1965 – 1975
In the same year that Singapore declared independence, Kong Hwee was set up. The familyowned metalworks company started with a focus on doors, windows, metal barriers and metal poles. Without any experience, Mr Nge could only learn as he went, accumulating experience and refining techniques along the way. This willingness to learn and innovate set a strong foundation for the culture of the company. As the company grew, so did the workforce; hence Mr Nge turned to his younger brother, Mr Ng Lok Kai, to help bring the company to the next phase of development.
1975 – 1985
With a fast-growing population, the Singapore government had to ramp up the building of flats, basic infrastructure, airport, piers and MRT lines. Kong Hwee rode on the development wave and received many contracts. As the company saw greater stability, it began investing heavily in improving skills and techniques to better cope with the rising demand for housing construction, which made the bulk of Kong Hwee’s projects. This investment paid off in the form of greater reputation and trust amongst other partners and companies in the industry, which further improved Kong Hwee’s business.
It was also during this period that Kong Hwee made its first move, due to land acquisition by the Singapore government. The manufacturing plant was relocated to a bigger compound in Defu Lane 7 and 12, measuring 4,000 square metres.
1985 – 1995
Singapore shifted gears from traditional manufacturing and processing to emphasise more on information technology integration. Due to the development of an airport and a few shipping ports, the country saw an influx of investments, which also translated to growth opportunities for Kong Hwee. The company rode on the increasing infrastructural demand, focusing its investment in human resources and equipment, and found itself involved in major steel structures, MRT and other significant infrastructural projects. In 1988, in response to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) requirement for construction companies to register as a business entity, Kong Hwee Iron Works and Construction Private Limited was formalised.
1995 – 2005
Kong Hwee started to take on public facility projects, such as schools, stadiums and sports complexes. The company continued to upgrade and increase its workforce, and in the year 2000, Kong Hwee moved to a 12,000 square metres facility in 7 Senoko South. It was also the time when the company focused on mechanised production, striving to become a more high-tech, high-precision, one-stop steelworks company.
2005 – 2015
As Singapore became increasingly globalised, building international convention and exhibition centres, and integrated resorts to welcome more foreign visitors became inevitable. With the flourishing construction industry, the government saw the need to regulate the industry, especially with regards to quality.
The Singapore Structural Steel Society (SSSS) unit was then set up, and companies had to meet specific criteria, including having enough investment, specialists with specific technical knowledge and skills, and specialised equipment, to qualify for projects of a certain size. Kong Hwee was approved as an S2 company in 2009 and became one of the few S1-accredited companies in 2011. To further improve productivity and meet growing demand, the company also set up an administrative office in the Philippines, production facilities in Malaysia and Myanmar, and rebuilt the headquarters in Singapore.
2016 – Beyond
In 2016, Kong Hwee became the pioneer company to manufacture Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) in Singapore. To ensure the continual development of PPVC and its market, Kong Hwee partnered Tiong Aik Group in 2018.
Going forward, Kong Hwee will diversify its business to the oil and gas industry and continue to invest in mechanisation, automation and its people to provide more professional, high-quality services and products.