NG TENG FONG was larger than life.
OBITUARY: NG TENG FONG
always on his mind
The late Ng Teng Fong, billed as
Singapore's richest man by Forbes Asia magazine last September, rose from
He was just six years old when his
family migrated to Singapore from Putian, a village in China's Fujian
province. His father set up a soya sauce factory and had a grocery shop in
the Jalan Besar area stocking dried goods, preserved and specialty foods
from their village.
Mr Ng was inducted at a young age to
help out in the family business and did not acquire much formal education
in Singapore, according to a short biography of the property tycoon
released yesterday by his Singapore-based Far East Organization.
As the eldest of 11 children in the
family, expectations were high that Mr Ng should carry on the family
business. But he disappointed his father when he decided to strike out on
his own in the 1950s, when he was in his 20s.
Mr Ng's first property project back in
1962 was a 72-unit terrace housing development at Jalan Pachelli in the
Serangoon Gardens area. In 1969, he developed Watten Estate in the Bukit
Timah area. In the 1970s, Mr Ng developed Far East Shopping Centre and
Lucky Plaza along Orchard Road, followed by Far East Plaza on Scotts Road
in the early 1980s. Since then, the group has developed Orchard Parksuites
serviced residences and Orchard Central.
Mr Ng's Far East Organization group is
the biggest private property developer in Singapore today. It comprises
over 180 private companies and two listed entities - Orchard Parade
Holdings and Yeo Hiap Seng.
In the 1970s, Mr Ng entered the Hong
Kong property market. Today, the business there is under the Sino Group,
which includes public-listed Tsim Sha Tsui Properties, Sino Land and Sino
Hotels. Mr Ng was the only Singaporean businessman invited to the historic
signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration by Margaret Thatcher and
Zhao Ziyang in December 1984.
Mr Ng's property empire today comprises
not only property trading (such as developing apartments for sale) but a
sizeable property investment business (comprising completed properties
held for recurring rental income).
For instance, Far East is the largest
owner-operator of serviced residences and corporate housing in Singapore
with 2,400 apartments in its inventory. Far East and Sino have a dozen
hotels here and in Hong Kong with over 4,700 rooms. The flagship is The
Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
Those who knew Mr Ng recall his
industrious streak. 'He was a man who worked extremely hard - day and
night,' says Hong Leong Group executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng.
Back in the 1980s when the two men were
active in the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore (Redas), 'we
used to study the property market together at his office . . . more often
than not, we would find that we were still deep in discussion long after
the official Redas meetings were over and everyone else had left', Mr Kwek
CB Richard Ellis chairman (Asia) Willy
Shee said: 'Mr Ng didn't speak much English but was very sharp and his
mind was on property all the time. Even at functions, he did not engage
much in social talk but always wanted to know more about the property
market and trends. There was never an idle moment for him.'
Another veteran property consultant,
Knight Frank chairman Tan Tiong Cheng, reminisces about his first meeting
with Mr Ng around 1981. 'He was carrying a worn-out black book in which he
was copying notes, doing his calculations,' Mr Tan said.
'He was always focused on property.
Even when he bought into Yeo Hiap Seng, he had in mind the land bank it
offered rather than just the food and beverage business,' he added.
- 2010 February 3
Property industry loses towering
Ng Teng Fong of Far East Organization
group dies, aged 82
Forbes Asia ranked him in September
last year as Singapore's richest person, with a fortune said to be US$8
Property tycoon Ng Teng Fong's passing
yesterday marks the end of an era of larger-than-life property titans.
He was one of the earliest to develop
shopping centres on Orchard Road and until today, his Far East
Organization group here is probably the largest property owner in the
island's prime shopping belt. In Hong Kong, he made inroads into one of
the world's most competitive property markets, battling local tycoons to
establish his Sino Group as one of the biggest developers there.
Market players yesterday recalled the
tenacity and resilience of a man who rose from humble beginnings to build
a property empire over the past five decades, bouncing back from setbacks
along the way, especially the mid-1980s property slump.
Today, Far East Organization and sister
outfit Sino Group have a combined annual turnover of US$5.5 billion and
total assets of over US$40 billion, according to information on Far East's
website. Last September, the Forbes Asia magazine ranked the late Mr Ng as
Singapore's richest person, with a fortune said to be US$8 billion (S$11.3
The 82-year-old suffered a brain
haemorrhage on Jan 23 and underwent an operation before he died peacefully
yesterday morning, a statement from Far East Organization said. He leaves
behind his wife and eight children.
While Mr Ng still kept a keen interest
in his business until recently - including determining prices of property
launches and land bids - he had handed over the running of his business
empire some time ago to his two sons. Elder son Robert is in charge of
Sino Group in Hong Kong and younger son Philip oversees the Far East
Organization group in Singapore.
Philip Ng, who holds degrees in civil
and geotechnical engineering as well as city planning, has over the past
decade or so spruced up the company in Singapore and hired many
professionals. The group has developed many award-winning buildings.
Mr Ng's wake is being held at Ng's
Mansion at 2 Watten Estate, with a nightly service at 8pm. The funeral
will be on Saturday.
Many in property circles yesterday
mourned the loss of Mr Ng, who they said, together with Kwek Hong Png, the
late founder of the Hong Leong Group, was the pioneer of the private
property market in Singapore. Mr Kwek died in 1994. His elder son Leng
Beng yesterday said Mr Ng's passing was 'an immense loss for the industry
and for Singapore'.
'He was a doyen of the property sector.
He was a proven authority with a deep understanding of real estate and an
innate talent of looking at the property market in a different way.'
United Overseas Bank Group chairman Wee
Cho Yaw described Mr Ng as 'an old friend of more than 50 years' who had
'an intuitive flair for reading property cycles'.
CapitaLand Group president and CEO Liew
Mun Leong highlighted Mr Ng's successful entry into Hong Kong, 'a very
mature and competitive market, decades ahead of others in Singapore'.
'Even the largest property companies in
Hong Kong take their hats off to his company in Hong Kong, where it enjoys
a high standing,' Mr Liew added.
Redas president Simon Cheong said no
other foreign player has entered the Hong Kong market like Mr Ng did. He
said Mr Ng's 'master stroke' in Tsim Sha Tsui a few decades ago, mopping
up a whole stretch of properties in the district, 'is still being talked
about among market players today'.
Mr Ng entered the Hong Kong property
market in the 1970s and continued to build his business there in the early
1980s when confidence in Hong Kong was shaken due to disputes on its
future between the British government and China.
Admiring the late Mr Ng's acumen, Redas
CEO Steven Choo said: 'He saw the enormous prospects for real estate in
land-scarce prosperous cities like Singapore and Hong Kong. In Singapore,
one of his most enduring legacies is that he laid down the foundation for
Singapore's modern shopping street - Orchard Road. We can see the Far East
emblem everywhere in Orchard/Scotts roads. Some of his projects were
visionary at the time.'
Dr Choo noted that 'Far East has also
helped establish condominium living in Singapore, through its continued
participation in Government Land Sale tenders'.
- 2010 February 3 BUSINESS
Industry veterans recall his drive and industrious
Wee Cho Yaw, chairman, United
Overseas Bank Group
'Teng Fong was an old friend of more
than 50 years. He had an intuitive flair for reading property cycles. I
have always admired his acute perception of market forces, an acumen that
has made Far East among the most successful property developers in
Singapore and Hong Kong. His sudden passing is a great loss to the
Kwek Leng Beng, executive chairman,
Hong Leong Group Singapore
'I knew Mr Ng for a long time, and had
the privilege of working closely with him especially when we were active
in Redas in the 1980s. I valued his views and benefited from his insights
. . . His passing is indeed an immense loss for the industry and for
Liew Mun Leong, president & CEO
of CapitaLand Group
'Mr Ng was highly respected as a
successful pioneer and veteran in the Singapore real estate industry. We
speak with high regard of how he successfully steered his business through
several major crises over the decades and built an impressive business
'He has been equally successful in his
foray into Hong Kong, a very mature and competitive market, decades ahead
of others in Singapore. Such initiatives place Mr Ng Teng Fong as an
exceptional property veteran whose entrepreneurship far exceeds many of us
in Singapore. Even the largest property companies in Hong Kong take their
hats off to his company in Hong Kong where it enjoys a high standing.'
Simon Cheong, president of Real
Estate Developers' Association of Singapore
'Mr Ng is indeed a property icon in
Singapore . . . We at Redas will indeed miss his presence and guidance.
His scale and timing are legendary. - TRIBUTES
Asia property tycoon Ng Teng Fong dies
Ng Teng Fong, one of Asia's richest tycoons and the founder and chairman
of Singapore's largest unlisted property group, Far East Organization, died
Tuesday aged 82, the developer said.
Far East said in a statement that Mr. Ng had suffered a cerebral
hemorrhage on Jan. 23.
Forbes Asia magazine in 2009 listed Mr. Ng as the richest person in
Singapore, with a net worth of more than US$8 billion.
In 1971, he founded Sino Group, the Hong Kong sister of Far East and the
parent of Sino
Land Co., which is Hong Kong's fifth largest developer by market
capitalization and one of the most aggressive purchasers of land in the
Sino Land runs the landmark Conrad Hong Kong and Royal Pacific Hotel
& Towers hotels in Hong Kong, while Far East runs its flagship Fullerton
Hotel in Singapore. Mr. Ng's son Robert is Sino Land's chairman.
Far East's Web site says that it and Sino Group, when combined, have an
annual turnover of $5.5 billion and total assets of more than $40 billion.
Together, Far East and Sino Group have a portfolio of 12 hotels in Singapore
and Hong Kong, with a total of 4,727 rooms, according to the site.
The property tycoon was born in 1928 in China's Fujian province, which
was the birthplace of many emigrants who later became highly successful
businesspeople in Southeast Asia. After a smallpox outbreak in his village
of Putian when Mr. Ng was six years old, his - which eventually had 11
children — migrated to Singapore.
A profile of Mr. Ng in a 1996 book
entitled "Leaders of Singapore," written by Melanie Chew, said his
first business in the city-state, a provision shop, failed. But he began to
have great success - and got the nickname "Lucky Ng" - from going
into property development. He established his first Singapore housing
project in 1962 and later developed many properties along and near Orchard
Rd., including one named Lucky Plaza.
The book quotes one of Mr. Ng's sons as
saying the father, who always did calculations with an abacus, "is the
eternal optimist and his belief is that hard work, coupled with good luck,
paves the road to success."
Mr. Ng, who lived simply and regularly
worked 18-hour days, was publicity-shy.
Far East Organization was established as
an umbrella for his stable of companies. The group today comprises more than
180 privately held developments and investment companies as well as two
publicly listed companies. The Sino Group in Hong Kong consists of private
holding companies held by the Ng family, Sino Land and two other publicly
Analysts said Mr. Ng's death will have
little or no impact on property developer Sino Group, as Mr. Ng long wasn't
involved in its operations. Far East Organization is run by another son,
Philip. - 2010 February
3 WALL ST JOURNAL
Forbes magazine estimates Far East Organisation's Ng Teng
Fong and family's worth at US$5.5 billion (S$8.4 billion). Mr
Ng, who also owns beverage brand Yeo Hiap Seng, is described by the magazine
as 'Singapore's richest man'. The largest part of his fortune is in Tsim Sha
Tsui Properties, chaired by eldest son, Robert, in Hong Kong. Son Philip
manages family's Singapore business.
Mr Ng, who is married with six children, owns winning
racehorses in his Lucky Stable. Known to be frugal, he has apparently lived
in the same house for more than three decades, said Forbes. -
2009 March 12
tycoon Ng Teng Fong's Far East
Organization was the biggest buyer in the property investment market in
Singapore last year (2006) with about $1.6 billion worth of deals under its
Far East to pay attention to high-end
Influx of overseas players has raised the bar in prices and quality: CEO
Far East Organization will pay more
attention to the high-end property market, which has grown too big to
ignore, says CEO Philip Ng.
'In the past, we concentrated our efforts on the mass market serving
entry-level private home buyers as well as buyers of mid-market condominiums
and landed homes.
'Today, this very wealthy segment of the
market has grown too significant to ignore. We must therefore augment our
organisational machinery, in terms of our product development and sales and
marketing capabilities, to address this,' Mr Ng says in the group's in-house
Mr Ng also stressed that as Singapore
shapes up as a vibrant international city, it is seeing new players from
overseas with 'high standards and deep expertise' and 'flush with cash and
hungry for projects'.
'They have raised the bar in prices and
quality and changed the nature of the game.' Mr Ng observed.
'We need the right frame of mind and
resolve to compete in this new league,' he said, stressing that it was
imperative for the group to lift its level of performance as the 'stakes
have become much higher now, with the heat in the market and soaring
'For if we do not sell at the right
prices, when we go back into the market, we are actually topping up more
equity. We would be doing what is uneconomic, that is, selling low and
buying high,' he said.
At the other pole, income-driven demand
also looks more promising. Mr Ng said that sustained robust economic growth
and a strong job market will translate to rising incomes.
'There will be more purchasing power to
support the domestic segment of the property market - the mass-market,
entry-level, and mid-market condominiums and landed properties which have
remained subdued thus far.
'In the next few years, we expect the
middle market to play catch-up with the international market in terms of
transaction activity with some price upswing,' he said.
Far East sold 869 residential, commercial
and industrial units worth $725 million last year.  But while the
group's business showed improvements across all fronts, 'we were not able to
meet our targets in property sales and in the leasing of our portfolio of
residential, retail and industrial assets'.
Far East, set up by Mr Ng's father,
property magnate Ng Teng Fong, last year bought nine sites costing about
$1.6 billion in Singapore. They will yield in total 3.1 million square feet
of buildable area. This is the largest land bank investment Far East has
made in a single year, exceeding the total of $1.54 billion invested in land
and property acquisitions in the preceding six years from 2000 to 2005.
Besides the nine sites, Far East's Hong Kong-based sister company Sino Land
bought the Collyer Quay site last year for $165.8 million.
- 2007 March 14 THE
Phillip Ng is said to be most interested
to involve internationally acclaimed JAMES K. M. CHENG of Vancouver involved
in some of their future projects.
Elder son ROBERT NG runs
family fortunes in Hong Kong operating as Sino Land and his proven himself
time again that he is able to compete with the Big Boys in Hong
Sino Land pays
HK$1.64b for choice Kowloon site
Price reflects expected 15-20% rise in
Robert Ng's Sino Land yesterday beat six
other developers to secure a West Kowloon site for HK$1.64 billion (S$385
million), a price which analysts say reflects his expectation of a 15 to 20
per cent rise in home prices.
Yesterday's land auction was the first
this financial year, netting the Hong Kong government a total HK$2.97
billion for the four sites sold. That's more than the total land auction
receipts of HK$2.68 billion for the whole of last financial year.
Nicholas Brooke, a property consultant at
Insignia Brooke, said the auction reflects developers' optimism on prices in
urban areas, such as West Kowloon. 'You cannot bid nearly HK$2,000 average
price per square foot for a site unless you expect prices to go up 15-20 per
cent. Clearly, the people bidding expect prices there to grow over the next
18 months to two years.'
Sino Land's winning bid was nearly 40 per
cent above analysts' expec tations and much higher than the tender price of
HK$1.1 billion that Lee Shau Kee's Henderson Land put in for the West
Kowloon lot from the government's Application List.
Bidding for the site was brisk, with
companies such as Ronnie Chan's Hang Lung Development and Henderson vying.
But in the end, Sino Land put in just one bid at HK$1.64 billion to clinch
Analysts say that the price was
'expensive' at HK$1,944 psf for the 10,450 sq m site. Sino Land is well
known for being prepared to pay top dollar and, in particular, it is still
remembered for paying high prices at land auctions before the Asian
But a company spokesman said yesterday
that the price for the West Kowloon lot was 'reasonable'. Sino Land already
has two other developments in that area and is planning a resi dential-cum-commercial
development on its new purchase, he added.
Henderson Land vice-chairman Lam Ko-yin
described yesterday's auction as the 'liveliest in the last four years'.
Developers were confident in bidding because the economy is now steadying,
the government's housing policy is stable and interest rates are low, he
Auctioneer and Assistant Director of
Lands Allan Hay also felt that yesterday's auction reflected confidence in
the market. 'Competition for all the sites was very good. Today's auction
indicates that people still have confidence in investing and building units
because they have confidence that they can sell them on the market, despite
all the comments about surplus supply.'
The second site sold yesterday was a
14,700 sq m plot for private residential development in Kowloon Tong.
Legislator James Tien's Manhattan Garments is believed to be the developer
who beat two others with a HK$570 million bid.
A third 19,300 sq m plot in Shatin went
for HK$660 million to Nan Fung, while the fourth, a 3,720 sq m plot in
Stanley, was sold to Tai Cheung Property for HK$100 million.
Hong Kong's property prices are still 50
per cent off their peaks in 1997, but some analysts say a rebound could
start this year.
Mr Brooke, for one, expects prices in
urban areas to rise 15 per cent within the next two years, while he sees
prices in outlying areas taking another 3-4 years to recover. -
2002 April 16 by Audrey Tan
Sino Land is in negotiations with fund
managers about the possible sale of its 108-unit Sky Horizon luxury project
in North Point, according to executive director Robert Lee Chi-hong.
Mr Lee yesterday said falling interest
rates had prompted many investors to look to the luxury market.
Its Sky Horizon project, with units
ranging in size from 1,300 square feet to 1,400 square feet, received
several offers from foreign funds in Singapore, Australia and the United
States, Mr Lee said.
But he refused to disclose details,
saying the parties were still working out prices.
Sino Land was also considering reserving
one block of the development for long-term investment, he said.
Mr Lee said the firm was preparing to
launch an internal sale on the project.
However, real estate agents said the
developer had sold more than 10 units yesterday at prices from HK$6,800 to
HK$7,800 per square foot. Many buyers were local investors, agents said.
Mr Lee expected a sell-out of the 108
units could realise about HK$1 billion.
He said the property market was on the
road to recovery in light of the low mortgage rates and the improved
home-buying confidence in some of the new developments.
He hoped to draw more investors in future
13 December 2001 South
China Morning Post
first experience ever with the founder and Chairman of Far Eastern
Organization in Singapore, NG TENG FONG was when he
passed through town in the 1980's and roared at me "Do you want this
deal or not?". We had just a few hours to itemise
everything and negotiate a purchase because he was leaving town that
afternoon. From that moment onward, I learned the skills
of How To Deal With Asian Tycoons including responsiveness and
attention to detail
came through Vancouver a second time with his friend FUNG KING-HEY,
the founder of Sun Hung Kai Finance in Hong Kong, who Merrill
Lynch paid $65 million USD in 1982 to get a toe-hold in
Elder son ROBERT NG has grown
family fortunes in Hong Kong operating as Sino
Younger son PHILLIP
NG has taken over operation reigns locally in Singapore, continuing
to be a significant player in the market. -