Eu Yan Sang
Mr Richard Eu describes himself as the “Chief Dreamer” of Eu Yan Sang. Since 1996, this Chief Dreamer’s forward-looking vision has propelled the organisation to a SGX-listed company with a market capitalisation of more than S$300 million.
Eu Yan Sang was set up by Mr Richard Eu’s great-grandfather in 1879. When Mr Richard Eu took the helm as Group CEO in 1996, the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) company had only one outlet in Singapore, five outlets in Malaysia and 2 outlets in Hong Kong. Understanding the market needs, Mr Richard Eu transformed the traditional business by expanding its retail operations, bringing Eu Yan Sang nearer to the people. The brand means “caring for mankind” in Mandarin and is also the mission of the company. Richard finds it most fulfilling when he sees how his business has helped people in improving their health and wellness.
Mr Richard Eu believes that having the passion in what you do and being able to persevere through obstacles are two important traits of a successful entrepreneur. To quote: “Being an entrepreneur is not an end goal itself. It is a journey.” In his journey, Richard often looked for inspirations in other entrepreneurs such as Anita Roddick, founder of Body Shop, when he was expanding his retail business. He adds, “The idea is to absorb all the admirable attributes from these inspirational figures but not lose you along the journey. “
Prior to Eu Yan Sang, Mr Richard Eu had a fair share of experiences in merchant banking, investment management, stock broking and venture capital which helped him in proper financial planning as an entrepreneur. However, his entrepreneur roots started as young as during his undergraduate days, where he engaged in arbitrage of goods in attempt to increase his pocket money since there was not much left for savings. While studying in London, he shared that his parents were fairly strict with him, and he was given just £50 a month as pocket money, just enough for living expenses.
As a successful entrepreneur, Mr Richard Eu shared that being curious, willing to learn and having an open mind are essential traits in both business and life. “We have our own belief and value system but it does not mean that you cannot find out more about what others believe in. You don’t close your mind just because of different belief systems. Instead, find out the reasons behind why people are motivated, just as why they should seek to understand you too.”
Mr Richard Eu was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 (Singapore) and represented Singapore at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of The Year 2012 award in Monte Carlo, Monaco. He was also recognised as the CEO of the year at the Singapore Corporate Awards 2010, for SGX-listed companies with a market capitalisation of under S$300 million.
Today, Eu Yan Sang is a leading integrative health and wellness company with a distribution network of 256 company-operated Eu Yan Sang and Healthy Life retail outlets in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia, as well as 31 franchise outlets under the Healthy Life brand in Australia. It also operates a chain of 33 TCM clinics in Singapore and Malaysia, and 2 integrated medical centres in Hong Kong.