Mdm Lee Ang Cho (the mother of current CEO Mr Chan Tiong Cheng) imported American Ginseng products from Canada.
Mr Chan Tiong Cheng expanded the company with three other partners in Kampong Kranji, Singapore. They moved into the wholesale business, distributing American ginseng from Canada.
As the business grew, they saw a market for traditional Chinese health food and set up Hockhua Ginseng Birdnest Trading Enterprise. The company’s first retail outlet was opened in Hougang, a public housing estate in Singapore. They began to import quality bird’s nest too.
The first outlet was very popular and it led to the opening of several more in Singapore over the next few years. To meet demand, the company began selling traditional Chinese herbs, medicines and other health food as well. By 1992, Hockhua was already a comprehensive traditional health food chain. The turnover increased from $2 million in 1990 to $6 million in 1993.
1996 – 1999
With the expansion of the retail chain, the company’s management decided to venture into direct import and set up SHW Trading Enterprise in 1996. This allowed the company to cut operation costs, keep retail prices low and achieve greater quality control.
Hockhua Holdings was established with six companies under its wing – H.W Ginseng, H.W Birdnest, H.W Herbs, H.W Traditional Medicine, H.W Agri-food and H.W Seafood. Each specialises in the development of one product category and included farming, import, processing, management and raising of quality standards. By then, Hockhua was running 30 retail shops and had opened its first Oriental Herbal Tea store.
Hockhua Holdings moved its headquarters to the Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park in Singapore and centralised all administration and operations there for higher productivity and professionalism.
The company underwent a restructuring and Hockhua Ginseng Birdnest Trading Enterprise was renamed Hockhua Tonic Pte Ltd to reflect the scope of its business more accurately.
The company set up two manufacturing and packaging facilities in Singapore to produce over 20 patented TCM products in capsule and powder forms and a range of bird’s nest products.
The company expanded to Malaysia and opened its first two retail outlets in Kuala Lumpur.
After 22 years of continuous strive for excellence, the company achieved a turnover of $70 million in 2008. It owned six major import and distribution firms and was operating three food and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in Singapore with a total floor area of 13,000sqm.
During its 20 years of development, Hockhua’s annual turnover hits $83 million in 2009. The joyous occasion was marked by the achievement of the “Superbrands” award. The company’s network expanded to 46 retail shops and 15 herbal tea stores in Singapore 7 outlets in Malaysia.
The company set up its second manufacturing facility in Singapore which obtained the HACCP certificate and focused more on the direct manufacturing and packaging industry, especially for fruit juice beverage.
The company achieved a total turnover of $105 million that year, and expanded its network to 48 retail shops in Singapore and another 9 in Malaysia. It also concentrated on improving employees’ skills related to products and services.
This was the fourth consecutive year the company achieved the “Superbrands” award, and the third year it obtained the AVA (Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore” Food Safety Excellence Award. For the first time, it also won the Top 100 Singapore Excellence Award. The company achieved a total turnover of $110 million this year.
2013 – 2014
The Company increased the number of outlets to 63 in Singapore and 15 in Malaysia. The member programme was enhanced to enable members to accumulate points and redeem gifts from any Hockhua Tonic outlet across the border. The online store was also launched in Singapore to provide a greater shopping experience and convenience for customers.
To facilitate the growth of outlets in West Malaysia, a factory and warehouse were setup in Malacca. The factory centralised the operations of product storage, processing and distributing to Hockhua outlets located in various states. This move helped to enhance quality assurance of the products, and strengthened the efficiency of source management.
This is the year Hockhua made its foray into the China market and opened its first retail outlet In Fuzhou the provincial capital of Fujian.
One of its subsidiaries, H.W Birdnest was accredited with ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System Certification by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). With food safety practices in line with global standards, customers are assured of the quality of products, bringing an increase in trust from them. The company ventured into health food manufacturing with a factory in Malaysia which manufactures multigrain health food products and was well received in both Singapore and Malaysia.
Hockhua launched a dried bird’s nest processing factory in Indonesia, this is to sustain a stable supplies of a high quality dried bird’s nest to our customer. This year, H.W Birdnest received its Food Safety Excellence Silver Award by the AVA (renamed as Singapore Food Agency) after achieving Grade “A” status in food hygiene sanitation and processing for 10 consecutive years.
With 30 years of development since 1989, Hockhua has currently more than 60 retail outlet in Singapore 14 in Malaysia and with 15 herbal tea stores and 12 fresh cut fruit stores islands wide. It’s annual turnover in Singapore was recorded as last financial year was totaled SGD$140 million. And the company Rewards Programme has recorded over 480,000 registered members in Singapore and Malaysia. Moving forward to explore the China market the store from Fuzhou was relocate to a new shopping mall in Xiamen, Fujian. In 2019 Hockhua received the recognition from “Singapore Quality Class” for the commendable performance in business excellence.