Longevity is seen as an enormous business opportunity, especially in rapidly ageing countries such as Singapore. But few firms have managed to find commercial success.

SINGAPORE (Oct 22): Sprawled across the sandy white beach that offers a breathtaking view of the South China Sea, the luxurious beachfront villas at Montigo Resorts Nongsa on Indonesia’s Batam Island have been described as “paradise on earth”. But the five-star resort — the first on the island just 30 minutes away from Singapore — holds a secret: it was originally planned to be a retirement home for the elderly.

Ong Chih Ching, executive chairman and executive director of KOP, the Singapore Exchange-listed company behind the resort, recounts the first time she broached the idea of building a retirement home on Batam to her mother. “She threatened me that if I was going to put her there, she would disown me,” Ong laughs. “Then I realised that actually, one of the things we fear most is loneliness, and we want community.”

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