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How Far East Organization help shape Singapore’s urban landscape

Interview - November 8, 2018

The Worldfolio talks to Augustine Tan, Executive Director of Far East Organization, the largest private property developer in Singapore, about the company’s contribution and its place in society as a Christian organization.



You are the largest private property developer in Singapore, and together with your sister company in Hong Kong, you are one of the largest real estate groups in the region. How would you sum up the company’s history?

Far East Organization was established in 1960 by our founder, Mr. Ng Teng Fong. His family was in the grocery and soy sauce business. Mr. Ng broke tradition and forged his own path to set up a real estate development company.

Under his entrepreneurial leadership, Far East Organization has built over 780 developments in Singapore across a diverse portfolio that spans from residential, office, industrial, retail and medical center to hospitality and F&B. One in six or 55,000 private homes in Singapore are built by the Organization. Far East Organization also played a pivotal role in changing the face of Orchard Road in the 1970s and 80s. Today, the Organization has built about 10 malls on Orchard Road.


How important is the impact of Far East Organization on the development of Singapore, both in nation building days and today?

Over the years, we have introduced different home concepts to the market so as to bring value and a whole new lifestyle experience to our customers.  For instance, our Far East SOHO brand was launched in 2011 to champion an urban lifestyle that celebrates personal style and individual creativity.  All our Far East SOHO developments offer a voluminous, creative canvas of space with floor-to-ceiling heights of at least 3.4 metres in strategic locales with excellent connectivity to the key hubs of Singapore.

We also initiated a luxury collection of properties under the ‘Inessence’ line of product. These properties seek to redefine luxury with bespoke spaces. This means tailoring homes to buyer’s requirements.

Another concept which we presented is developments that feature a mix of home options to create an ‘integrated residential community.’ With condominium apartments, three-storey townhouses and studio apartments all within one development, it enables different demographics to live within the same community and yet still have their own personal living space.

Far East Organization has also helped shaped Singapore's retail scene during the early days in the 1970s and 80s. Of course, Singapore’s well-known shopping district, Orchard Road, has since gone through a few phases. Retail malls have also moved into our suburbs, and Far East Organization too has contributed to the suburban retail scene. Now, residents don't need to step out of their homes in the suburb to come to Orchard Road to shop.

To enhance the healthcare sector and contribute to the development of the Novena area in the city fringe into a healthcare destination, we dovetail with government initiatives to build purpose-built medical centers, hotel and mall to support the needs of international and local medical visitors.


What are the key qualities of Far East Organization that have allowed you to be a long-term player here in the country?

Far East Organization is a family business, a private company.  And as stewards for the future generation, we plan long-term, to build a garden of enterprise that endures through generations.

The Organization’s vision is to inspire better lives by doing good business and doing good in business.  This is supported by our brand attributes of trustworthiness, customer-centricity and innovativeness. We are led by the belief that the places in which we live, work and play help nurture progress and success.  So, we are committed to constantly innovating and creating effective spaces that will improve the lives of customers and users of our properties.

The organizational culture of innovation is a focus on customers. It motivates us to deliver value through new development concepts and ideas, coupled with an understanding of customers’ evolving needs and aspirations for functional and inspiring spaces.  By being attuned to these changes, the company has pioneered several innovative concepts, and by fulfilling the value promise, we build trust with our customers.


You mentioned some of your existing and upcoming projects and how you have incorporated innovation in new trends. Can you highlight some of these projects?

At Far East Organization, we constantly seek to rethink the needs of customers and translate their aspirations into the design of living spaces to reflect changing lifestyles and create real estate value in the process.

Our recently completed Oasia Hotel Downtown features an innovative facade with a living green skin of plants, and lush green spaces on multiple floors.  This not only provides an appealing physical environment and soothing ambience for our guests to work and stay in, but also restores the diverse ecology to urban areas and mitigates some environmental issues.  The building has an overall green replacement of over 10 times the site area.

We are currently developing a residential development, Parksuites, which is located at a prime area. At this development, two of the smart features that we will be introducing are: a smart parcel lock system for every unit and a smart visitor access system.  The smart parcel lock system allows residents to unlock their parcel cabinet remotely for the deliveryman to place the items inside.  And in place of security personnel manning the entry into the development, the smart visitor access system enables residents to provide visitors a QR code to enter the car park and access common areas.