The World’s Richest City

Singapore: The World’s Richest City by WSJ_Live

Yes, Siingapore – my home town and my birth place is the World’s Richest City according to Wall Street Journal and rightly so because which city doesn’t have a deficit except Singapore.  The Singapore has a load of back up money in its reserved and even though it is said to be the lowest percentage of crime and corruption, these are not the only reason why the richest flock to Singapore .

So what is the reason – I hear you asking?

One of the main reason must be because of the low taxes on top of that, Singapore is one of the highest tech playground of all times.  From hotels to night clubs to eateries, Singapore has it all.  Hospitals are everywhere , from government aided ones to private ones.  Every high end fashion and retailers are in Singapore, you can find just about everything in Singapore, therefore, Singapore although only a red dot – is the world’s richest city.

George Quek

For some they measure success with a lot of money but I loved the local success from home especially if it is someone who’ve started their own brand and own business with their own ideas.  And George Quek is one such inspirational person to me because he is from my home town and he is fondly known as the Food Court King.

Back home food courts are very popular and to manage one, you will have to have some skill because it involves getting a lot of cooks together but they are also their own bosses.  George Quek not only manages Food Courts but also is the MD for BreadTalk a well known designer bread shop in Asia.

Born in a humble family, George Quek I read was raised to earn his own keeps and that nothing is free nor does anyone owes anything to him.  Success didn’t come easy for George Quek, in fact, he was a man of many trades before becoming who he is today and he had many setbacks as well but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream and being creative.  Under his belt, George Quek had an ice cream business, a bak cho mee business, a chicken rice business, a dragon beard candy business and now of course managing some successful food court as well as Breadtalk.

For all his hard work and challenges, George Quek was awarded the EY Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year 2006.  Yes, pretty impressive  for our home boy as the BreadTalk group has like  400 bakery outlets in 16 countries and also operates the well known Din Tai Fung restaurants.  Adapting to changes and willing them to his success, that is what I admire about Mr Quek and we all can learn a thing or two from him.

C.K. Tang

C.K. Tang was one of the earliest retail entrepreneur in Singapore – he founded the Tang department store and was known as the pioneer in retail marketing and was said to be the force or making one of Singapore’s busiest shopping district where it is now. The Tang departmental store had been in business forever and they were not only bold in their marketing, they also believed in giving their customers the best.  The Tang departmental store not only houses a cafe/restaurant – it also has a basement full of food where one can buy as well while shopping for your clothes.  If only they can get small burlap sacks online  and use them for packaging, I say that would have been the best for saving the planet.

C.K. Tang started his retail business in a rickshaw selling his wares from house to house and when he saved enough money, he then opened a small departmental store.  With a very smart business acumen, Mr Tang bought a piece of land in now the most popular spot in Orchard Road and despite the fact that it was facing a cemetery, he was right about those military wives from overseas.

Tang Departmental store didn’t stay that way, they expanded to own a hotel right beside the departmental store called Dynasty – almost movie like and the hotel did well as well and was subsequently sold and became the Marriott Hotel.  Mr Tang believed in training of his staff and spend lots of money just on training programs.  He died at the age of 98.

Chew Hua Seng

You’ve gotta loved stories like Chew Hua Seng’s – a fisherman’s son – who became a multi-millionaire not by fluke of course but he wasn’t really planning to be the boss either.  In fact, the only reason why he became the boss was because no bosses wanted to hire him he confessed in one interview many years ago.  The 12 richest man in Singapore, Chew came from a poor family and he had to help out in the family by selling fishes in an outdoor market when he was a kid.

And even though he had to struggle because he didn’t come from a rich home, he managed to finish his university by selling insurance part time and even bought a motorcyle and a second hand car.  For those who lived in Singapore, you will understand that buying a car during those days even now is a great deal because of the COE that you have to pay for and they are at exorbitant prices.

Anyhow, Chew decided to become his own boss after he didn’t get any job offer and even though he did well, it was not without its ups and downs.  But even though he was hit the hardest when his business went sour due to no fault of his, he carried on and pull thru’ and is now the owner and founder of Raffles Education Corporation, the largest private education provider in Asia.

I just loved stories like that – and Chew didn’t forget to give back to the community and society like the indoor sport hall of Montfort Secondary School.   I loved his ” you cannot undo things but you can move on” motto.

Yao Hsiao Tung

Born in China, lived in Taiwan and became a Singapore is this small toolmarker – who became the owner of Singapore’s largest and biggest electronics component makers for big companies like Nike, Apple and more.  72 yrs old Mr Yao is still going strong – and a net worth of $325 million according to Forbes this morning.  Mr Yao did not start Hi-P from what I understand but instead turned it around from losses to a profit after the recession – pumping in $50K of his own money into Hi-P.   A brave man indeed – but like any entrepreneur you have to take risk and have foresight and never say die.  Mr Yao is an inspiration to me – because he is the kind of person/businessman I want to learn from – hanging in there during tough times and making the best out of the good ones.

Lim Hock Chee

Lim Hock Chee may not be a well-known name back home – but Sheng Shiong definitely is – for Sheng Siong is all over Singapore and when Sheng Siong first came about – it sure gave big names like NTUC a run for their money for they were selling all kind of household food for a lot lesser. The Sheng Siong group was listed last year publicly and Mr Lim’s net worth according to Forbes was $US 345 million.  Son of a pig farmer – Mr Lim has come a long way from selling pork himself – to being Singapore 3rd largest food chain retailer.

Started out with one small grocery shop – he now owns 21 chain outlet  – extraordinary but this Chinese boss is said to be as thrifty as one can get on himself.  Very humble and used to drive a lorry around – his company now have their own tv show on local tv back home.  An extraordinary story and an extraordinary man.  Very inspiring!

Liem Sioe Liong


Indonesian tycoon passed away recently at the age of 95 – remembered by many for being simple and humble even though he was so rich and powerful – his wake was attended by the rich and famous which included past president from Indonesia – Megawati Sukarnoputri and Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Indonesian Ambassador Andri Hadi.

Known for being loyal to his home country – Indonesia – even though he had resided in Singapore for many years – born in China but migrated to Medan.  Mr Liem is known for his philanthropy acts like the donation of $1 million to a school in Singapore.  Born from humble origins – he definitely came a long way from being a farmer’s son.

Olivia Lum

Olivia Lum came a long way from being an orphan to the only woman in South East Asia being listed on Forbes for being one of the richest woman in the world.  Orphan at birth – Olivia was adopted but life didn’t come easy for her even then – for her adopted grandmother gambled away all the money and lost everything they had.  At 15 she supported herself by giving tuition and managed to get into one of the best Junior colleges in Singapore.  She then entered into the University of Singapore – which for your information was not easy to get into and graduated with honors.

At a young age of 28 and only $20K in capital – she started her own company (Hyflux)  selling treated water  – with only 3 person employed.  Her company grew quickly and later listed in the Singapore exchange and hired on about 800 people.  Olivia’s net worth is said to be at $460 million.  Hyflux continues to grow till this day.

John Lim

John Lim – the 38 richest man in Singapore has a net worth of $310 million manages ARA Property and is said to be worth up to US $16 billion – has properties in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China.  John has 28 years of experience in real estate and holds an Engineering degree, a Diploma in BA and an MS degree from the University of Singapore and like many young entrepreneur started out working in different real estate company before starting his own ARA.

Satinder Garcha

Satinder Garcha is not your ordinary Indian man who is smart in programming like all Indian engineers back his home town.  A newcomer in the Forbes list for one of the richest man in Singapore – Satinder Garcha has an acumen for business yet love his relax lifestyle – and a safe one too – so he chose Singapore to settle down in.   Garcha became a millionaire before turning 30 by selling to TMP Worldwide.

Went into the property business but not just any property business because he knew that he would have to compete with the old boys’ club – so he focus on landed property and not just for sale but to buy – own and then rent them out.  And aiming for upscale renters alone.  Garcha is also best known on the greens where polo was the sport he loved best.