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HomeWorld BillionairesFrom Selling Aerated Water to Building an Empire: Goh Cheng Liang's Journey

From Selling Aerated Water to Building an Empire: Goh Cheng Liang’s Journey

Who is Goh Cheng Liang?

Goh Cheng Liang is a Singaporean billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He founded Wuthelam Group, a multinational company specializing in manufacturing and distributing paint and coatings. Goh is one of the richest people in Southeast Asia, with an estimated net worth of over US$10 billion.

Early Life

Mr Goh Cheng Liang, born in 1927, resided in a rented room in a shophouse on River Valley Road for 12 years, sharing the space with his parents, three sisters, and a brother. During the outbreak of World War II, he was temporarily relocated to Muar, Malaya, to assist his brother-in-law in selling fishing nets. In 1943, he returned to Singapore. According to a 1997 interview with the Business Times, Goh Cheng Liang had a reputation for exceptional business acumen, honed over the years. After returning to Singapore, he attempted to establish a business in the aerated water industry, which failed. Subsequently, he spent four and a half years at a hardware store.

In 1949, Mr Goh Cheng Liang acquired a quantity of paint in barrels from a British army auction at a cost-effective price. He utilized a Chinese dictionary on chemicals to effectively blend colours and establish his brand of paint, known as the Pigeon Brand paints. The onset of the Korean War in 1950 resulted in import restrictions, which favoured the growth of his paint business. In 1959, he was appointed as a distributor for Nippon Paint, and through his endeavours, he successfully expanded his company to become the leading paint manufacturer in the Asian region. He was also responsible for constructing several iconic buildings in Singapore, including Liang Court, which he disposed of in 1999. Currently, his Wuthelam group is engaged in various fields, including property, electronics, and trading. The group’s operations are directed by his elder son, Hup Jin.

How did Goh Cheng Liang make money?

Goh Cheng Liang made his fortune through his company, Wuthelam Group, which he founded in 1958. The company specializes in manufacturing and distributing paint and coatings and has since expanded into other industries, such as property development and investment. Over the years, Goh’s business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit has helped him build a highly successful and diversified business empire, leading to his immense wealth.

Was Goh Cheng Liang poor?

It is not publicly known whether Goh Cheng Liang was poor before he became wealthy. However, it is widely known that he came from humble beginnings and started his business, Wuthelam Group, from scratch. Over time, he grew the company into one of the world’s largest and most successful manufacturers, eventually becoming one of the richest people in Southeast Asia.

Personal life

There is limited publicly available information on Goh Cheng Liang’s personal life. He is known for being a private individual and keeping a low profile. He founded the Goh Foundation, which has largely donated to several charitable causes. Goh has a son, Goh Hup Jin, who has been the chairman of Nippon Paint since March 2018 and runs their privately held joint venture, Nipsea. Beyond these few details, not much is known about Goh Cheng Liang’s personal life, family, or other aspects of his background.

Perspective on Luxury Lifestyle

According to reports, Goh Cheng Liang’s sole extravagance lies in his collection of luxury yachts and catamarans, which includes the Feadship yacht “White Rabbit II” and the 61-meter superyacht “White Rabbit Echo.” In a previous statement, Goh Cheng Liang expressed that he does not partake in activities such as cinema-going, watching movies, listening to music, singing karaoke, or visiting bars. He added that although he was known for mischievous behaviour regarding women during his youth, he has refrained from such actions in the past 20 years.


Goh was honoured by Forbes Asia as one of its “Heroes of Philanthropy” in 2014. His primary philanthropic focus is medical research. His 20-year-old Goh Foundation has significantly contributed to this cause, including a $50 million donation to the National Cancer Centre Singapore in 2014. Additionally, Goh Cheng Liang’s philanthropic endeavors also extend to his network, as demonstrated by his provision of medical support and care for a former Japanese business associate diagnosed with liver cancer. He housed the individual in his River Valley Road penthouse and arranged for treatment at a leading hospital in the United States, and covered all related medical expenses. Furthermore, he took the individual on a trip to New Zealand aboard his luxury yacht and provided a nurse to attend to the individual’s needs during the voyage.

Final thoughts

Goh Cheng Liang is a successful Singaporean billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder of Wuthelam Group, which has become a multinational company specializing in manufacturing and distributing paint and coatings. Despite his immense wealth, Goh is known for his low profile and focus on philanthropy, particularly in medical research. Through his efforts, Forbes Asia has recognized Goh as one of its “Heroes of Philanthropy” and has made a significant impact on the world through his business success and charitable donations. Despite limited information on his personal life, Goh inspires those seeking to achieve success and make a difference in the world.

Becoming a billionaire is not an unattainable dream for anyone. It requires hard work, determination, and a willingness to take calculated risks. While some people may have a head start due to their financial background or connections, anyone can achieve wealth through smart investment decisions and a commitment to success. However, it is important to remember that wealth should not be the sole purpose in life, and it is important to balance material success with meaningful relationships, personal growth, and giving back to society.

Andy Smith
Andy Smithhttps://www.quora.com/profile/Andy-Smith-2439
Andy Smith has been writing about finance for many years. Andy also has a team of experienced and accomplished financial writers, having registered for various outlets, including newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs. Hajarkitta.com has brought prime writers who have graduated from college with Masters's degrees in Literature, economics, and finance. After graduating, Andy worked for a few years in the corporate world but soon realized his genuine passion was writing. He also began freelancing and soon found himself writing about finance and other economic topics.


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