Ho Kwon Ping



Ho Kwon Ping (b. 24 August 1952, Hong Kong–) is a prominent businessman in Singapore.1 He is the chairman of Wah Chang International Corporation, which owns a portfolio of public and private companies engaged in hotel development and management, property development, agribusiness and food products in the Asia-Pacific region.2 Ho is also chairman of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, a regional hotel chain which operates luxury hotels, resorts and health spas.3

Early life
Born in Hong Kong, Ho spent his childhood years in Thailand where his father, Ho Rih Hwa, was a businessman and diplomat.4


A student activist in his teens and early 20s, Ho admits to being a rebellious youth.5 In the late 1960s, he was a student of the International School of Bangkok. At the time, he was inspired by student movements in Europe and the United States. Wanting to “change the world”, he ran for the school’s student council presidency and won.6

Ho subsequently studied at Tunghai University in Taiwan. Although it was a short stint, the exposure to Chinese culture left a deep impact on him.7

After spending a year in Taiwan, Ho went to the United States and furthered his education at Stanford University. There, he was exposed to the ideals of Marxism and revolution in the Third World. For his involvement in student demonstrations, Ho was suspended for a year from Stanford. He then went on to Cornell University as a transfer student but feeling displaced, he left.8

Ho returned to Singapore for his national service and became a combat engineer in the army. After completing national service, he enrolled at the University of Singapore.9 In 1977, while moonlighting as a correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Ho was detained under the Internal Security Act and put into solitary confinement for two months for writing incendiary pro-communist articles in the publication.10 He continued his studies at the University of Singapore after his release, and graduated in economics and history in 1978.11

Career
Ho joined his father’s business – the Wah Chang group of companies – when his father suffered a stroke in 1981.12 At the time, Ho was about to take up a job at INSEAD, a business school in Fontainbleau, France. However, as the eldest son, he felt it was his duty to take over the reins of his family business.13

Upon joining Wah Chang, Ho made a business decision which almost reduced the company to bankruptcy.14 His father, however, did not allow him to resign but urged him to stay on to recoup the losses. From that first big mistake, Ho went on to become a successful businessman.15 In 1990, he appeared on the cover page of Fortune International magazine accompanied by the headline “Singapore’s Kwon Ping runs more than 30 companies”.16

In 1995, Ho opened the first Banyan Tree resort hotel in Phuket. In the same year, another resort was opened in the Maldives, followed by another in Bintan, Indonesia. Within a few years, the business expanded into a chain of hotels, resorts, spas and golf courses across continents.17

Other contributions
Also actively involved in civil society, Ho currently serves on the board of various international and Singapore organisations as chairman, director or member.18 His wife, Claire Chiang, once described him as “a capitalist in his pocket and a socialist in his heart”.19

Ho values integrity most, as he alludes it to loyalty, grace, courage and honesty to oneself.20 He sees himself as a humanist and believes that everyone is capable of making a difference in life.21

Career highlights
1970s: TV news producer, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation22
1970s–1981: Correspondent, journalist, and economics editor for Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong23
1981: Appointed president, Wah Chang/Thai Wah group24
1993–1995: Chairman, Practice Performing Arts Ltd25
1994–1995: Deputy chairman, Public Utilities Board26
1994–2000: Chairman, Singapore Power27
1995: Appointed chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings28
1995: Governor, Singapore International Foundation29
1995: Governor, Civil Service College30
1995: Chairman, National Council on the Environment31

2000: Director, Singapore Airlines32
2000: Chairman, Singapore Management University33
2004: Director, MediaCorp34
2004: Director, Singapore Tourism Board35

Other appointments
Director, Standard Chartered Bank36
Chairman, Singapore Institute of Management37
Chairman, Speak Mandarin Campaign38
Co-chairman, Thailand-Singapore Business Council39
Member, Singapore-US Business Council40
Member, Asia Pacific Council41
Member, The Nature Conservancy42
Member, Regional Advisory Board of London Business School43
Member, International Council of Asia Society44

Family

Father: Ho Rih Hwa
Mother: Li Lienfung45
Sister: Ho Minfong46
Brother: Ho Kwon Cjan47
Wife: Claire Chiang
Children: Ren Hua, Ren Yung and Ren Chun48



Author

Nureza Ahmad



References
1. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO); Wong, K. H. (2004, January 11). Who says I sold out? The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. The eldest has to sacrifice for younger siblings. (1997, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3; Wong, K. H. (2004, January 11). Who says I sold out? The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Wong, K. H. (2004, January 11). Who says I sold out? The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Lim, H. L. (1977, April 27). Midweek. New Nation, pp. 10–11; Yeoh, E-L. (1999, August 30). Businessman and ex-envoy Ho Rih Hwa, 82, dies. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55; Wong, K. H. (2004, January 11). Who says I sold out? The Straits Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Kwon Ping: From political detainee to captain of industry. (1995, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 2; The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Kwon Ping: From political detainee to captain of industry. (1995, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 2; The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
12. The eldest has to sacrifice for younger siblings. (1997, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. The ties that bind. (1992, June 20). The Business Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55; The ties that bind. (1992, June 20). The Business Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. The ties that bind. (1992, June 20). The Business Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Kwon Ping: From political detainee to captain of industry. (1995, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Wee, T. (2002, April 18). Branching out. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Kwon Ping: From political detainee to captain of industry. (1995, April 27). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. A romance with hotels. (1992, June 20). The Business Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. The eldest has to sacrifice for younger siblings. (1997, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55; The ties that bind. (1992, June 20). The Business Times, p. 21; The eldest has to sacrifice for younger siblings. (1997, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. The ties that bind. (1992, June 20). The Business Times, p. 21; The eldest has to sacrifice for younger siblings. (1997, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
26. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
27. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
28. Wee, T. (2002, April 18). Branching out. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Nathan, D. (1995, March 26). Green man takes up new challenge. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Nathan, D. (1995, March 26). Green man takes up new challenge. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Nathan, D. (1995, March 26). Green man takes up new challenge. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
33. Wee, T. (2002, April 18). Branching out. The Straits Times, p. 4; The journey home to myself. (1999, October 16). The Straits Times, p. 55. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. New chairman for MediaCorp. (2004, July 23). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. 5 new board members for STB. (2004, January 21). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
37. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
38. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
39. Nathan, D. (1995, March 26). Green man takes up new challenge. The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
40. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
41. Cheng Wai Keung joins Apec council as S’pore rep. (2000, February 10). The Business Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
42. Chuang, P. M. (2000, December 8). Rendering service to govt in a wide range of areas. The Business Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Low, E. (2001, September 19). SMU appoints new president. The Business Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
44. Low, K. T. (2003). Who’s who in Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 152. (Call no.: RSING 920.05957 WHO)
45. The eldest has to sacrifice for younger siblings. (1997, March 9). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
46. Yeoh, E-L. (1999, August 30). Businessman and ex-envoy Ho Rih Hwa, 82, dies. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
47. Blazing a trail of his own in hotel industry. (2001, September 13). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
48. Wee, T. (2002, April 18). Branching out. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2004 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
Businessmen--Singapore--Biography
Personalities
Ho, Kwon Ping, 1952-
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Leisure and entertainment
Personalities>>Biographies
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Construction and real estate>>Real estate