From zero to 60 in a life lived on the go

From zero to 60 in a life lived on the go

AT 60, flamboyant businessman, known for his trademark suspenders, Fong Kah Kuen is showing no signs of slowing down.

From son of bullied subcontractor to flamboyant businessman

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    AT 60, flamboyant businessman, known for his trademark suspenders, Fong Kah Kuen is showing no signs of slowing down.

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    Better known as K.K.Fong, the founder and chief executive of locally-listed Xpress Holdings recently announced expansion plans for the printing firm.

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    It plans to reach out to more retail customers in the region via a franchising model under a new "8 -> 8 Biz Butler" brand, on top of serving its existing corporate clients. He expects to rope in 100 franchisees in two years.

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    Once the franchise model takes off, Mr Fong intends to travel more, so that he can impart his business knowledge and expertise to the franchisees rather than sit in an office.

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    Xpress has built up a reputation for itself in being a reliable printer of commercially sensitive information such as IPO prospectuses and financial reports. Most of its operations and clients are based in China and Singapore.

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    In the last few years, the self-professed workaholic, who picks up business-related phone calls late into the night has been spending at least 300 days a year overseas, mostly in China, tending to his printing business.

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    The businessman is no stranger to failure but has a "never say die" attitude.

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    At the age of six, he was exposed to the printing industry as his father was a paper box carton subcontractor.

    "I witnessed first-hand how my father was bullied by the big printing firms which took a huge cut of whatever earnings he made," recalled Mr Fong.

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    He vowed never to walk down that same path, which eventually led him to set up Xpress in 1986.

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    The university drop-out has suffered several business failures and was first declared a bankrupt when he was just 24 years old.

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    Since 2006, he has been absent from the media limelight as he started to focus on acquiring printing businesses in China. It was also that same year that he ditched his habit of wearing suspenders.

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    "I wore three-quarter pants instead because the factory environment in China was very dirty," he said with a laugh.

    "But I'd only wear white pants - which was unheard of since they get dirty easily - to stand out from the rest."

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    The father-of-two also admitted to shedding some weight as his doctor had warned of the potential health risks if he did not.

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    "Last time, I had to wear suspenders to keep my pants up!" he chuckled. He now weighs about 86kg, but has been advised to lose another 10kg.

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    Looking back on the highs and lows of his career, he said he continues to remain confident but his biggest weakness is his soft-hearted nature.

    "I can still remember how I lent a friend $2 million in 1998, no questions asked," he said. "And till today, I never got a cent back from him."

Better known as K.K.Fong, the founder and chief executive of locally-listed Xpress Holdings recently announced expansion plans for the printing firm.

It plans to reach out to more retail customers in the region via a franchising model under a new "8 -> 8 Biz Butler" brand, on top of serving its existing corporate clients. He expects to rope in 100 franchisees in two years.

Once the franchise model takes off, Mr Fong intends to travel more, so that he can impart his business knowledge and expertise to the franchisees rather than sit in an office.

Xpress has built up a reputation for itself in being a reliable printer of commercially sensitive information such as IPO prospectuses and financial reports. Most of its operations and clients are based in China and Singapore.

In the last few years, the self-professed workaholic, who picks up business-related phone calls late into the night has been spending at least 300 days a year overseas, mostly in China, tending to his printing business.

The businessman is no stranger to failure but has a "never say die" attitude.

At the age of six, he was exposed to the printing industry as his father was a paper box carton subcontractor.

"I witnessed first-hand how my father was bullied by the big printing firms which took a huge cut of whatever earnings he made," recalled Mr Fong.

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