Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lee Kong Chian (Li Guang Qian)

Lee Kong Chian (李光前)
Born: 1893
Birth Place: Furong in Nan An, Hokkien of China
Died in: 1967
Age: 74
Achievement: Setting up of Lee Foundation

Lee Kong Chian was born in Nan Ann, Fujian province, into a family of tailors in 1893.
He came to Singapore when he was 7, but returned to China to study at the university.
On his return, he became an assistant surveyor before resigning and entering the world of commerce, joining the Tan Kah Kee Rubber Company.

He also became vice-chairman of the Chinese Commercial Bank and was a key figure in the merger of Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank and Oversea-Chinese Bank.

The merged entity, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), was formed in 1932 and Mr Lee was its chairman from 1938 to 1964.

In 1931, Mr Lee started his own business, buying thousands of acres of vacant land and turning them into rubber and pineapple plantations.

During the '30s, he became known as the leading rubber baron.

He placed great emphasis on education, which has been reflected in the many donations made by Lee Foundation through the years.

In 1962, Mr Lee became the first Chancellor of the University of Singapore.

When he died in 1967 at the age of 74, he willed half his fortune to the foundation


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