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Industry Retail
Genre Department store
Founded 1932
Founder CK Tang
Headquarters Singapore, Singapore
Area served
South East Asia
Key people
Tang Wee Sung / Foo Tiang Sooi
Revenue S$196,790,000 (2007)
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Gamut Marketing, Island Shop International
Website http://www.tangs.com/

C.K. Tang Limited is a company that specializes within Singapore’s retail market, with its flagship store TANGS located on Orchard Road, Singapore. For many, TANGS is regarded as a principal shopping destination in the city, comparable to Bloomingdale's in New York City and Selfridges in London.[1][2]

The oldest home-bred department store in Singapore, TANGS was founded by Tang Choon Keng,[3] popularly known as CK Tang, in 1932.[4]


Tangs department store, Singapore, photographed February 1969 × July 1971

C.K. Tang, the founder, migrated from China and began his business from a humble provisional store in 1932. CK Tang's first stores were on River Valley Road, but in the 1950s, he bought some land on Orchard Road as he noticed that the expatriates from the Holland Village area would travel down this road to go downtown.

When CK Tang bought the land, it was situated opposite a Chinese cemetery, which, under cultural conventions, was perceived to bring bad luck. However, as a devoted Christian, this belief did not affect CK Tang's assessments on the potential of the land, and he soon went on to develop his store on Orchard Road in 1958.[5]

The first retail presence on Orchard Road, TANGS is credited with sparking the transformation of the area into Singapore’s most famous shopping district.[2] In 1982, C.K. Tang accumulated additional land situated adjacent to TANGS and built what is known as Tang Plaza, which also currently houses the 5-Star Singapore Marriott Hotel.[6]

View at night (2007)

Evolution of a brand[edit]


In the 1980s, TANGS launched the tag line "All The Best Under One Roof" to showcase their diversification of products.

The company was known as a fair employer and was closed on Sundays (a rare thing in Asia) as C.K. Tang himself was a staunch Christian. This was implemented so that so his family and Christian staff could attend church services.[8]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s one of CK Tang's sons, Tang Wee Sung took control of the store. He went on to become chairman of the company in 2000 after his father’s death, and his appointment gave rise to changed operating policies, such as permitting the store to remain open on Sundays and introducing marketing strategies to increase consumer choice.

In 2012, TANGS announced an S$45 million, 3-year transformation plan to its flagship store on Orchard Road.[9][10]-.-


Orchard Road is today one of the most vibrant shopping districts in Southeast Asia, and much of this is credited to the early presence of TANGS. Being one of the biggest stores in Orchard Road, it is a landmark with its Chinese styled roof.[11]

The building form was greatly influenced by traditional Chinese culture and architecture, modelled after the Palaces in the Forbidden City. The colour scheme of C.K. Tang building was an obvious mimicry of the traditional imperial palace, with the green roof tiles symbolising the notion of growth and prosperity, the yellow facade symbolising the colour of royalty, and red columns representing happiness. Other features like the distinctive ‘artichoke leaf’ or ‘xie-shan’ roof, designed to repel rain as well as allow wind circulation within the structure. The ridges of the roofs are aligned with figures of miniature mythical creatures which is a symbolism of formidability in Chinese culture, along with the stone statues of lions up-front.

The design follows the Chinese belief of ‘feng-shui’, a traditional Chinese philosophical system, which is prominent in the octagonal decorations consistent all over the building. The 8 sided shape is auspicious as the number ‘8’, pronounced as ‘fa´ in Chinese dialect implies prosperity. Apart from the visually prominent octagonal roof form of the tower, there are actually several other instances of octagonal designs all over the building. These include the floor tiling, column base and ceiling decorations, and railings.

Prior to its 2012 transformation, TANGS occupied 15,000 square meters and boasted five selling floors, designed by New York-based Hambrecht Terrell International, noted for its work with Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's.[12]



In 2006, TANGS opened as an anchor tenant at shopping mall VivoCity. TANGS VivoCity occupies approximately 85,000 square feet (7,900 m²) of retail space.


Tangs marked its return to the Malaysian market with a store within Pavilion KL in 2007. The store has since re-located to 1 Utama,[13] this was followed by new locations in Subang Jaya (Empire Subang), and subsequent openings at Genting Highlands (First World Plaza) and Malacca.[14]


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