Lim Teck Lee Pte Ltd building at Circular Road sold !

 Lim Teck Lee Pte Ltd Building of Circular Road (999-year leasehold properties at 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 Circular Road was reported to have finally changed hands after being in the family business for more than 100 years. Founded in 1918, it became a private limited company in 1953. Reported in today's  Business Times (23 June 2023), it was sold by the family run business controlled by Lim Kailing (a founding investor of American-Singapore company Razer). The 6 shophouse were bought by a Singapore-incorporated company wholly owned by a Chinese national by the name of Su Fuxiang.

I wrote about the history of this building and company sometime ago after coming across rare pictures of it from the Harrison Forman Collection. Read the article titled: South Bridge Road - Lim Teck Lee (Images from the past.

Established in 1918, Chop Lim Teck Lee was one said to be one of the first few establishments to set up shop along Circular Road during the 1920s (source: The website provides insights that Lim Teck Lee business started with shophouse no 2 and 3 and that the business specialised in the import of German dyes for distribution in Singapore and the region. When their business grew, they subsequently acquired shophouse 3 and 4 and merged with the existing two units during the mid-1930s. This observation matches with the photo below taken by the American photographer, Harrison Forman in 1941, where from this rare picture, the name of the street can be clearly seen and the shophouse that is displaying the long advertisement banners is where the Lim Teck Lee building was. The shophouses that previously occupied these lots were demolished for the construction of the Lim Teck Lee Building (i am not sure exactly when the new building came about, but it has to be before 1962)  – and it still stands today at Nos. 2–5, Circular Road.

Lim Teck Lee shop facade
(source: Harrison Forman Collection, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries)

A 1962 workers strike at Messrs. Lim Teck Lee Company Limited (source: National Archives, Singapore)

Lim Teck Lee Pte Ltd

Founded in 1918, Lim Teck Lee (Pte) Ltd was incorporated as a “Private Limited” Company in 1953 as a wholesaler, importer and exporter of basic industrial raw materials, chemicals, food colourings and dyes, bentwood furniture, paint brushes and various sundry products to industries in Singapore and its neighbouring countries. They have since expanded beyond Singapore with diversified portfolio of strategic investment in manufacturing, real estates and joint-ventures across Asia Pacific region.

The advertisement of Ligton chairs made in the former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia) under the Cock Brand trademark brings memories of all the old coffee shops that uses such chairs.  


Harrison Forman Collection of the American Geographical Society Library of the University Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries
NewspaperSG. (website). National Library Board, Singapore.
Archives Online. (website). National Archives Singapore. 

About Harrison Forman and his Collection

Harrison Forman (1904-1978) was an American photographer and journalist. He wrote for The New York Times and National Geographic. During World War II he reported from China and interviewed Mao Zedong. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Oriental Philosophy. His collection of diaries and fifty thousand photographs are now at American Geographical Society Library at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. The Harrison Forman Photo Collection contains over 3,800 prints and over 300 negatives. This is a fraction of the total Forman collection, sized at 98,000 images, most of which are in 35mm slide format. While the geographical coverage between the slides and photo collections is similar, the photo collection contains Forman’s early work including his Tibet imagery, the Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War, the Henan Famine, and the Blitzkrieg of Poland.



Show more