Goodyear Orient Company (Private) Limited



Goodyear Orient Company (Private) Limited (GOCPL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (GTRC), one of the largest tyre companies in the world.1 It was established in Singapore in 1917 to ensure continual access to rubber plantations and smallholding outputs in Southeast Asia.2 Its current operations include managing the procurement of natural rubber, as well as delivery, financing and quality assurance for GTRC’s worldwide operations. It also supplies tyres to the local market through distributors.3

Background
Founded by Frank Seiberling in the United States in 1898, GTRC was inspired by the inventor of patented rubber, Charles Goodyear, who discovered the process of vulcanisation by accident but was never interested to earn a profit from his invention. Goodyear died in 1860 with debts amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it was 38 years later when GTRC made Goodyear a household name.4


With embargoes and disruptions to the shipping, trade and financial system for crude rubber in Europe during World War I (1914–18), GTRC and other manufacturers began to establish their purchasing organisations and plantations in Southeast Asia.5 Through the establishment of its own buying operations in Singapore, GTRC bypassed the British trading company, Wadleigh and Company, to ensure continual access to plantations and smallholding outputs in the region.6

Establishment in Singapore
GOCPL was registered in Singapore as the Orient Company Limited on 6 December 1917 and renamed GOCPL 10 years later. Its initial registered office was 2 Finlayson Green, and it occupied a godown in the port area. Prior to its establishment, GTRC had been buying rubber in the Far East through Wadleigh and Company.7

GOCPL’s memorandum of association stated that the company’s objectives were “to carry on business as rubber produce and Eastern merchants” and “to carry on in the Straits Settlements, the Malay Peninsula and elsewhere, the business of planters, manufacturers, importers, exporters, treaters of and dealers in metals, oil, minerals...”. The memorandum also permitted prospecting, entry into associated fields such as insurance, shipping, general agents, brokers, auctioneers, carriers, removers and packers, as well as carrying out all businesses – whether wholesale or retail, manufacturing or trading – which were usually performed by Eastern merchants.8

With the fall of Singapore to the Japanese army in February 1942, staff members of GOCPL stopped reporting to work. As operations ceased, the staff shifted many old records to the company’s property on Swiss Club Road for safe-keeping.9

Post-war developments
With the end of the Japanese Occupation in Singapore in 1945, GOCPL resumed operations at the port area in the following year.10


In 1956, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) took over GOCPL’s godown, and the company moved to a modern facility on Lee Rubber Company’s property along Kallang River in Geylang. The new godown was built with facilities for complete packing operations, which included receiving, weighing, inspection, selection, packing, stacking and shipping. The baled rubber was loaded onto lighters alongside the godown before being transferred to ocean carriers.11

In 1964, a sales office was set up in Singapore to supply tyres to the local market and the regional aviation industry. In terms of total tonnage, GOCPL bought and shipped to its affiliates more rubber than the new rubber consumed by any industrial country, except the United States and Japan.12

Current operations
GOCPL’s current operations include managing the procurement of natural rubber, as well as delivery, financing and quality assurance for GTRC’s worldwide operations. It also supplies tyres to the local market through distributors, and at the same time supports the aviation industries and performs various export activities for the region.13



Author
Kartini Saparudin



References
1. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2017, February 24 from Goodyear Road Therapy website: https://www.goodyear.com.sg/about-us
2. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
3. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2017, February 24 from Goodyear Road Therapy website: https://www.goodyear.com.sg/about-us
4. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. (2017). The Charles Goodyear story. Retrieved 2017, February 24 from Goodyear Corporate website: https://corporate.goodyear.com/en-US/about/history/charles-goodyear-story.html; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. (2017). History. Retrieved 2017, February 24 from Goodyear Corporate website: https://corporate.goodyear.com/en-US/about/history.html
5. French, M. J. (1987). The emergence of US multinational enterprise: The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, 1910–1939. The Economic History Review, 40(1), 64–79, p. 66. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
6. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
7. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
8. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
9. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
10. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 193. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
11. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 194. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
12. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (1979). From early days. Singapore: The Chamber, p. 194. (Call no.: RSING 380.10655957 SIN)
13. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2017, February 24 from Goodyear Road Therapy website: https://www.goodyear.com.sg/about-us



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Organisations>>Companies
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company--History
Tire industry--Singapore
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Manufacturing industries
Rubber industry and trade--Singapore
Business enterprises