Goh Cheng Liang is Singapore’s rags to riches story

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Goh Cheng Liang1
Rare photo of billionaire Goh Cheng Liang

Born into a poor family, living in a one room tenement with his four other siblings, and never going to school, Goh Cheng Liang is one of Singapore’s best-known tycoons. He is known to have built some of Singapore’s most prominent landmarks, such as the Liang Court Shopping mall at Clarke Quay and the prominent Mt. Elizabeth hospital.

Today, he is on the Forbes list of Singapore’s 50 richest at rank 9.

When the British were auctioning off surplus stocks in 1949 during World War II, Goh traded a song for a stockpile of barrels of rotting paint. It was from there that Goh would mix the concoction of chemicals that would later become his own brand: Pigeon.

As soon as he developed his new product, learning the business skills from the hardware store he worked in when he was younger, Goh plunged with a 60-40 holding in a joint venture called the Nipsea Management Group.

In 1955, Goh founded Nippon Paint in Singapore, setting up his first paint shop and becoming the local distributor of Nippon Paint.A decade later, Nippon Paint set up its first paint manufacturing plant in Singapore. Now, the Nippon brand is a household name, selling in 16 countries, with an annual turnover at $2.6 billion.

Over the years, Goh has placed his profits from his paint business into property by building shopping malls, serviced residences, hotels, retail distribution businesses with Japanese partners, logistics, a food manufacturing operation in American and even a mining company in China.

Early this year, Goh made a bid of $751 million for an additional 30 per cent stake in Tokyo-listed parent Nippon. However, he quickly backed down in favour of funding smaller Asian businesses. Though his last interview was in 1997, Goh still makes the news through his philanthropy, endowing scholarship funds, cancer research and education through the Goh Foundation.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Rare photo of billionaire Goh Cheng Liang

Born into a poor family, living in a one room tenement with his four other siblings, and never going to school, Goh Cheng Liang is one of Singapore’s best-known tycoons. He is known to have built some of Singapore’s most prominent landmarks, such as the Liang Court Shopping mall at Clarke Quay and the prominent Mt. Elizabeth hospital.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Goh Cheng Liang1
Rare photo of billionaire Goh Cheng Liang

Born into a poor family, living in a one room tenement with his four other siblings, and never going to school, Goh Cheng Liang is one of Singapore’s best-known tycoons. He is known to have built some of Singapore’s most prominent landmarks, such as the Liang Court Shopping mall at Clarke Quay and the prominent Mt. Elizabeth hospital.

Today, he is on the Forbes list of Singapore’s 50 richest at rank 9.

When the British were auctioning off surplus stocks in 1949 during World War II, Goh traded a song for a stockpile of barrels of rotting paint. It was from there that Goh would mix the concoction of chemicals that would later become his own brand: Pigeon.

As soon as he developed his new product, learning the business skills from the hardware store he worked in when he was younger, Goh plunged with a 60-40 holding in a joint venture called the Nipsea Management Group.

In 1955, Goh founded Nippon Paint in Singapore, setting up his first paint shop and becoming the local distributor of Nippon Paint.A decade later, Nippon Paint set up its first paint manufacturing plant in Singapore. Now, the Nippon brand is a household name, selling in 16 countries, with an annual turnover at $2.6 billion.

Over the years, Goh has placed his profits from his paint business into property by building shopping malls, serviced residences, hotels, retail distribution businesses with Japanese partners, logistics, a food manufacturing operation in American and even a mining company in China.

Early this year, Goh made a bid of $751 million for an additional 30 per cent stake in Tokyo-listed parent Nippon. However, he quickly backed down in favour of funding smaller Asian businesses. Though his last interview was in 1997, Goh still makes the news through his philanthropy, endowing scholarship funds, cancer research and education through the Goh Foundation.

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