Singapore Apple reseller CEO quits as local store looms

EpiCentre Holdings CEO Fong Teck Loon has resigned after selling off his shares in the company, months ahead of a rumoured November opening of Apple's own retail store in Singapore.

The CEO of Singapore-based Apple reseller, EpiCentre Holdings, has quit after selling off his shares in the company and amid rumours that Apple's own local retail store is set to open in November.

EpiCentre announced the resignation of CEO Fong Teck Loon in an SGX filing Sunday along with the appointment of Lim Tiong Hian as executive chairman and interim CEO. Effective from August, the changes come months ahead of the reported launch of Apple's own retail store in the city-state.

EpiCentre said Fong's notice period was shortened based on mutual agreement between the board and former CEO, who had assumed the role in April 2002. In a July 4 filing, the company also had announced Fong's resignation as executive director.

Fong had founded EpiCentre in 2002, establishing it as an Apple Premium Reseller Store and one of few retailers authorised to resell Apple products in Singapore. According to its website, it currently runs five outlets in Singapore and six in Malaysia.

Other retailers since had joined the fray to resell Apple products, including IT and electronics retail chains Best Denki and Challenger.

Reports that Apple would soon open its own retail outlet in the country surfaced last year, with its senior vice president of retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts, later confirming plans for the company's first local storefront in a Straits Times article.

Apple in November last year signed a long-term agreement with Singapore-based solar energy provider, Sunseap Group, which would see the iPhone maker's local operations as well as retail store powered fully by renewable energy.

While the company had yet to confirm the location of its local store, Apple news site 9to5Mac last week posted pictures of construction works at a building along Singapore's Orchard Road shopping strip. Rumoured to house the new store, the location looked to span three stories, with construction expected to complete October 31.

For its financial year, ended June 30, 2015, EpiCentre reported a 3.6 percent revenue growth to S$178.5 million, attributing the increase to the launch of iPhone 6 in the first half of 2015. The company also runs EpiLife stores, which feature various IT lifestyle products and accessories as well as the group's proprietary brand products, iWorld.

In his statement to shareholders published in the company's 2015 annual report, Fong said EpiCentre had looked to diversify its revenue streams and provide a platform for "complementary third-party" brands including local brands such as Kube, iTwin, and iMuse.


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