SINGAPORE - Some of Singapore's brands and products have made waves overseas yet little is known about them on the home front. To change this, the National Heritage Board will be launching an exhibition in September next year featuring 50 Made-In-Singapore products.
How well do you know our local brands and products?
Here are some fun facts about the history of the made-in-Singapore products.
Three Legs Cooling Water
Concocted in the late 1930s by the Wen Ken Group, the drink was targeted at coolies suffering from "heatiness" after labouring in the tropical heat. It was cheaper than visiting a Chinese physician. Last year, 250 million bottles and cans were sold worldwide.
Heng Long tannery
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton bought a majority stake in Heng Long tannery in 2011. The family-run business is one of the three largest exotic skin tanneries in the world and has been supplying fashion houses in Europe from their Defu Lane factory for decades. The tannery can trace its roots to 1947 when founder Koh Long Cheok and his fisherman father sold watch straps, belts and souvenirs to British forces from their tannery in Tampines Road.
Chop Wah On
The company was set up in 1916 in Pagoda Street. Its products include crocodile oil for skin-related ailments.
UIC Consumer Products
Established here in 1964, UIC Consumer Products is known for its powdered laundry detergent and infectious jingle, as well as UIC Big Value, Spin and Sofsil, a fabric softener. The Singaporean company is also big on producing environmentally friendly products.
Axe brand universal oil is produced by Singaporean business Leung Kai Fook. The company can trace its roots to 1927 when its founder Mr Leung Yun Chee, came to Singapore from Shunde, China to work for a German pharmaceutical company. At the German company, he was given the formula for the medicated oil by a German physician. Later, he set up his own business which continues to be run by his sons and grandchildren today.
In 1962, Swiss commodities trader Werner Ernst Huber opened Singapore's first coffee-roasting factory in Jurong to produce gourmet coffee tailored to the taste of the expatriate community. His son Christian took over the business, Boncafe International, in 2008. The founder died in 2011.
The first few black and white sets rolled off Setron's factory lines at Leng Kee Road in May 1965. The company was established by a group of local businessmen with capital of $320,000 and it was the first company in Singapore to produce television sets.
Tiger Brand Soya Sauce
Made by Chuen Cheong Food Industries, it is one of the oldest brands of soya sauce in the region. Set up in 1930 by Chia Hou who came from Guangdong, China, the business is managed by the fourth generation of the Chia family today.
To stay competitive against Japanese camera manufacturers, the company shifted its production to Singapore in 1971 where it invested $149 million over a period of 10 years. In 1981, Rollei's parent company went bankrupt and 4,000 workers were retrenched. The cameras produced here were engraved with the words Made by Rollei Singapore.
Set up in 1947 after World War II, two brothers Chew Choo Keng and Chew Choo Han used war-damaged biscuit-making machines to start their first biscuit production line. Today, its products can be found on supermarket shelves worldwide. Here, Khong Guan is popular for its lemon puff and sultana biscuits.
This article was published on Apr 30 in The Straits Times Online.
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