Founding of Hyflux


In 1989, Olivia Lum, a chemistry graduate from the National University of Singapore, left a promising career at Glaxo Pharmaceutical to fulfil her dream to set up her own business. Challenged by the difficulties that industries faced in treating the wastewater from their processes and anticipating increasing pollution of waterways with rising urbanisation and industrialisation, Olivia saw that the water treatment business could only be a “sunrise” industry. So armed with a big dream and youthful idealism to solve the world’s problems, Olivia sold her apartment and her car to raise S$20,000 as start-up capital for the business. Hydrochem (S) Pte Ltd was incorporated on 20 June 1989 and started operations with two other staff. During the early days, Olivia knocked on countless doors of factories in Singapore and Malaysia to sell water treatment products and systems using traditional technologies.