Platinum Category

Yue Hwa Chinese Products Pte Ltd

  • Mr. Yu Pang Chun  ·
  • Ms. Ng Lay Pheng, Connie  ·

Making its mark in Singapore

Perhaps every now and then we hear tales of “rags to riches” or the “good Samaritan”. But rare and unexpected is the story of a boss who rewards his loyal and dedicated employee with the “M.D (Managing Director)” position.

The” Yue Hwa” name made its way to the shores of Singapore early in 1996 after some years of planning to take the South East Asian market by storm. The move was first decided by Mr Yu Pang Chun and his brother in 1992 after much consideration on market conditions, business structure and its fundamental strength as a trading port, all attributes he found similar to his motherland, Hong Kong.

Singapore, after all was an uprising cosmopolitan nation, able to bridge the gap between Asian countries and European states alike. Its first move was to secure a good and relevant location that could embody the representation of the Yue Hwa brand. Chinatown was the obvious choice. “We purchased a run-down looking building that was somewhat in need of a face lift!” said Mr Yu. “We could not do much about the exterior due to certain limitations and restrictions so we commissioned an architect to have it internally structured to what we have today.”

The 30,000sq feet building is a six-storey compound in the name of “Yue Hwa Chinese Products” - categorised as a departmental store; and operated by M.D, Ms Connie Ng, who was hired 16 years ago in the HR department.

Why an employee? Some may wonder. Mr Yu explains that it is a simple theory, “Yue Hwa no doubt has its traces all over the world as a family business however, merit is also given to those who have earned it. And Connie is one of them. Her dedication and loyalty is impeccable and reflected in what we have here today!”

53 year long establishment

The company spans across a significant 53 years of history; beginning with a humble shop in 1959. Founder of the successful enterprise is Mr Yu Bik Yau. With its roots in Hong Kong, Yue Hwa Chinese Products has grown sturdily with 19 branches (16 in HK and 3 in Singapore), and two flagship stores (one in each respective countries) in total.

The entrepreneur was previously a general merchandiser living in Indonesia before he returned to China for business. No long after, the retail brand came to light.

Today, Yue Hwa Chinese Products are owned by his two sons who were pioneers in incorporating management techniques and systems in Singapore such as computerised POS and barcode scanning.

“Tell any taxi driver, Chinatown Yue Hwa Building, and they will get you there. This is how prominent our trademark has developed over the years”, enthused Mr Yu.

No victory without struggles

Yue Hwa Chinese Products Pte Ltd has seen its share of hard times. Mr Yu recalled how just one year into business, a bustling Chinatown turned into “ghost town” while construction of the Chinatown MRT took place, this came following the 1997 Asian crisis. “We hit a long dry spell lasting for six years”, Mr Yu shared. He also admitted to doubts of sustaining business operations at various downward turns.

Keeping the faith paid off for the now resounding business that employs about 70 staff locally and expanded to two other outlets in Jurong Point and Bukit Panjang.

Looking forward

Setting sights on three more branches, Yue Hwa Chinese Products hopes to see this expansion take place in next to no time. “It’s a big world and the sky’s the limit! Hopefully we can materialise our vision in globalising our brand, beginning with neighbouring countries; Malaysia and Indonesia.”

“Thinking ahead with the times include factoring risks and hurdles, therefore preparedness for down times is key. But look into the bigger picture with a persevering mind and your goal will not be far in sight.”