How Late Billionaire Ng Teng Fong Built Over 750 Properties In S’pore

Singaporeans would be familiar with iconic sites like the Fullerton Hotel and Orchard Road. However, it may not be known that these landmarks were built by one company: the Far East Organization.

Far East Organization is Singapore’s largest private real estate developer.

Since its founding by the late billionaire Ng Teng Fong in 1960, it has developed more than 750 properties in Singapore. It also has two publicly traded subsidiaries, Far East Orchard Limited and Yeo Hiap Seng Limited.

The Patriarch of the Far East Organization passed away in 2010, and the organization is now headed by the “Far East Brothers” Robert and Philip Ng.

The Hong Kong Far East branch, Sino Group, is overseen by his older brother Robert and son Daryl, while Philip oversees Singapore interests.

According to Forbes, the two brothers are the fifth richest in Singapore, with a net worth of US $ 13.2 billion.

Humble beginnings

Far Eastern Orchard Road organization
The Orchard Mall Development Site / Image Credit: Far East Organization

Like many first-generation Singaporeans, Ng Teng Fong came to the island from China in the 1930s when he was just six years old.

In Singapore, the NSGs set up a soy sauce factory and a grocery store
store specializing in dried products and specialties from their native village.

But young Ng’s dreams weren’t limited to his family’s store. He began to pursue his real estate development ambitions in his twenties, starting with real estate houses.

By 1962, Ng had completed one of his first major projects – 72 units of terraced houses in Jalan Pacheli.

The 1960s ushered in the growth of the Far East, with new projects started across the island.

In the 1970s, the group moved into developing apartment buildings, which were then called “bungalows in the sky”.

After building a name for the Far East Organization through its residential estates, Ng set his sights on Orchard Road, initiating the creation of Singapore’s famous shopping belt.

Building Singapore’s shopping belt

Far Eastern Orchard Road organization
Image Credit: Nomads Alive

Orchard Road is now well known as Singapore’s most famous shopping district. However, it was not always as we know it today.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Orchard Road was a street lined with shops, and Singaporeans much preferred to shop in areas like North Bridge Road.

The late Ng foresaw the need for Singapore to have a busy shopping street and quickly moved to change the facade of Orchard Road.

It started with Far East Shopping Center in 1974. Over the years, more and more shopping centers have appeared steadily – from Lucky Plaza in 1978 to Far East Plaza in 1983.

To date, Far East Organization has developed nine sites on Orchard Road into major shopping malls, the most recent being Orchard Central.

Over the past 50 years, the company has also held stakes in other significant buildings in Orchard Road, including the Hilton Hotel.

Since then, generations of Singaporeans have grown up visiting these malls along Orchard Road, and they have become an important part of the city’s rapid growth.

For his contributions and efforts in transforming the famous shopping belt, Ng has been hailed as the “King of Orchard Road”.

Reinventing a 60-year-old company

cyan condominium
Cyan Co-Ownership / Image Credit: Far Eastern Organization

According to Far East Organization, she has completed more than 750 development projects over the past 60 years.

Despite its success, it “constantly strives to innovate in the real estate sector”, investing in “the reinvention of lifestyles, creating new desires and aspirations”.

The real estate giant also has no plans to stop venturing into new developments.

Built in 2007, Novena Medical Center marks the organization’s first foray into healthcare services as part of Singapore’s first public-private sector collaboration in the industry.

Its extensive portfolio covers all kinds of properties, from condominiums and hotels, to malls and even medical suites.

With its enormous size and roots in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, the company is likely to continue its growth trajectory over the next five decades and more.

Featured Image Credit: Top Leader, Far East Organization

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Jothi Venkat

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