About Us

History of Kai Lim

The 1920s was a period of mass exodus. Hit by severe droughts and overcrowded villages, many young men left China to seek their fortunes in South East Asia.

Lim Lian Chiat The Founder of Kai Lim

Accompanied by a friend, 7 year’s old Lian Chat left his small Kai Ha village in Fujian’s Nam Ann province to join his widowed mother in Singapore. In true entrepreneurial spirit, he progressed from selling his mother’s Ba-chang (rice dumplings) around the Tong-Kang (wooden cargo ship) yard to wood-working craftsman in the same yard.

Lim Lian Chiat Founder of Kai Lim

Kai Lim Timber Merchant and Co.

In 1952, he established Kai Lim Timber Merchant and Co., a building hardware provisions store along Changi Road.

Struggling single-handedly, he build up a solid reputation while providing a living for his growing family. He ran the business for 35 years until his untimely demise in Mid-Autumn festival night of 1987.

Today, his children proudly carry on the “Kai Lim” name.

First Shop in 1952

Kai Lim Singapore and The Children

Our store along Changi Road houses our main depot serving DIY customers, building designers and contractors for their building repair and maintenance works.

Eldest Son, Lim HONG-CHEW, manages our new DIY section.
If you can’t decide on a certain design e.g. colour scheme; material usage etc. – Ask him.

Second Son, HONG-LEONG, runs the overall operations.
If you need help in local statutory building codes and guideleines (URA, BCA, HDB, Town Council, etc.), or,
Special products and logistical requirements, or,
Solutions to problems during construction, etc. – Ask him.

Third son, HONG-LIU, also popularly known as YEW, worked around the world with Esso/Exxon (the oil giant).
Today, he oversees Kai Lim’s investment and financial matters.

HONG-GEE is an Industrial Engineer and a qualified Clerk-of-Works.
Having worked with Indeco Engineers, he has contributed to Kai Lim’s growing contractual supplies, e.g. ST Engineering, SASCO, schools and projects.

Daughters, BEE CHIN (Left), and BEE GIM, support the four brothers in administrative and HR matters.

Kai Lim Family Photo