"Look at our national athletes. Tennis, table-tennis players. How did they become what they are today? It's through diligence, practice, isn't it? You can't succeed without these traits. A successful entrepreneur must have perseverance."

Lim Hock Chee

Sheng Siong

Did you know that Sheng Siong means ‘rising’ and ‘vegetables’ in Chinese? Or that it was actually founded by the Lim brothers in 1985? With 33 outlets throughout Singapore, Sheng Siong is the third largest supermarket chain in the city. It sells a wide variety of things, from groceries to electronics. Sheng Siong even has its own variety television game show popularly known as ‘The Sheng Siong Show’. It is broadcasted live on TV every Saturday night. As of April 2015, Sheng Siong Group Ltd’s market capitalization has exceeded S$1.2 billion.

Before venturing into the supermarket business, Mr. Lim Hock Eng, Mr. Lim Hock Chee and Mr. Lim Hock Leng were helping out at their father’s pig farm in Punggol. Mr Lim Hock Chee, who is now the Executive Chairman of Sheng Siong, was studying to become a car mechanic. However, as his father’s farm was facing an over-supply situation, Mr. Lim and his wife decided to rent a stall to sell chilled pork instead. As luck would have it, their stall owner ran into financial difficulties and had to sell many of his stalls. Taking into account of the government’s plans to phase out pig farms in the near future, the Lim brothers took the leap of faith and ventured into the retail business industry by buying over all of these stalls. This was made possible with their father’s seed capital. Thus, they started the very first Sheng Siong outlet.

In 1988, Sheng Siong opened their second store. Another followed soon after in Woodlands. Sheng Siong had a simple strategy – to purchase in bulk, keep their prices low and to open stores in areas with fewer competition that offered lower rental costs. Their down-to-earth business strategy had allowed them to thrive even in tough times. During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis (AFC), the number of retail businesses plummeted. But Sheng Siong jumped at the opportunity to open more stores. During the SARS outbreak, Mr Lim had foreseen that more families would choose to eat at home and stocked up on his food supplies. Sheng Siong’s strategy allowed it to sail through the tough times.

Despite Sheng Siong’s huge success, Mr. Lim remains humble and strongly believes in setting a good example. At Sheng Siong he gets to the ground to weld trolleys and fix power outages personally. Sheng Shiong has also made various contributions to the society. In recognition of Sheng Siong’s efforts in contributing and reaching out to the community they were awarded the Merit Award from the People’s Association Community Spirits Award. Sheng Shiong is also the main benefactor for the Singapore Red Cross Society’s Project R.I.C.E from 2009 to 2014.

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