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POPULAR Bookstore Chain Allegedly Bought Over By Hong Kong Investment Firm, CEO Retiring

POPULAR Bookstore Chain Allegedly Acquired By Hong Kong Investment Firm ZQ Capital

Mention ‘POPULAR’ and many Singaporeans would likely reminisce about their childhood. From doodling on testing paper strips to finding textbooks and assessment books, the iconic bookstore was the source of countless fond memories.

Now, reports have emerged that ZQ Capital — an investment company based in Hong Kong — has acquired the bookstore chain.

Source: Google Maps

Following the acquisition, POPULAR’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is reportedly set to retire. The company’s existing core values and operations, however, are expected to remain.

Hong Kong investment firm acquires POPULAR bookstore chain: Zaobao

According to Lianhe Zaobao, ZQ Capital fully acquired the homegrown company for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday (1 Nov).

Source: Google Maps

POPULAR reportedly confirmed the acquisition and said the company’s core values and operations will stay the same.

Citing a letter to suppliers in Malaysia, Zaobao claimed that POPULAR announced its CEO Chou Cheng Ngok’s decision to retire.

The letter also stated that POPULAR will position itself as a “comprehensive education service provider” on top of its retail, distribution, and publishing businesses. It will also be looking at expanding into China and other emerging markets in Southeast Asia.

MS News has contacted POPULAR for a statement. We’ll update the article if they get back.

Started operating in Singapore in 1924

POPULAR’s chain of bookstores has been operating in Singapore since 1924. In its early days, the initial stores bore the name ‘Cheng Hing Company’ and specialised in Chinese comics and storybooks.

Source: POPULAR Holdings Limited

In 1935, Cheng Hing Company merged with World Book Company, one of the leading Chinese book publishers in Singapore and Malaysia.

World Book Company later merged with Popular Book Company in 1994.

Popular Holdings was incorporated as a private company in 1996 and listed on the Singapore Exchange the following year.

The company later exited the list following its privatisation in 2015.

According to POPULAR’s website, the chain has 169 stores across Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

In recent years, however, several POPULAR outlets in Singapore have shuttered, including branches in IMM and Marine Parade.

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps

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