History and Milestones
The backbone of the SIG Group will always be the values to build a better, stronger, innovative, sustainable, and resilient future for humanity. In the timeline showcasing the family stories and achievements, explore the history and milestones that made the SIG Group.
The Zeng* Clan Ancestor Zengzi (505-425 BC) was a Chinese philosopher, the disciple of Confucius, revered as one of the Four Sages of Confucianism. Under the guidance of Confucius, he became the author of The Classic of Filial Piety, a work that examined the importance of this tenet in the Confucian system. After the death of Confucius, Zengzi assembled disciples around him and preached the way of Confucius.
* Note: Zeng, Tjan, Tsang, Chandra refers to the same clan that has different romanisation in different periods and regions.
Together with Zisi, Zengzi was the founder of the Confucian tradition that would later become famous under Mengzi. During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-755) of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Zengzi was given the honorific title of Earl of Cheng.
In the second year of the Tang Dynasty Guangqi period (886), Zeng Yanshi (20th Generation) was ordered by the Emperor to lead his family to assist his brother Wang Chao and Wang Shenzhi to enter Fujian, and remove the local separatist forces. He moved to Fuzhou, Tingzhou, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, and finally settled in the Longshantou area of Jinjiang County, Quanzhou. The descendants of Zeng Yanshi prospered and multiplied into a big family, known as The House of Longshan.
When the status of Mengzi rose under the influence of the Neo-Confucians during the early Song period (960-1279), Zengzi also became one of the highest sages in Confucianism. Emperor Huizong of the Song (r. 1100-1125) bestowed on Zengzi the title of Marquis Wucheng, and Emperor Duzong of the Song (r. 1264-1274) bestowed on him as Duke of Cheng.
The Zeng clan was famous for the good reputation of "One Clan, Four Prime Ministers". The Zeng Ancestral Hall showcasing the calligraphies bestowed by emperors for the appointment of four important Prime Ministers at different times during the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1270. The Zeng Ancestral Hall was established over a thousand years ago and still serves as the connection of the clan today.
In Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), Zengzi was given the honorific title of Duke Zongsheng and became the third Confucian Saint, only after Yan Yuan and Confucius himself. However, the Zeng clan was reluctant to serve the Mongolian imperials and the whole clan left the Court for nearly one century.
Since the Zeng clan left the Court, the Zeng became one of the most important families doing international import and export in Quanzhou and Zhangzhou. Quanzhou was the starting point of China's Maritime Silk Road. During the Song and Yuan Dynasties, Quanzhou was hailed as the "world's largest port" by the medieval traveller Marco Polo. Later, Zhangzhou became the major port for trading with Portugal and Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Zeng's Grand Ancestral Hall was built in the Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty (1405), at the same period as the construction of the Beijing Forbidden City. Zeng Shoulun was the royal teacher for Yongle Emperor, and he served as a high official in the Imperial Court. After Zeng Shoulun's retirement, the Yongle Emperor approved to use National Treasury to build Zeng's Grand Ancestral Hall.
After centuries of development, in the 19th Century, part of the family moved to Southeast Asia to further develop the family business. The family established its international trading company to actively promote trade between China and Southeast Asia, to also Europe and the Americas.
Other than international import and export business, the family had been developing integrated industries in Indonesia to magnify the family influence and promote modern industrial reform. In the early 20th Century, the family investment in the industrialisation of rice mills has been a great success which change the rice production industry completely and generated enormous wealth for the family.
Khoengiok Tjan (Shelley’s grandfather) devoted to expanding the family business after his graduation from Fudan University in Shanghai. Other than helping with the family rice mills business, he also developed his steel, powerboats, and aircraft business in Asia. He was also the patented inventor of Vertical Landing and Take-Off aircraft. In the 1930s, he interacted with Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor, on the future of engine and aero-industry development.
Niu Zhenmin (Shelley's great grandfather) started his international trading business between China, Russia, Mongolia and Japan in Ulaanbaatar. The business was forced to end due to the Mongolian Revolution of 1911. Thus, Niu joined the then Chinese government to serve the country. He led several battles to protect the people during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Niu was also famous for establishing schools during the War to ensure students to continue their education. To protect the family from assination, he left his role as the District Mayor of Nangong at the end of the War.
In 1943, Niu Zhenmin established Taiji Coal Mine in Beijing. The family stepped into the energy industry since then. With his outstanding business talents, Niu Zhenmin became one of the Four Big Tigers of the booming energy field, who also owned construction materials and railway business in China. Meanwhile, Niu Zhenmin's brother who served as the Party Secretary of Eight Route Army 120 Division, North China Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and the Beijing University of Science and Technology, had been honourably awarded by China Premier Zhou Enlai.
The family investment in the industrialisation of rice mills has been a great success and developed into the largest rice mills group in Indonesia. The family later monopolized the development of the modern Indonesian rice mills industry and ranked as one of the richest families in Indonesia in the 1950s. The booming family business also led to the new development of its integrated businesses including rubber, logging, shipbuilding, and manufacturing.
With his unique powerboat designs and state-of-the-art technology breakthroughs, Khoengiok Tjan won three consecutive years of international powerboating championships. Hence, the powerboat business of Khoengiok Tjan flourished, he opened new shipyards and established cooperations with many top yacht and powerboat clubs. Later, his business partners started military shipbuilding for the Indonesian Navy.
Yang Yugeng (Shelley’s grandfather) started his political career in the Central Commission of the Communist Youth League of China after his graduation from the National Central University. He was fully devoted in the construction of New China with great passion. Yang was proudly participated in the Beijing Workers Stadium construction project. It was one of the Ten Great Buildings constructed in 1959 for the 10th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
During Yang Yugeng's decades of work in the Central Government of China, he was the founding and organising committee member of many national large-scale sports events, such as the First and Second National Games of China in the 1960s, and the famous Sino-US Table Tennis Friendship Tournament (as known as the Ping-Pong Diplomacy) in the 1970s. On behalf of China, he was passionate to promote sports and peace worldwide, including the organisation of sport events and the sponsorship of sports equipment to African and South American countries.
Since the Open Door Policy in 1979, the family was invited by the China State Council to showcase the upper-class traditional Chinese lifestyles with the world and enhance cultural interactions. Therefore, more than 3000 prestigious guests from many different countries visited the family's Beijing Courtyard located in the south of Zhongnanhai over the years. Later, the family life was filmed as a documentary and broadcasted in Europe.
Since the 1980s, the family has been actively supporting China's international development, and promoting the development of China and international investment and financing. The family has been keeping pace with the development of the new era, reorganizing and reforming family resources with wisdom, and becoming part of the economic miracle of the 40 years China's Open Door Policy.
In 2019, the elders in the family were awarded the Commemorative Medal for "Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China", in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the development of the People's Republic of China.
SIG Group Holding demonstrated its support for the United Nations and inclusive multilateralism by signing the Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation. This powerful Statement, including the full list of CEO supporters from more than 100 countries, was presented to the United Nations Secretary-General on the sidelines of the High-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.