Ip Yiu Tung



Ip Yiu Tung (b. 1949, Hong Kong) is the former group chairman and chief executive officer of restaurant chain Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding.1 After joining Crystal Jade in 1992, he turned the ailing restaurant into a successful restaurant chain with multiple dining concepts and a presence in 18 cities across nine countries in Asia.2 In 2014, Ip sold Crystal Jade to L Capital Asia, the private-equity arm of French luxury goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.3 He now serves as an adviser and brand ambassador for Crystal Jade.4 Originally from Hong Kong, he became a Singapore permanent resident in 2008.5

Early life and career
Born in Hong Kong, Ip studied electrical engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University but dropped out after two years. He then worked in a computer hardware company for over a decade, rising from an engineer to become a supervisor and then a manager. In 1984, Ip started a clock and watch manufacturing company known as the Artfield Group, before venturing into piano manufacturing in 1993.6

Crystal Jade
In 1992, Ip was approached to invest in Crystal Jade, then only a fine-dining restaurant housed in Cairnhill Hotel in Singapore.7 The restaurant was managed by Ip’s brother-in-law Alfred Leung and was facing difficulties.8 Ip agreed to the proposal and became the major shareholder and chairman of Crystal Jade.9

To turn Crystal Jade around, Ip decided that the restaurant should adopt a different strategy by serving quality Cantonese food to the masses. This led to the opening of the first Crystal Jade Kitchen outlet, which offered the concept of casual dining, in Shaw House in 1992.10 A year later, Crystal Jade revived its fine-dining option when it opened Crystal Jade Palace in Ngee Ann City.11 Thereafter, Crystal Jade developed a number of different dining concepts to cater to different segments of the market, and by 2009 the group was offering 16 different dining concepts.12 Some of these included casual dining, Hong Kong-style coffee shops, bakeries and even oriental fast-food outlets. Crystal Jade also offered different types of cuisine such as Shanghainese, Teochew, modern Cantonese and Korean.13

Amid the expansion, the restaurant’s annual revenue grew from S$3.6 million in 1992 to an estimated S$240 million in 2009.14 The number of outlets also increased to over 80 in the same period, with presence in other countries such as Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia.15

In 2004, Ip took on the additional position of managing director.16 This came after Leung left Crystal Jade along with his Leung’s wife, Hera, and brothers, Jimmy and Vincent.17 Leung went on to form the rival Imperial Treasure chain, while Jimmy and Vincent founded the My Choice Chinese Cuisine restaurant.18 Following Leung’s departure, Ip embraced a more open marketing strategy in the belief that engagement with the media created good exposure for the company.19 Previously, when Leung was managing director, Crystal Jade followed the notion that the food should speak for itself. As such, the restaurant chain had seldom advertised, granted media interviews or sought publicity.20

Business philosophy
When managing Crystal Jade, Ip devoted 75 percent of his time to the restaurant chain. He worked seven days a week and more than 12 hours a day.21 He travelled to Crystal Jade restaurants around Asia to check on the food quality, service and ensured that they adhered to their respective dining concepts.22 Ip also conferred with chefs and restaurant managers on pricing and menus, tailoring the selection of food to the tastes and demands of each market.23 While running Crystal Jade, Ip continued managing his piano manufacturing business at the side.24

Ip also insisted that Crystal Jade should use top-quality ingredients and provide good service to maintain its reputation and retain customers. In addition, he understood the importance of recruiting talented individuals and ensured that they followed Crystal Jade’s method of cooking.25 In fact, under Ip’s direction, a training division was set up for the restaurant chain’s staff.26

As Ip understood the unpredictability of the food and beverage industry, he only expanded Crystal Jade under the right market conditions.27 The foresight and level of adaptability allowed Ip to guide the restaurant chain through the tough economic climate brought by the 2008 global financial crisis, when he decided to scale back Crystal Jade’s expansion plans.28

In 2009, Ip was named the Rotary-ASME Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of his success in turning the fortunes of Crystal Jade from an ailing restaurant in Cairnhill Hotel to a successful restaurant chain.29 As at 2015, Crystal Jade has a network of about 120 outlets in 21 cities across 10 countries.30 It employs about 4,500 fulltime staff and has an annual revenue of close to S$250 million.31

After selling Crystal Jade to L Capital Asia, the private-equity arm of French luxury goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2014 for an estimated S$140 million, Ip stayed on as chief executive for a year before stepping down to assume the twin roles of adviser and brand ambassador for the company.32 He shared the profits of the sale with the restaurant’s current and former employees, giving them bonuses of up to S$40,000.33



Author

Alvin Chua



References
1. Tan, R. L. (2013, January 14). Crystal clear vision. The Straits Times, p. 6; Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Crystal Jade. (n.d.). Our story. Retrieved 2016, August 1 from Crystal Jade website: http://hk.crystaljade.com/about-us-2/our-story/?locale=en_US; Crystal Jade. (n.d.). The man behind Crystal Jade. Retrieved 2016, August 1 from Crystal Jade website: http://hk.crystaljade.com/about-us-2/new-founderspage/
3. Cai, H. (2014, April 30). LVMH adds Crystal Jade to Singapore jewel box. The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Tan, R. L. (2014, May 3). Crystal Jade chief on ‘marrying off’ company. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chong, K. P. (2015, August 14). Crystal Jade staff get payouts of up to $40k. MyPaper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
4. Chong, K. P. (2015, August 13). Former Crystal Jade boss gives part of money from chain’s sale as bonuses to staff. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
5. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Teo, P. L. (2004, October 2). Beyond Dimsum. The Straits Times, p. 4; Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal JadeThe Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84; Lim, Y. L. (2009, September 16). Recipe for success. The Straits Times, p. 117. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Crystal Jade. (n.d.). The man behind Crystal Jade. Retrieved 2016, August 1 from Crystal Jade website: http://hk.crystaljade.com/about-us-2/new-founderspage/; Teo, P. L. (2004, October 2). Beyond dimsumThe Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
10. Lim, Y. L. (2009, September 16). Recipe for success. The Straits Times, p. 117. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Phua, W. Y. (2009). Secrets of food millionaires. Singapore: Rank Books, p. 32. (Call no.: RSING 647.955957 PHU)
11. Lim, Y. L. (2009, September 16). Recipe for success. The Straits Times, p. 117. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Teo, P. L. (2003, March 23). You won’t get Jade-d hereThe Straits Times, p. 10; Lim, Y. L. (2009, September 16). Recipe for success. The Straits Times, p. 117. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Teo, P. L. (2003, March 23). You won’t get Jade-d hereThe Straits Times, p. 10; Teo, P. L. (2006, October 15). Clone warsThe Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84; Crystal Jade sees sparkle abroad. (2004, October 19). The Business Times, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Teo, P. L. (2004, October 2). Beyond dimsumThe Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Teo, P. L. (2006, October 15). Clone warsThe Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Teo, P. L. (2004, October 2). Beyond dimsumThe Straits Times, p. 4; Teo, P. L. (2006, October 15). Clone warsThe Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Teo, P. L. (2004, October 2). Beyond dimsumThe Straits Times, p. 4; Teo, P. L. (2003, March 23). You won’t get Jade-d hereThe Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Teo, P. L. (2004, October 2). Beyond dimsumThe Straits Times, p. 4; Teo, P. L. (2003, March 23). You won’t get Jade-d hereThe Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Lim, Y. L. (2009, September 16). Recipe for success. The Straits Times, p. 117; Teo, P. L. (2006, October 15). Clone warsThe Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Phua, W. Y. (2009). Secrets of food millionaires. Singapore: Rank Books, p. 32. (Call no.: RSING 647.955957 PHU)
22. Teo, P. L. (2006, October 15). Clone warsThe Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Phua, W. Y. (2009). Secrets of food millionaires. Singapore: Rank Books, p. 37. (Call no.: RSING 647.955957 PHU)
24. BFM: The Business Radio Station. (2009). From pianos to restaurants, success: Ip Yiu Tung, CEO, Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding. Retrieved 2016, October 17 from The Business Radio Station website: http://www.bfm.my/Ip-Yiu-Tung-Crystal-Jade.html; Phua, W. Y. (2009). Secrets of food millionaires. Singapore: Rank Books, p. 34. (Call no.: RSING 647.955957 PHU)
25. Lim, Y. L. (2009, September 16). Recipe for success. The Straits Times, p. 117. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Phua, W. Y. (2009). Secrets of food millionaires. Singapore: Rank Books, pp. 45–46. (Call no.: RSING 647.955957 PHU)
26. Teo, P. L. (2006, October 15). Clone warsThe Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Kang, W. C. (2009, March 30). Manager@Work: Tough times confront Crystal Jade. The Edge Singapore. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal JadeThe Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Chen, G. (2009, September 17). Entrepreneur of the Year turned around Crystal Jade. The Straits Times, p. 84. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Crystal Jade. (n.d.). Our heritage. Retrieved 2016, August 1 from Crystal Jade website: http://www.crystaljade.com/our-heritage/; Cai, H. (2014, April 30). LVMH adds Crystal Jade to Singapore jewel box. The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Tan, R. L. (2014, May 3). Crystal Jade chief on ‘marrying off’ company. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chong, K. P. (2015, August 14). Crystal Jade staff get payouts of up to $40k. MyPaper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/ 
31. Tan, R. L. (2014, May 3). Crystal Jade chief on ‘marrying off’ company. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Cai, H. (2014, April 30). LVMH adds Crystal Jade to Singapore jewel box. The Business Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Tan, R. L. (2014, May 3). Crystal Jade chief on ‘marrying off’ company. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chong, K. P. (2015, August 14). Crystal Jade staff get payouts of up to $40k. MyPaper; Chong, K. P. (2015, August 13). Former Crystal Jade boss gives part of money from chain’s sale as bonuses to staff. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/ 
33. Chong, K. P. (2015, August 13). Former Crystal Jade boss gives part of money from chain’s sale as bonuses to staff. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/ 



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 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
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Manufacturing industries>>Food, beverages and tobacco
Personalities
Restaurants--Singapore
Ip, Yiu Tung, 1949-
Personalities>>Biographies
Chief executive officers--Singapore--Biography