The healthcare product maker has come a long way from peddling Hokkein prawn noodles, encyclopaedias, pots and pans, electrical products, door-to-door to the current health lifestyle company, which its brand name Osim alone worth S$203 million.
According to a study (2003) done by New York-based consultancy firm Interbrand, if Ron Sim ever decides to sell his company, he should be at least S$203 million richer, even before he put up a pencil for sale. Interbrand estimated that 60 per cent of the sales could ascribe to the brand name alone.
Born to taxi-driver dad and cleaner mum in 1959, Sim was one of the seven siblings, a large family considering their humble circumstances.
As a child, Sim was never comfortable with books but to play and having fun. However, his destitute circumstances left him in constant hunger pangs, let alone time for playing. The circumstances also forced him to "always willing and wanting to work to make money."
As early as age nine, he went peddling Hokkien prawn noodles door-to-door after school. He made 3-cent profit from a 20-cent bowl, averaging 50-80 cents in a day, a relatively handsome profit considering his age. He went to become a serving assistance at a fishball noodle stall after school.
Upon completing his "O" Levels in 1975 and with grades eligible to pursue a diploma, he decided to work instead because his family could not offer his education. Sim tried his hands on many odd jobs, from construction worker to insurance and encyclopaedia salesman.
Later in 1980, he started a retailing company named R. Sim Trading Company at People's Park Complex, selling an assortment of odds and ends, from pots and pans, knives, drying rods, to itch-scratchers, wood massagers and foot-reflexology products.
Disaster struck the company five years later due to the severe 1985 recession. Sim learnt the painful lesson that in order to survive, he needed to find a niche in the small Singapore market.
Through the... [continues]
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