|George Tan, Founder|
The Carrian Group was a Hong Kong conglomerate founded by George Tan, a Singaporean civil engineer working in Hong Kong as a project manager for a land development company. The Group's principal holding company, Carrian Holdings, was founded in 1977.
In January 1980, the group, through a 75% owned subsidiary, purchased Gammon House (a commercial office building, now Bank of America Tower) in Central District, Hong Kong for HK$998 million. It grabbed the limelight in April 1980 when it announced the sale of Gammon House for HK$1.68 billion, a high return on investment that surprised Hong Kong's property and financial markets and developed public interest in Carrian.
In the same year, Carrian capitalized on its notoriety by acquiring a publicly listed Hong Kong company, renaming it Carrian Investments Ltd., and using it as a vehicle to raise funds from the financial markets.
The group grew rapidly in the early 1980s to include properties in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, and the United States. At its peak, the Carrian Group owned businesses in real estate, finance, shipping, insurance (China Insurance Underwriters), hotels, catering and transport, including the city’s largest-ever taxi fleet.
Carrian Group became involved in a scandal with Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad of Malaysia and Hong Kong-based Bumiputra Malaysia Finance. Following allegations of accounting fraud, a murder of a bank auditor, and the suicide of the firm's adviser, the Carrian Group collapsed in 1983, the largest bankruptcy in Hong Kong.
Of the group's numerous businesses, only the Carriana Restaurant remains.
- Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong): Report on Carrian
- Philip Bowring's summary article on Carrian