Toh Aik Choon

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Toh Aik Choon
Toh Aik Choon in Atlanta, Georgia. (circa 1987)
Born (1927-07-26)26 July 1927
Penang, Malaya
Died 13 September 1990(1990-09-13) (aged 63)
Republic of Singapore
Citizenship Singapore
Education Chung Ling High School, Penang
Occupation Trader
Spouse(s) Khoo Lay Kee

Serene Toh
Merlene Toh [1] [2]

James Toh[3]

Toh Aik Choon was born in the Malayan seaport of Penang in 1927. He was the youngest child in a family of three, he had an elder brother who was killed in the Second World War, and an elder sister. A.C. attended the Chung Ling High School in Penang before his education was disrupted by the Second World War.

He worked for the Sim Lim Trading Co. in Penang, before transferring to the Singapore head office in 1952, after his marriage to Khoo Lay Kee.

By 1962, Aik Choon had become Managing Director of Sim Lim Co. Ltd,[4] which was listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Aik Choon was instrumental in many of the joint venture industrial enterprises that Sim Lim commenced in that period.[5][6][7][8] In particular, he was Director of Malayan Shipbreakers Ltd. 1961(Singapore's first ship-breaking company),[9] Chairman of Pan Malaysia Paint Industry Ltd (1962–65),[10][11][12] and a founding director of Nippon Paint (S) Co. Pte Ltd (1965–75),[13][14] National Iron and Steel Mills Ltd (1964), Malayan Iron and Steel Mills Ltd (1968),[15] Decola (S) Ltd,[8] and Director of Sim Lim Investments Ltd (n.k.a Pacific Century Regional Development Limited).[8][16]

Aik Choon left Sim Lim in 1969 to start his own company, A.C.T. Enterprises Pte Ltd,[17] which became a holding company for various joint ventures he started.[18] Capitalizing on the first wave of Japanese investment into South East Asia in the 1970s, he started numerous manufacturing and trading joint ventures during this period, including Fujitec Singapore Corporation Ltd,[19] Hitachi (Singapore) Pte Ltd,[20] Hitachi Consumer Products (S) Pte Ltd, Nissei Sangyo (S) Pte Ltd, Hitachi Consumer Products (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Hitachi Cable (S) Pte Ltd, and Toyo Metal Products (S) Pte Ltd.

He was also an early investor in the US real estate market,[21][22][23] where he started developing industrial land in Dekalb County, Georgia, through the Atlanta International Industrial Park.[24] In 1987 he started A.C.T. Investments, Inc. together with Peter E. Chang.[25] The company’s first project was the development of the 36 storey luxury apartments, the Grandview in Buckhead, Atlanta.[26][27]

In joint venture with China Travel Services, A.C. Toh started CTS' first US headquarters in Atlanta in 1988. The Atlanta office started organizing group tours from continental USA to China in 1989[28]

In the early 80s, Aik Choon was energized by the potential of the China market, and worked relentlessly to bring foreign investors and consultants to the People’s Republic of China.[29] In 1984, he started the Tianjin International Technology Consulting Centre (ITC) in Tianjin, in collaboration with the Science and Technology Commission. ITC became the first sino-foreign joint venture consulting company, with a no-dividend policy for 50 years.[30] He became an honorary citizen of Atlanta and the State of Georgia, and was posthumously awarded honorary citizenship of the City of Tianjin, and the prestigious Friendship Award by the State Department of the People’s Republic of China.

A.C. Toh died in September 1990, age 63, survived by his wife and three children, Serene, Merlene and James.


  1. ^ "Neehao British Chinese and East Asian Culture". 
  2. ^ "News on AsiaOne". 
  3. ^ "Bloomberg Businessweek". 
  4. ^ 森林有限公司卅周年暨新厦落成纪念刊. "Souvenir in commemoration of our 30th anniversary and the official opening of our new building". 
  5. ^ The Straits Times, 16 April 1965, Pg 6. "Paint plant opened by Dr. Goh". 
  6. ^ The Straits Times, 15 April 1965, Pg 10. "Yet another symbol of confidence". 
  7. ^ The Strait Times 14 May 1968 Pg 13. "'Giants' backed by finance, skill & expertise". 
  8. ^ a b c The Straits Times, 14 May 1968, Pg 12. "Japanese technology helps Republic's pioneering spirit". 
  9. ^ The Singapore Free Press, 20 July 1961, Pg 19. "Singapore's first ship-breaking company opens today". 
  10. ^ Moving Image & Sound Archives Singapore. "Opening of Pan-Malaysia Paint Industry Ltd". 
  11. ^ Souvenir magazine of Pan-Malaysia Paint Ind. Ltd. "Official opening day, April 15, 1965". 
  12. ^ The Straits Times, 27 November 1962, Page 13. "14 more firms to start in Singapore". 
  13. ^ Periodical "The who's who in Malaysia and Singapore" Publisher:Kuala Lumpur, SolaiPress, From 1963 onwards
  14. ^ The Straits Times 31 January 1964, Page 17. "Director of the Mills". 
  15. ^ "Memorandum of Articles of Association of Pacific Century Regional Development Limited" (PDF). 
  16. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek - A.C.T. Enterprises Pte Ltd. "A.C.T Holdings Pte Ltd". 
  17. ^ The Straits Times, 13 November 1973, Pg 9. "S'pore Japan tie-up to control pollution". 
  18. ^ The Straits Times 17 January 1973 Pg17. "$30 Million S'pore-Japan Co. to build lifts". 
  19. ^ The Straits Times 16 September 1990 Pg30. "Chairman, Hitachi Pte Ltd Pg 30". 
  20. ^ The Commercial Exchange "Persistance Distinguishes Successful Developers From The Rest of the Field"
  21. ^ TOH "Toh Expanding Local Presence" Fulton County Daily Report 18 July 1988
  22. ^ Singapore Monitor, 15 September 1984, Pg 12. "Atlanta delegation coming to seek investments from S'pore and HK". 
  23. ^ Donald R. Jonnston "Toh Expands Atlanta Presence"
  24. ^ Bloomberg, Businessweek E. "Peter E. Chang". 
  25. ^ Grandview, The E. "Wikimapia - The Grandview (ACT INVESTMENTS)". 
  26. ^ Alice Murray Wright, "High-Rise Living Offers Alternative To Long Commute From Suburbia"
  27. ^ The Atlanta Journal And Constitution Monday, 15 August 1988"Maria Saporta "China's No.1 Travel Agency to Open It's First U.S. Headquarters in Atlanta"". 
  28. ^ 1996 3rd Issue, Tianjin Science & Technology. "科技咨询产业如何走向国际市场". 天津科技 1996年第03期 (3). ISSN 1006-8945. 
  29. ^ Centric Austria International. "Partners".