Lim Yew Soon
In 2005, Lim Yew Soon joined Evan Lim & Co, the construction business started by his father in the 1960s, thus helping his family business to branch into property development. A year later he realised that being a main contractor in the construction sector was harder than he thought. He considered moving up in the value chain and that was when EL Development (ELD) was formed.
In 2006, his first project, Rhapsody on Mount Elizabeth, was launched and was sold out in six weeks.
Lim, a National University of Singapore graduate, comes from a big extended family. He has relatives in the property development business. His wife is a financial analysis manager and they have two sons.
A more of a saver, Lim believes in saving for a rainy day and building up sufficient capital for investment opportunities, as making money is tough without one’s first pot of gold.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, Lim started ‘Illuminaire’ on Devonshire to boast boutique-sized units and a mechanical car park tower, where residents’ cars would be lifted up vertically in a car lift and parked in a complex.
When it was eventually launched, Lim sold every single unit within three days, at a whopping 20 per cent above market valuation — a feat he still considers his greatest accomplishment.
Lim’s engineering background also gave him an edge when it came to innovation. Providing conveniences like Illuminaire’s turned out to be the key in making ELD to stand out from its competitors.
Modestly, Lim admits to being “Still far from becoming as big as some of the larger local property development organisations. So, what we aim to do is to differentiate ourselves through innovation and adding value.”
He acknowledges that while it is great to be prudent in business, taking risks is necessary to the entrepreneurial spirit. “The challenge is to know how to balance the two and decide when to play safe and when to keep on trying even when you’re losing money. There’s always an element of luck when it comes to doing business.”
In 2011, EL Development Pte Ltd spun off as an independent company. Subsequently, Lim acquired first public housing (DBSS) site via government land sales in Clementi, followed by the Acquisition of the largest residential site to date via government land sales in Sengkang.
EL Development’s business strategy seems to have paid off as firm’s revenue has increased by about 10 times in the last three financial years, while profits have grown five times.
Besides continuing to develop residential and industrial developments in Singapore, Lim has planned to explore development opportunities in the region, such as Myanmar.