IT'S SO CLEAR: HYFLUX AND THE SUCCESS STORY OF A SINGAPORE FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR
GHEE SOON LIM
The present case documents the success story of water treatment specialist Hyflux, a young and growing technology company based in Singapore. Founded by female entrepreneur Olivia Lum in June 1989 on a shoestring budget of S$20,000 (US$1 = about S$1.70), Hyflux gradually and painstakingly built its clientele from scratch over a period of more than a decade. On January 17, 2001, Hyflux was listed on Singapore's SESDAQ, the country's stock market for smaller firms. Within three years after the listing, Hyflux chalked up impressive growth results: Revenues quadrupled from the prelisting level of S$20.8 million in 2000 to S$81 million in 2003; profit before tax shot up by more than 100%, from S$8.6 million in 2000 to S$20 million in 2003; and profit attributable to shareholders grew from S$6.4 million in 2000 to S$12.3 million in 2003. These results were accompanied by the firm's upgrading its listing to the Singapore Exchange main board on April 14, 2003. What factors have contributed to Hyflux's success? What is Hyflux's strategic competency and to what extent is the competency inimitable? How fast and in what ways is the competitive landscape changing? Does Hyflux need a strategic reorientation? These are some of the critical questions that a successful company should consider preemptively before the market or the competitive landscape turns against it. Students will gain a great deal of insight from this case of a successful female entrepreneur from Singapore.
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