Water Queen shares her success in the water business

Water Queen shares her success in the water business


Distinguished Business Leader,
Ms Olivia Lum

Water Queen shares her success in the water business

Ms. Olivia Lum, Founder, President and Group CEO of Hyflux Ltd spoke to close to 270 Overseas Singaporeans (OS), friends of OS, and media during the 15th Distinguished Business Leaders (DBL) Series in Shanghai, China on Saturday, 31 May 2008.

Mr Roy Quek, Director of OSU
presenting token of appreciation to
Ms Lum

Ms Olivia Lum, the very first female Distinguished Business Leader, shared with the audience how Hyflux gained a footprint in China and established a strong presence since its entry in the early 1990s. Speaking in a humble but engaging demeanor, the audience was enthused by Ms Lum’s lively anecdotes of her experiences working in China.

She also related the various challenges she faced from setting up Hyflux China, recruiting and motivating staff, and sealing business deals in China. Speaking fondly of her experience from the set-up of a small business to the growth of Hyflux Ltd, Ms Lum shared how she had to work with the constraints of limited budget and resources.



(L-R) Mr Roy Quek, (Director, Overseas Singaporean Unit, PMO), Mr Kelvin Tan (President of Shanghai House of Entrepreneurs NUS), Ms Olivia Lum (Founder, President and Group CEO of Hyflux Ltd), Mr Yip Wei Kat (Consul-General, Shanghai), Mr Jonathan Seah (President, Shanghai Singapore Business Association)


Ms Lum with Overseas Singaporeans in Shanghai, China

This included placing recruitment advertisements on lampposts and borrowing money from friends to pay employee salaries. Ms Lum also spoke of the importance of valuing and appreciating staff for their contribution to the company when she cited an incident during Hyflux China’s early days. In order to complete Hyflux’s first machine order in China on time, she stayed with her staff and served them coffee throughout the cold winter night. Through the display of her kind gesture, she won the respect and admiration of her staff.  Not surprisingly, therefore, Hyflux experienced a low staff turnover since its startup in 1989. From a low staff count of three in 1989, Hyflux now boosted a staff count of 700.

The audience was inspired with Ms Lum’s passion, perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit for succeeding in difficult conditions and growing Hyflux to what it is today.

The Q&A session was a lively one when Ms Lum fielded questions on a range of issues ranging from the perception of Singapore companies like Hyflux in China to Hyflux’s expansion plans in the other regions in the near future. 

Many OS managed to get up close and personal with Ms Lum during the dinner reception and learnt more about her entrepreneurial experiences and the employment opportunities with Hyflux.

For exciting career opportunities with Hyflux, please click here.



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