Our humble beginnings
On 9 August 1963, The Wing Tai Garment Manufactory (Singapore) Limited was established to meet growing industry demand. They quickly gained a reputation for excellence, and were awarded fiscal incentives through the Pioneer Status Scheme from 1963 to 1968 by the Singapore Government. It was the first factory to produce jeans in Singapore, employing about 200 workers then. The opening of the factory at Little Road was officiated on 18 September 1963 by the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, Singapore’s Finance Minister.
Working with our workers
On their own initiative, Wing Tai invited the Union to organise their workers in 1965. Since then, they have progressively developed sound and good industrial relations with the Union.
Our second factory
From Little Road, Wing Tai moved their factory to a larger space at 105 Tampines Road to expand their operations.
Dragon & Phoenix Manufactory Sendirian Berhad (DNP) established in Malaysia
To meet escalating worldwide demand, Wing Tai set up another garment manufacturing subsidiary, DNP, in Malaysia. DNP became a successful garment manufacturer and exported high quality products to developed countries around the world.
Third factory built includes staff dormitory and canteen
Their new 10-storey factory complex at 107 Tampines Road had a floor area of approximately 19,000 square metres. There was also a five-storey in-house staff dormitory of approximately 1,750 square meters to provide housing for workers.
Wing Tai enters the Singapore property market
Tapping into the potential of the Singapore property market, Wing Tai moved strategically into the real estate business by developing their first residential development, which catered to a growing middle-income population seeking high quality accommodation.
DNP listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, Bursa Malaysia Securities
Dragon & Phoenix Manufactory Sendirian Berhad (DNP) went public and was renamed Dragon & Phoenix Berhad in 1979. It offered 5,394,000 new shares for subscription, at an issue price of RM1.00 per share.
Introducing in-house staff training facilities
Wing Tai was the first private company to secure government funding to set up an in-house textile and garment industry training centre. The initiative was supported by TGMAS (Textile and Garment Manufacturing Association of Singapore) and funded by SDF (Skills Development Fund).
A staunch supporter of the NTUC BEST programme, Wing Tai was the first to start the in-plant BEST programme. Employees were taught English and Mathematics, with teachers brought in to conduct over 30 courses for different levels. They were also given training for advanced technical and supervisory skills.
First in-house childcare centre set up on factory premises
Wing Tai was among the first in Singapore from the private sector to offer full in-house childcare facilities. To support the needs of their predominantly female workforce, a 10,000 square feet in-house childcare centre for workers’ children aged two months to six years was set up. The company chartered buses to provide free transport to and from neighbouring kindergartens and schools for their employees’ children aged four to six years old. Total enrolment stood at 96 children in 1990.
Joint venture for G2000 with Great Malaysia Textile Manufacturing Co. Private Ltd
A joint venture was formed in 1984 to retail clothes designed and manufactured in Hong Kong by Generation 2000.
Wing Tai Apparel incorporated for retail
Wing Tai initiated operations to retail ready-made garments in Singapore, including Stock Mart (a budget apparel chain) and Domani (an upper medium-priced men’s fashion wear). In 1989, they began garment retail operations in Malaysia with Stock Mart and G2000 stores.
Fourth factory built in Singapore
A new nine-storey building was built at 105 Tampines Road, with a floor area of approximately 9,500 square metres.
From the 1970s to 1980s, Wing Tai was one of the largest garment manufacturers in Asia. From a modest single factory operation in 1963, they expanded their garment manufacturing business to six factories in Singapore. These factories covered a total production area of 30,000 square metres and produced five million pieces of jeans, skirts, jackets and winter clothing annually. The factories also produced woven labels and sewing threads.
In Malaysia, manufacturing activities were carried out in nine factories in Balik Pulau, Penang; Johor Bahru, Johor; Parit Buntar, Ipoh and Kuala Kangsar in Perak; Kangar, Perlis; Kota Bahru, Kelantan. These factories covered a total production area of 65,000 square metres and produced 12 million pieces of garments including jeans, skirts, shorts, jackets, blouses, shirts and knitted sweaters. They employed over 3,000 workers in Singapore and over 10,000 workers in Malaysia.
By 1989, there were 20 factories in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Tunisia, China, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Wing Tai’s garment products were sold to more than 13 markets, including the US, Europe and Hong Kong.
Stepping up on property transactions in Singapore and Malaysia
Having weathered the 1985 global recession, Wing Tai began to build up their second core business in the property sector. They also increased their landbank in Singapore and Malaysia for investment and development. This placed them in a favourable position to ride the upswing in the market, which began in 1988. Investment properties were added to their portfolio. Their first commercial project, Winsland House I, a 10-storey Grade A office block in Orchard Road, was completed in 1991.
Wing Tai Holdings Limited gets listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange
The organization became the first local garment company to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange on 21 February 1989 as Wing Tai Holdings Limited. 40,000,000 new shares of $0.25 each were offered for subscription, at an issue price of S$1.25 per share.
United Success International Limited (USI Holdings) listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
USI was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in November 1991. Wing Tai offered 455, 500,123 shares for subscription at an issue price of HK$0.50 per share.
Property ventures expanded to Ningbo and Suzhou, China
With business opportunities arising from the opening up of China, Wing Tai entered into two government-backed consortia with major investment plans for the China market. China-Singapore International was formed with three other partners (Straits Steamship Land Ltd, Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd and World-Wide Investment (Bermuda) Company Limited). Together, they developed an 18-storey office and retail complex in Ningbo in March.
In May, Wing Tai entered into an agreement with 18 other shareholders of a joint venture company, Singapore-Suzhou Township Development (Pte) Ltd to develop Suzhou Industrial Township in China (8.02 hectares of land).
Foray into the hospitality and lifestyle business
Cheung Wai Keung became chairman of the company in 1995, and began their foray into the hospitality and lifestyle business.
Wing Tai Asia enters the Hong Kong property market
Together with United Success International Limited (USI), Wing Tai Asia led a consortium of Singapore and Hong Kong partners to secure a bid for The Waterfront as a development of the Airport Railway Kowloon Station Development. They acquired a 27.65 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed Winsor Properties Holdings Limited, allowing Wing Tai Asia to expand their role as a new and competent property player in Hong Kong.
Garment manufacturing ceases production in Singapore
Wing Tai Asia’s garment manufacturing arm in Singapore ceased production in August, after 33 years of operations. The company’s manufacturing activities continued through Dragon & Phoenix Berhad (DNP) and United Success International Limited (USI) in countries with lower manufacturing costs. An innovative retrenchment scheme was implemented, where workers were relocated to operations in DNP or were absorbed and retrained for new roles in administrative or retail operations. Factory and sewing employees were given language, grooming and sales training to prepare them for the transition into their new roles in Wing Tai Asia’s retail business.
New corporate logo
With property and retail forming the core business of our company, Wing Tai Asia unveiled their new corporate logo in August 1996 to support the profile of their corporate identity as well as strengthen regional presence (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China), focusing their group’s business under a Wing Tai Asia collective. By incorporating the Tembusu tree as their corporate symbol, Wing Tai Asia demonstrated how they had their sights set on steady and confident growth.
Hospitality business launched
Wing Tai Asia launched their hospitality business with Lanson Place Winsland House in Singapore and Ambassador Row, Kondominium No.8 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they also launched Bukit Ceylon Serviced Residences in 2013.
They further expanded into Hong Kong with the boutique Lanson Place Hotel (2006) and China, with Lanson Place Jinlin Tiandi in Shanghai (2005) and Lanson Place Central Park in Beijing (2008).
Strategic investment partnerships
Wing Tai Asia established a S$300 million real estate fund with AIG in March 2000 to develop two prime properties for sale in Singapore.
Relocating our corporate HQ
Winsland House I at 3 Killiney Road, Singapore, became Wing Tai Asia’s new corporate headquarters on 10 August 2007.
In 2007, they led a real estate consortium comprising SEB Immobilien-Investment, Forum Partners and Eilam Group, to identify business opportunities worth US$1 billion in China.
With a joint venture with Fast Retailing Co. Ltd in April 2008, Wing Tai Asia was able to translate its relationship from manufacturing to retail to form a new business initiative to facilitate the entry of leading casual wear brand Uniqlo into the Singapore market. From 2008 to 2013, twelve Uniqlo outlets were opened in Singapore. This business was expanded to Malaysia in June 2010. As of June 2013, ten Uniqlo outlets have been opened in Malaysia.
Rebranding of associated and subsidiary companies
United Success International Limited (USI Holdings) in Hong Kong was renamed Wing Tai Properties Limited (25 June) while DNP Holdings Berhad in Malaysia was renamed Wing Tai Malaysia Berhad (12 November).
Celebrating 50 years of growth
Wing Tai Asia’s total assets exceeded S$4.5 billion. From 2008 to 2012, revenue averaged S$605 million, with profits attributable to shareholders at S$193 million and shareholders’ equity exceeding S$2.1 billion, as of 30 June 2012. Wing Tai Asia has developed over 113 properties in Asia, managed 18 international fashion brands in Singapore and 12 in Malaysia. With over 240 retail stores in Singapore and Malaysia, their retail presence exceeds 670,000 square feet. On 9 August, the organization celebrated their 50th anniversary in Singapore.