Whereas Singapore has its fair proportion of ultra-rich household dynasties and heirs to billion-dollar fortunes, rags-to-riches tales are far and few between.
It’s not straightforward to compete with the large boys, particularly in the event you come from subsequent to nothing your self.
Nevertheless, a number of enterprising Singaporeans have been steadily climbing the ranks of the ultra-wealthy over the previous couple of a long time regardless of their humble backgrounds.
Born into impoverished households, these entrepreneurs constructed up fortunes with meagre sources, counting on their abilities, wits, and luck for survival.
Listed below are seven tycoons with excellent rags-to-riches tales, who’ve now made their option to be amongst Singapore’s prime 50 richest:
Zhang Yong and Shu Ping, Haidilao
Picture Credit score: Forbes
Zhang Yong was born in 1969 in Jianyang, a rural province in Sichuan, China. The highschool dropout used to work as a welder in a government-run tractor manufacturing facility and solely visited his first restaurant when he was 19.
Nevertheless, the expertise was disappointing as he was served lacklustre customer support and unimpressive meals.
After being denied an organization condo for himself and his then-fiancé Shu Ping (now spouse), Zhang Yong determined to launch his personal restaurant with an intention to supply prospects with an unforgettable eating expertise.
He first launched a four-table restaurant referred to as Haidilao in 1994, offering prospects with free companies like manicures and snack platters.
It quickly grew to be the most important hotpot restaurant on the town and started increasing quickly. By 2013, Haidilao opened its first abroad department in Los Angeles.
At the moment, Haidilao generates US$three.eight billion in gross sales throughout its 768 eating places worldwide. Zhang Yong and his spouse has additionally been dubbed as Singapore’s richest this 12 months, with a mixed web price of US$19 billion.
Goh Cheng Liang, Wuthelam Holdings
Picture Credit score: Billionaire Moniter
Goh Cheng Liang was born right into a household of seven that lived in a S$three per thirty days rented room in a River Valley Highway shophouse.
His father was jobless and his mom washed laundry. When World Battle Two broke out, Goh was despatched to Malaya to assist his brother-in-law promote fishing nets.
When he returned to Singapore, Goh bought aerated water, a enterprise which failed and burned by way of his meagre capital. In 1945, he grew to become a salesman at Tan Chong Huat Hardware.
His large break solely got here in 1949, when he bought a number of barrels of rotten paint from the British military’s public sale and experimented with it.
He later launched a paint manufacturing enterprise named Pigeon Paint, which flourished when restrictions on imports have been imposed following the Korean Battle.
In 1950, Goh arrange his first paint store in Singapore and bought the principle distribution rights for Nippon Paint. He additionally based the Nipsea Group in 1962 in partnership with the Japanese paint big and Wuthelam Holdings, a carefully held paints and coatings maker.
At the moment, Goh has a web price of US$18.7 billion and ranks as Singapore’s third-richest man. Regardless of an exhaustive record of accomplishments, the billionaire continues to broaden his empire to this present day.
In 2019, Nippon Paint launched into a world acquisitions marketing campaign, shopping for out DuluxGroup, Australia’s largest paint producer, for US$2.7 billion; and Turkey’s Betek Boya for US$247 million.
Earlier this 12 months, Goh additionally secured a majority stake within the Japanese big for S$16.7 billion.
Choo Chong Ngen, Lodge 81
Choo Chong Ngen and his daughter, Carolyn, pictured / Picture Credit score: Forbes
Born in 1952, Choo Chong Ngen was a kampong boy from Hougang. He’s certainly one of seven kids, who was born to a carpenter and a housewife.
When he was 10, Choo started promoting ice cream to earn his personal pocket cash, and later dropped out of faculty to change into a fishmonger at age 14.
The next 12 months, he was paid solely S$30 a month working at a textile enterprise for his neighbour. Unhappy, the enterprising youth borrowed S$6 and invested S$50 his mom had given him into his personal textile enterprise.
By 21, he had made his first foray into the true property business, shopping for a shophouse unit on a 10-year financial institution mortgage and renting it out for as much as S$2,000 a month.
He reinvested his earnings and acquired over 30 store models by the point he was 30, every asset producing a constant month-to-month lease. Then, impressed by a keep in an inexpensive Tokyo resort in 1991, Choo determined to arrange his personal chain of price range lodges.
The entrepreneur purchased land in Geylang for S$1.5 million, constructing over 100 models unfold throughout 4 plots within the district. This chain of price range lodges grew to become the purple gentle district’s notorious Lodge 81, included beneath Choo’s Worldwide Motels group in 2018.
Worldwide Motels has expanded into the price range and mid-tier vary of lodges since its inception, proudly owning 38 lodges in Singapore with properties throughout the Asia Pacific and plans to broaden worldwide.
At the moment, the tycoon presides over a US$2.5 billion web price as Singapore’s 14th richest man.
Peter Lim, Diversified Belongings
Picture Credit score: The Impartial
Born to a fishmonger and housewife in 1953, Peter Lim and his six siblings grew up in a two-bedroom authorities flat at Bukit Ho Swee.
Lim excelled academically, finishing his secondary faculty schooling at Raffles Establishment and learning on the College of Western Australia in Perth.
Coming from humble origins, Lim struggled to place himself by way of college, working odd jobs as a taxi driver, cook dinner and waiter. He finally graduated with a level in accounting and finance and began his first job as an accountant
Lim obtained his large break with a streak of wildly profitable ventures into the inventory market, accruing the moniker of the “Remisier King”.
Within the early 1990s, Lim invested US$10 million within the then-start up palm-oil firm Wilmar. He cashed out on the peak of commodity costs in 2010, promoting his Wilmar shares for a whopping US$1.5 billion.
At the moment, the tycoon sits on a web price of US$1.95 billion as Singapore’s 17th richest man, with diversified belongings into property, healthcare and sports activities.
Lim’s empire contains the belongings like Singapore’s Thomson Medical Group and Manchester’s historic Northern Inventory Alternate.
Ron Sim, OSIM
Picture Credit score: Spiking
Born in 1958, Ron Sim spent his childhood taking over menial jobs to assist his household of 9, together with promoting wanton noodles and dealing as a waiter.
Sim graduated with solely an O-level certificates and began working proper after finishing his nationwide service. His first firm was launched in 1979 with 4 companions, however shortly closed down.
In 1980, he launched one other enterprise alone, which specialised in buying and selling family items however the enterprise additionally shut down because of a recession in 1985.
Despite the setback, Sim launched yet one more firm in 1985, specialising within the well being and wellness sector. The brand new agency was wildly profitable for its vary of Japanese shiatsu-style luxurious therapeutic massage chairs.
Integrated as OSIM, the model started increasing aggressively, trailing a path throughout Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Mainland China by 1993.
OSIM is now one of many prime therapeutic massage chair manufacturers worldwide and has over 413 retailers situated throughout 88 cities. At the moment, Sim sits on a US$1.three billion fortune as Singapore’s 28th richest man.
Lim Hock Chee, Sheng Siong
Picture Credit score: The Star
Well-known for his thriftiness, Lim Hock Chee was born in 1961 because the fifth of 9 kids. His father first labored as a fisherman, then a pig farmer with over three,000 pigs on a 20,000 sq. foot farm on the peak of the enterprise.
Lim dropped out of Chinese language Excessive Faculty in Secondary three and accomplished his schooling in a two-year automotive mechanics course at Jurong Vocational Institute, the present-day ITE School West in 1976.
In 1985, the by-then profitable Cheng Siong Pig Farm suffered when the federal government shut down the pig farming sector. Lim opened up a counter at a Savewell provision store in Ang Mo Kio to promote his household’s extra inventory of chilled meat.
The entrepreneur and his brothers later purchased over the outlet for S$30,000 with capital borrowed from his father in 1985. Renamed Sheng Siong, the shop flourished with their no-frills method to the grocery store enterprise, providing prospects merchandise at rock-bottom costs.
At the moment, Lim is Singapore’s 31st richest man, with a web price of US$1.2 billion. Sheng Siong has grown into Singapore’s third-largest grocery store chain by gross sales with over 60 shops situated islandwide.
The franchise has been listed on the Singapore Alternate since 2011 and attained over S$890 million in annual gross sales income in 2018. In 2020, the mixed web price of the Lims rose 38 per cent because the shares of Sheng Siong soared amidst the pandemic.
Lim Chap Huat, Soilbuild Group
Picture Credit score: sqfeed
Born in 1954, Lim Chap Huat was born the third of seven kids of a trishaw rider and washerwoman. He spent the primary 4 years of life in a wood shack on the compound of an outdated colonial bungalow, earlier than the household moved to a one-room rental flat.
When he was nonetheless a baby, Lim began working to assist assist the household. He bought tickets on the Nationwide Stadium, cleared particles at development websites for S$6 a day, and gave tuition for seven years.
Decided to construct his personal wealth, Lim took S$5,000 from his financial savings to arrange a development firm, Soilbuild, after Nationwide Service.
Soilbuild flourished throughout the property increase within the 1980s and jumped into property growth in 1981. Not like different companies that went bust, the agency rode the wave of the 1987 monetary disaster to purchase plots of land in Jalan Haji Alias.
The Soilbuild Group is now certainly one of Singapore’s most prolific property builders and a listed REIT. Notable properties beneath Soilbuild’s intensive portfolio embrace enterprise areas and residential properties like The Mezzo and Mandai Connection.
At the moment, Lim sits on a web price of US$890 million as Singapore’s 39th richest multi-millionaire.
Can Anyone Be A Billionaire?
Removed from being born with a silver spoon, these tycoons accrued their wealth by way of sheer arduous work and perseverance.
It’s undoubtedly no imply feat to develop an empire that may span a number of nations and employs a whole lot, if not hundreds of employees.
The quantity of dedication required to amass a fortune is proportional to its weight in gold. Whereas the dream of topping Singapore’s richest record is inside the grasp of virtually anybody, the query is — are you keen to work for it?
Featured Picture Credit score: Asia Tatler / Uncover SG / Status Hong Kong / Forbes / Vulcan Submit