Lim Peng Siang



Lim Peng Siang (b. 1872, Fujian, Chinad. 1944, Singapore) was a Chinese merchant who made significant contributions to Singapore’s economic and social developments in the early 1900s. He was a prominent leader of the Chinese community and held key positions in a number of public and private companies. He founded Ho Hong Co. and was a co-founder of the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC). Besides serving as president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC), Lim was also a long-standing member of the Chinese Advisory Board and the Hong Kong Fujian Chamber of Commerce. For his contributions and service to the public, Lim was made a justice of the peace.1

Early life
Lim was born in Amoy (now Xiamen) in the Fujian province of China in 1872. His maternal grandfather was Wee Bin, founder of Wee Bin & Co., a trading firm in Singapore famous for its import of products from China and the Dutch Indies. Lim was the eldest son of Lim Ho Puah, who came to Singapore from Amoy at an early age and worked at Wee Bin & Co.2

Lim was given a Chinese education when he was in China. After arriving in Singapore, he received an English education through private tuition. For a year, he was a student at the St Joseph’s Institution, following which he joined Wee Bin & Co., which was then managed by his father. In the subsequent years, Lim expanded the family business significantly.3

Commercial enterprises
Shortly after joining his father in Wee Bin & Co., Lim founded Ho Hong Co. in 1904 with a modest capital. The firm’s diversified business interests included banking, shipping, oil, rice and cement. Some of the companies under the Ho Hong conglomerate were Ho Hong Steamship Co. Ltd., Ho Hong Oil Mills Ltd., Ho Hong Parboiled Rice Mill and Ho Hong Portland Cement Works Ltd.4

Lim’s banking businesses included Chinese Commercial Bank and Ho Hong Bank. He established the former in 1912 with several other merchants, including Lee Choon Guan and Lim Boon Keng.5 Five years later, in 1917, Lim set up the Chinese Commercial Bank with Lim Boon Keng and Seow Poh Leng, among others.6 In 1932, the two banks merged with the Oversea-Chinese Bank to form OCBC (now known as OCBC Bank).7

Lim’s business conglomerate contributed significantly to Singapore’s economic and social growth. It created jobs for thousands of people and encouraged thousands more to migrate to the Straits Settlements in search of better opportunities.8

Leadership
Lim was a prominent and well-respected leader of the Chinese business community in Singapore.9 He was actively involved in the formation of SCCC, and served as its president in 1913, and then from 1915 to 1916; he was vice-president in 1914.10

Lim was also a long-standing member of the Chinese Advisory Board, and an honourable chairperson of the Hong Kong Fujian Chamber of Commerce between 1930 and 1941. In addition, he was director of a number of public companies, including Central Engine Works Ltd. and Central Motors Ltd.11

Community service and patriotism
A philanthropist, Lim contributed time and money to charity through donations and engaging in fundraising activities. He also recognised the importance of education in the growth and development of Singapore’s posterity. In 1902, following a parliamentary motion by Walter John Napier, a member of the Legislative Council,12 for a better and more efficient secondary education in Singapore, Lim donated $60,000 as funds for future scholarships.13

On 21 August 1915, Lim and Lee Choon Guan donated a battle plane (Malaya No. 6, also known as the “Choon Guan Peng Siang”) in support of the British army during World War I. Lim also raised money for the war through various fundraising channels.14

For his contributions and service to the public, Lim was made a justice of the peace.15

Family16
Maternal grandfather: Wee Bin
Father: Lim Ho Puah
Brother: Lim Peng Mau



Author

Wong Hongyi



References
1. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 116–117. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
2. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 114—116. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
3. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 116. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
4. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 116–117. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
5. Yong, C. F. (1992). Chinese leadership and power in colonial Singapore. Singapore: Times Academic Press, p. 72. (Call no.: RSING 959.5702 YON-[HIS])
6. Silcock, T. H. (Ed.). (1961). Readings in Malayan economics. Singapore: D. Moore for Eastern Universities Press, p. 460. (Call No.: RCLOS 330.9595 SIL)
7. Yong, C. F. (1992). Chinese leadership and power in colonial Singapore. Singapore: Times Academic Press, p. 72. (Call no.: RSING 959.5702 YON-[HIS])
8. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 116—117. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
9. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
10. Yong, C. F. (1992). Chinese leadership and power in colonial Singapore.Singapore: Times Academic Press, p. 64. (Call no.: RSING 959.5702 YON-[HIS])
11. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
12. Legislative Council (1900, April 12), The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Weekly), p. 233. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 116—117, 331. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
14. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 518. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
15. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 117. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
16. Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 114—116. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS]); Leaders of business in Malaya. (1953, January 13). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Huff, W. G. (1994). The economic growth of Singapore: Trade and development in the twentieth century. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 338.959570094 HUF)

Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])

Moore, D., & Moore, J. (1969). The first 150 years of Singapore. Singapore: Donald Moore Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 MOO-[HIS])

Mulliner, K., & The-Mulliner, L. (1991). Historical dictionary of Singapore. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57003 MUL-[HIS])

Pan, L. (Ed.). (1998). The encyclopedia of the Chinese overseas. Singapore: Archipelago Press.
(Call no.: RSING 304.80951 ENC)

Turnbull, C. M. (1989). A history of Singapore, 1819–1988. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR-[HIS])

Tyers, R. K. (1976). Singapore, then & now. Singapore: University Education Press.
(Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 TYE)



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 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
Community leaders
Personalities>>Biographies>>Community Leaders
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Lim Peng Siang, 1872-1944
Businessmen--Singapore--Biography