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Focused pan-Asian strategy works well for Wing Tai





WING Tai Holdings might be very much a Singaporean property developer, but the company has made a strong push over the last few years to grow its overseas presence.



Its overseas revenue has grown by more than ten-fold over three years from FY2005 to FY2007. Because of this, Wing Tai ranked top in the newly created 'Fastest Growing Internationalising Company' category in the SI 100 ranking. The category ranks companies by the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of their overseas revenue over the past three years.



Wing Tai has steadily increased the proportion of total revenue from its overseas operations. In FY2005, just one per cent of revenue came from abroad. That grew to 7 per cent in FY2006 and 16 per cent in FY2007.



Outside Singapore, Wing Tai is active in the property markets of Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. Apart from residential and investment properties, Wing Tai has also expanded its hospitality business through its branded Lanson Place chain of serviced residences and boutique hotels across Asia. Right now, Malaysia and China are Wing Tai's biggest overseas markets.



Wing Tai's stable also contains two public listed companies in the region - DNP Holdings in Malaysia and USI Holdings in Hong Kong. The two units and their subsidiaries have core businesses in property investment and development, lifestyle retail and hospitality management.



Wing Tai is truly international, even when it comes to the company's origins. Listed in Singapore in 1989, Wing Tai started out in the 1950s as a Hong Kong garment manufacturer. It later expanded into Singapore and Malaysia in the early 1960s and entered the property market in Singapore in 1978.



Nine years later, Wing Tai became a major property player with a niche reputation for delivering premium developments. The company has built up an extensive landbank in Singapore and has developed more than 70 projects in the region.



Apart from its core business in property investment, development and management, Wing Tai's other business interests include hospitality management, apparel retailing and food franchise operations.



Tan Hwee Bin, Wing Tai's chief operating officer, welcomed the award. 'The Wing Tai group has a focused strategy in our pan-Asian investments and overseas expansion; our resolute yet prudent business activities in property investment and development in the region have received strong support from our partners,' said Ms Tan.



In the months ahead, in a trying economic climate, Wing Tai will persevere and continue to leverage on its extensive business networks and deep market knowledge in its overseas markets. Ms Tan said: 'We will continue to be prudent, manage risks, and remain poised for sustainable long-term growth of our company.'



Wing Tai intends to maintain a long-term presence in Malaysia through its listed subsidiary DNP Holdings Bhd. Hong Kong-listed USI Holdings will be used as the flagship vehicle to participate in the Hong Kong property market.



Wing Tai will also develop its China real estate joint-venture to take part in opportunities in the growing China market, the company said.



'While we expect a difficult business environment, we have a strong balance sheet and a focused business plan; we are prepared for the challenges ahead,' Ms Tan said.



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