six private homes.

It is also Singapore’s largest private residential landlord and largest hotels and serviced residences operator, with the Far East Hospitality Trust holding on to a portfolio of 12 hotels and serviced residences worth approximately $2.4 billion.

Younger son Philip Ng, said to be the richest man in Singapore, is currently chief executive of the conglomerate.

The company is known for its sponsorship of public facilities and buildings, such as the Far East Organisation Childrens’ Garden at Gardens by the Bay.

5. Metro Holdings

Ong Jenn, the grandson of Metro founder Ong Tjoe Kim and the son of its former group managing director Jopie Ong.
Photo: The Straits Times

Beginning life as a small 250 sq m store on High Street opened by Mr Ong Tjoe Kim, Metro later expanded into a department store chain. Metro Holdings was subsequently formed to take over all three branches of the department store in 1973.

Before long, the firm had expanded into hospitality and property investments. Its famous development is Ngee Ann City, a joint venture with the Ngee Ann Kongsi.

Metro has seen three generations of Ongs within its ranks. Mr Jopie Ong, son of the founder, was the conglomerate’s managing director from 1973 till his death last year, overseeing the firm’s rise to rake in a net profit of over $122 million last year.

However, grandson Ong Jenn found himself in the news for the wrong reasons: the scion of the business empire, who has been a business development manager in the firm, was arrested in 2014 for trafficking, possessing and consuming cannabis.

– Asia0ne