Lim Hock Chee (Singapore Businessman)

Lim Hock Chee (born 1961) is the chief executive officer and director of supermarket company Sheng Siong Group.[1][2] A pioneer of the grocery retailing industry in Singapore, Lim Hock Chee was conferred the Public Service Medal and the Public Service Star in 2006 and 2014 respectively for his contributions to Singapore’s economy.[3][4]

Lim Hock Chee
Born1961
Spouse(s)Lee Moi Hong


Background

Family

Lim Hock Chee was born in 1961 and is the middle of nine siblings.[5] His two brothers, Lim Hock Eng and Lim Hock Leng, are also involved in Sheng Siong as the executive chairman and managing director respectively.[5][6]


Education

Lim Hock Chee is an alumnus of Chinese High School (now Hwa Chong Institution), where he quit in secondary three due to difficulties in learning English.[5] After quitting his secondary education he did a two-year car mechanics course at Jurong Vocational Institute (now ITE College West) from 1976 to 1978.[7]

Personal life

Lim Hock Chee is married to Lee Moi Hong, with whom he has four children.[5]

Billionaire status

Owing to Sheng Siong’s tremendous profits from the COVID-19 pandemic, the net worth of Lim Hock Chee and his brothers rose by 38% to $1.1 billion dollars as reported by The Straits Times in April 2020.[8] As recorded in Sheng Siong Group’s financial report for the year of 2019, Lim Hock Chee earned over $3.5 million dollars as the CEO and director of the company.[9]

Sheng Siong (1985 to current)

As of February 2021, Lim Hock Chee is the chief executive officer (CEO) and director of supermarket company Sheng Siong, which he started with his two brothers in 1985.[6] In 2020, Lim Hock Chee and his brothers were featured on Forbes as one of Singapore’s 50 richest people, being worth an estimated $1.2 billion dollars as of August 2020.[10]

Beginnings

Initially helping out with his father’s pig farming business, Lim Hock Chee and his wife were stall owners selling pork from his father’s pig farm at the now defunct Savewell Supermarket in Ang Mo Kio.[8] When Savewell Supermarket ceased operations in 1985, Lim Hock Chee’s father used his savings to purchase the area Savewell Supermarket occupied, turning it into the first Sheng Siong outlet which still exists today.[5]

Business expansion

As of February 2021, Sheng Siong currently has 63 operational outlets in Singapore and two stores in China.[11][6] The Sheng Siong Group’s expansion into China began in November 2017, when the company opened its first store in Kunming, Yunnan province.[12][6] Its second Kunming store opened in June 2019.[9]

Adapting to COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it was reported that Sheng Siong made a net profit of over 54% in the third quarter of the year due to increased demands of groceries from consumers who were working and spending more time at home.[13] The company also opened two new stores in Singapore during the fourth quarter of 2020, and Lim Hock Chee was quoted as having said the following:

“Moving ahead, we remain dedicated to our store expansion plans by continuously looking for suitable retail space, particularly in areas where our customers reside but we do not have a presence.”[13]

Future plans

Lim Hock Chee has stated that his vision for the Sheng Siong Group would be to expand its presence in Singapore into newer estates such as Bidadari and Tengah, and also worldwide.[14][15] Lim Hock Chee was quoted as having said the following about Sheng Siong’s expansion plans:

“Taking the Sheng Siong brand overseas gave younger staff the opportunity to expand their horizons and to develop the brand further. Our vision is not confined to the Singapore market. We want to expand Sheng Siong globally.”[15]

Board appointments

Due to his success as a businessman, Lim Hock Chee has been appointed to several roles in various organisations and companies over the years. The following is a non-exhaustive list of his board appointments.

Year Organisation Role References
2010 - current Sheng Siong Supermarket Pte Ltd Chief executive officer [1]
  • current
Director [2]
2010 - current Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Council member [16]
2017 - 2019 Monetary Authority of Singapore Council member; Payments Council [1][17]
  • current
National Crime Prevention Council Council patron [18]

Awards

For his contributions to Singapore’s economy, Lim Hock Chee was conferred the Public Service Medal by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2006.[4][3] In August 2014, he was conferred the Public Service Star.[4][3]

Singapore Business Awards (March 2019)

For his achievements in the grocery retailing industry and growing Sheng Siong to being Singapore’s third largest supermarket chain, Lim Hock Chee was named the 2018 Businessman of the Year at the Singapore Business Awards.[19][20] In a 2019 interview with Sumiko Tan of The Straits Times, he was quoted as having said the following about his achievement:

“We were happy but a little frightened at the same time. Happy because it acknowledges what we have done in the past, but frightened because we will have to think about how we can sustain it in the future."[5]

Newsworthy incidents

Sheng Siong kidnapping (January 2014)

In January 2014, Lim Hock Chee’s mother, Madam Ng Lye Poh, was abducted by 44-year-old Lee Sze Yong in a highly publicised kidnapping case.[21] The kidnapping lasted for 12 hours where Lee Sze Yong also forced Lim Hock Chee to pay a ransom for $20 million, which was later renegotiated to $2 million.[21]

Lee and his accomplice Heng Chen Boon were caught by the police shortly after the incident and the ransom sum was recovered.[21] In May 2015, Heng Chen Boon was sentenced to three years’ jail.[22] In December 2016, Lee Sze Yong was sentenced to life imprisonment and three strokes of the cane for his kidnapping of Madam Ng Lye Poh.[21]

Citations / References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lim Hock Chee”. Sheng Siong. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Annual Report 2018”. Sheng Siong. n.d. Accessed 4 February, 2021.  
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Halimah Yacob appointment of Sheng Siong’s CEO as key campaign member does not help ease concerns of her independence”. The Independent News. September 2, 2017. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Recipients”. Prime Minister’s Office. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Tan, Sumiko. “Lunch With Sumiko: Sheng Siong boss Lim Hock Chee walks the talk”. The Straits Times. May 5, 2019. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 About”. Sheng Siong. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  7. SBA 2019 Winner Final BOY Lim Hock Chee”. Singapore Press Holdings. n.d. Accessed 8 February, 2021.
  8. 8.0 8.1 From pig farmer's sons to supermarket empire bosses: Sheng Siong owners become billionaires amid Covid-19 pandemic”. The Straits Times. April 16, 2020. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Annual Report 2019”. Sheng Siong. n.d. Accessed 4 February, 2021.
  10. #31 Lim Hock Chee & family”. Forbes. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  11. Store Locator”. Sheng Siong. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  12. Tay, Peck Gek. “Big dreams for the long road”. The Business Times. March 29, 2019. Accessed 4 February, 2021.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Poh, Olivia. “Sheng Siong's Q3 net profit up 54.4% on Covid-19 demand”. The Business Times. October 29, 2020. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  14. SBA 2019 Winner Final BOY Lim Hock Chee”. Singapore Press Holdings. n.d. Accessed 4 February, 2021.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Straits Times. “Sheng Siong boss Lim Hock Chee walks the talk | Lunch With Sumiko”. YouTube. May 7, 2019. Accessed 4 February, 2021.
  16. SCCCI’s 60th Council”. Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  17. Lim Hock Chee: Banking On The Human Touch”. BiZQ. June 7, 2019. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  18. "The Council”. National Crime Prevention Council. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  19. Sheng Siong CEO lauded for growing company”. The Straits Times. March 29, 2019. Accessed 3 February, 2021.
  20. Winners (2018)”. Singapore Business Awards. n.d. Accessed 3 February, 2020.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Lum, Selina. “Sheng Siong kidnapping trial: Elderly victim was led to car and later blindfolded”. The Straits Times. September 2, 2016. Accessed 4 February, 2021.
  22. Hussain, Amir. “3 years' jail for man involved in Sheng Siong kidnapping case”. The Straits Times. May 11, 2015. Accessed 4 February, 2021.