Our History

Our history

The 1940s


Hong Leong Group founder Kwek Hong Png sets up Hong Leong Company, which later forms the foundations of Hong Leong Group Singapore.

Hong Leong Group founder Kwek Hong Png


The 999-year leasehold bungalow was purchased in 1943 for $49,000 in British colonial dollars.


Kwek Hong Png bought a 25,000 sq ft bungalow at Buckley Road and lived in the house with his brothers until 1946 when his family moved in with him.

The 1960s


Singapore Finance founded. The company was later acquired by Hong Leong Finance in 1979.

Singapore Finance’s head office at Lavander Street


City Developments Limited completes Fresh Breezes, its first residential project, and becomes the first developer to debut the “show flat” concept.



Kwek Hong Png sets up Hong Leong Finance to provide financial support to other small local firms in uncertain times and the company becomes a major player in housing loans market.


Hong Leong Holdings Limited – Hong Leong Group’s property arm- is formed.


The 1970s


Hong Leong Group acquires a controlling stake in City Developments Limited – then a small eight-man outfit. City Developments Limited launches City Plaza, its first mixed-use development featuring residential and shopping components.

Kwek Hong Png acquires an apartment block on Dunearn Road in Singapore and develops Orchid Inn (now known as Copthorne Orchid) – marking Hong Leong Group’s first foray into the hospitality industry.

Copthorne Orchid


Hong Leong Building


Hong Leong Holdings Limited builds Hong Leong Building at Raffles Quay, the company’s flagship building. At the time of its completion, the building was one of the tallest commercial developments in Singapore's Central Business District.

Hong Leong Finance becomes the first finance company in Singapore to offer Accounts Receivable Financing services to its customers.


Hong Leong Finance starts offering Factoring, a trade financing service, to encourage its corporate customers to build up their exports. The launch of this service makes the company the first financial institution to do so in Singapore.

The 1980s


City House, City Developments Limited's first flagship commercial building was completed. The building continues to be used as City Developments Limited's operational headquarters.


CDL Hotels New Zealand Limited (now M&C New Zealand Limited) is incorporated and listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.



City Developments Limited acquires Orchard Hotel Singapore.

Orchard Hotel


CDL Hotels International, a Hong Leong Group subsidiary, acquires its first six Asian hotels.


The 1990s


CDL Hotels International acquires Gloucester Hotel in London, the group's first hotel entry into Europe. The hotel was later renamed Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington.

Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington


CDL Hotels International acquires Orchid Inn Penang (now Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang). In the same year, under a corporate restructuring exercise, the company gained ownership of Grand Hyatt Taipei and Manila Plaza Clarion (now The Heritage Hotel Manila).

City Developments Limited acquires QUINZ Holdings, taking control of a 13-hotel chain in New Zealand.

Hong Leong Asia acquires a controlling stake in China Yuchai International (CYI).



Hong Leong Group founder Kwek Hong Png passes away.

City Developments Limited makes its maiden entry into the USA market with the purchase of Millenium Hilton and Hotel Macklowe in New York, now the Millennium Broadway Hotel.

Hong Leong Holdings Limited embarks on the development of Beijing Riviera, a major property project in China, making it one of the first Singapore companies to venture into China.

China Yuchai International lists on New York Stock Exchange.

Beijing Riveria


The Plaza New York


Hong Leong Group buys the Plaza Hotel in New York from real estate tycoon Donald Trump. Months later, the group buys the 18-hotel Copthorne Hotel chain from Aer Lingus for £219 million and launches its new global hotel brand, Millennium Hotels & Resorts. The group also becomes New Zealand's largest hotel owner with 21 hotels.


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels gets listed on the London Stock Exchange. As the main hotel arm of the Hong Leong Group, the company becomes the first Singapore-controlled company to list on the London bourse.

Later that year, acquires the Britannia Hotel in Mayfair London (Millennium Mayfair) from InterContinental Hotel Group.


Opening of Republic Plaza


Hong Leong Asia lists on the Singapore Exchange.

Official opening of Republic Plaza, City Developments Limited's newest flagship building by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Copthorne brand makes debut in Asia with the rebranding of 3 Singapore hotels and its Penang Hotel.


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels buys 5-star Seoul Hilton for US$213.5 million.

In quick succession, it acquires 17 hotels from Regal Hotels in the United States, transforming Millennium & Copthorne Hotels into a global hotel operator. Millennium & Copthorne Hotels now ranks amongst Britain's top 100 "Most Admired Companies, a ranking conducted by leading business magazine Management Today.

The 2000s


City Developments Limited unveils a restructuring plan to acquire a controlling stake of 52.4% in Millennium & Copthorne Hotels from its subsidiary, CDL Hotels International Limited (CHIL). CHIL, renamed City e-Solutions Limited in August 2000, is dedicated towards providing management services and technology solutions for the hospitality industry, as well as making investments in the global real estate sector.

Hong Leong Asia acquires PT Karimun Granite, the largest hard rock quarry operation in South East Asia.


Millennium Abu Dhabi


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels expands into the Middle East region with management contracts secured in the United Arab Emirates.

Hong Leong Finance merges with Singapore Finance.


City Developments Limited launches Savannah Condo-Park, Singapore's first Eco-Condo.


St Regis Singapore Residences


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels restructures its Singapore assets via the initial public offering of CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT).

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels officially opens its first hotel in China, the five-star Millennium Hongqiao Hotel, Shanghai.

City Development Limited launches Singapore's first branded residences, the luxurious St. Regis Residences, Singapore.


Hong Leong Finance is presented with the "Finance Company of the Year" award in the Asian Banking & Retail Banking Awards 2007.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels debuts its Grand Millennium Brand with the opening of the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok and Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur.

City Developments Limited is part of consortium awarded the landmark South Beach site. The iconic green development is designed by world-renowned firm Foster + Partners and comprises hotel, residential, office and retail spaces.

South Beath: A Revolutionary New Eco-Quartier in Singapore

The 2010s


City Developments Limited launches The Residences at W Singapore - Sentosa Cove, a collection of 228 private luxury residences at the exclusive waterfront residential enclave of Sentosa Cove. The project is its second branded residences.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels launches the Studio M brand in Singapore.

CDL China Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CDL, makes its first acquisition, a development site in Chongqing, China, in December.

Hong Leong Finance initiates its SME Centre @ Branches (now SME Centres @ Hong Leong Finance) to further enhance its services to the business community.

W Residences Singapore


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels acquires a new property in the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan, marking its first investment in the Japanese hotel market.

Copthorne Orchid Hotel closes in Singapore. The site is developed into The Glyndebourne, a luxury residential development.

HLF celebrates its Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years of doing business.



City Developments Limited opens W Hotel – Sentosa Cove.

Together with Porsche Financial Services, Hong Leong Finance launches innovative and flexible financial schemes to provide uniquely tailored car loans to Porsche buyers in Singapore, making it the first financial institution in Asia to work with Porsche.

Hong Leong Finance is awarded full sponsorship status for the SGX Catalist Board, enabling it to provide financial advisory and fund-raising services to Small and Medium sized Enterprises aiming to list on the Catalist board.


Tree House


City Development Limited collaborates with National Library Board (NLB) to launch My Tree House - World's first Green Library for kids.

City Developments Limited collaborates with National Parks Board to develop The CDL Green Gallery @ Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) Heritage Museum. The Gallery has the distinction of becoming Singapore's first zero-energy Green Gallery.

Frestec, Hong Leong Asia's consumer appliances arm, is accorded a Merit Recognition in the Design for Asia category for its new Libra series of refrigerators at the Hong Kong Design Centre Awards.


City Developments Limited's Tree House condominium project clinches the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Vertical Garden. The 24-storey high vertical garden is spread across a surface area of 2,289 sq m.

First Sponsor Group Limited is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

China Yuchai International, a subsidiary of Hong Leong Asia, acquires full control of Caterpillar (China) Investment Co. Ltd.


South Beach


South Beach is completed. The mixed-use development comprises 510,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, 190 luxury residences, 32,000 sq ft of F&B and retail and a designer hotel with club facilities.

CDL named Asia’s top property developer and top Singapore company for third year in a row.


Millennium & Copthorne Hotels was delisted from the London Stock Exchange on 11 October 2019, following a successful privatisation exercise launched by City Developments Limited.

CDL charts next phase of growth in China by investing RMB 5.5 billion in Sincere Property Group.

The 2020s


Hong Leong Group Wins EY Family Business Award of Excellence at EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020 Singapore awards.


M Social Paris Opera


Millennium Hotels and Resorts marks M Social’s first outpost in the US and Europe with the opening of M Social Times Square New York and M Social Hotel Paris Opera respectively.

CDL sells stake in Sincere Property Group.