Kwek Hong Png’s journey as a towkay was one taken by many immigrants to Singapore before the Second World War: In the 1920s, he came to Singapore from China’s Fujian province. After working as a store hand at a hardware shop for 20 years, Kwek set up Hong Leong Company in 1941. Kwek’s goal with Hong Leong, which means “good harvest” in Mandarin, was simple: To serve the community by providing general services for ropes, ships and paints as well as supplied for rubber estates — all out of a small shop house at Beach Road.

Today, nearly eight decades on, Hong Leong Group has outgrown Kwek’s vision, becoming a multi-billion-dollar business. One of Asia’s largest and most successful conglomerates, it remains of service to the community through its multiple businesses. These include City Development (CDL) which develops residential and commercial properties; the Millennium & Copthorne hotel chain that operates 150 hotels across 80 locations; and its financial services arm Hong Leong Finance which offers fixed deposits and savings, mortgages, home and car loans, and share financing to consumers as well as SMEs. Also under the group is Hong Leong Asia, its trade and industry arm which provides industrial solutions to companies in Singapore, Malaysia and China. 

Today, Hong Leong Group is led by second-generation leader Leng Beng, who is Kwek’s eldest son. One of Leng Beng’s initial roles in the company was as general manager and director of Hong Leong Finance, which he took on in 1967. He subsequently undertook bigger responsibilities such as transforming the then loss-making CDL into a global real estate company with a presence across 106 locations. He is also the man behind the group’s venture into China’s manufacturing and distribution industries.

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