Global fashion entrepreneur and luxury hotelier
Christina Ong is both a global fashion entrepreneur and a luxury hotelier. Her Club 21 group runs some 400 luxury fashion and lifestyle stores worldwide. She is also the founder of the multi-award winning niche international hotel brand COMO Hotels, and continues to develop her Wellness and spa brand COMO Shambhala.
Christina’s introduction to the world of business was through her late father, the oil trader Peter Fu Yun Siak, founder and head of Singapore’s Kuo International trading group. In 1972 aged just 24, Christina founded Club 21, a high-end boutique in Singapore.
The Club 21 chain now runs 33 franchise stores in Singapore, featuring exclusive international brands. It also has stores in 13 other countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and China. Its holdings include Ishop, reportedly the biggest distributor of the Apple brand in Asia.
In 2000, Christina acquired a stake in British leather and fashion company Mulberry and, after taking control of the flagging business in 2002, oversaw its transformation into a highly successful international luxury brand.
But retail is only a part of Christina’s empire. In 1991 she acquired her first hotel, The Halkin, in London. This was followed by the acquisition of the Metropolitan London, and then the exclusive Parrot Cay beach resort in Turks and Caicos Islands, a multi-award winning luxury retreat situated on a private Caribbean island.
The successful businesswoman now also owns the Cocoa Island resort in the Maldives, the Metropolitan Bangkok, the Uma Ubud in Bali, and the Uma Paro mountain retreat in Bhutan. All have been consolidated under the name COMO. She is developing her new age COMO Shambhala brand of spa centres and resorts, and co-owns the Shambhala Bali with her good friend Donna Karan, the world renowned designer.
Often described as Singapore’s preeminent style icon, Christina received The Italian Fashion Hall of Fame Award in 1995, and the Italian Award of Cavaliere De Lavo.
In 2007 Christina was appointed an Independent Non-Executive Director at Singapore Airlines Ltd, and Chairman of the National Parks Board.
An extremely private person, Christina has a reputation for being a hands-on, detail oriented businesswoman. She is married to the business magnate and investor Ong Beng Seng. The couple have two children. The eldest, Melissa, joined the board of the UK fashion house Mulberry in 2011.
"My eyes are my advantage, but they are also my curse. Nothing is ever perfect."