The Cheng Tsang Man Professorship is established with a generous gift from Prima Limited, in honour of the late founder, Mr Cheng Tsang Man. The objective of the Professorship is to strengthen academic and research excellence at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. It will be used to support an accomplished academic leader whose teaching and research has had a significant impact on architecture and engineering.  It provides focus and leadership in specialised areas of expertise within the fields of technology, design, innovation or entrepreneurship.

Mr Cheng Tsang Man (1916 – 2013)
The founder of Prima Limited, Mr Cheng Tsang Man, was a self-made man.
He was born in Yongchun, Fujian Province in China.  At the tender age of 8, he left China with an uncle to Ujung Pandang in Indonesia.

With little formal education, he relied on hard work, discipline and determination, and by his mid-thirties he had become a successful merchant, and expanded his business beyond Ujung Pandang. He prospered steadily and henceforth there was no turning back.

He offered to set up and operate Singapore’s first flourmill in the 1960’s.  Although he had no flourmilling experience, because of his confidence and enthusiasm, he was awarded the project.

He then migrated to Singapore with his family and was personally involved in all aspects of starting up the flourmill, including the naming of the Company.  The Company’s name “Prima” which means “First” in Latin had a significant meaning for Mr Cheng who had a strong preference for five-letter Latin words. Its Chinese name “Bai Ling Mai” which rhymes with “Prima” literally means “A hundred-year-old wheat”, signifying longevity on a solid foundation.  “Ling” was also the name of the late Mrs Cheng (nee Wang Miao Ling).

Since its founding, Mr Cheng had recognized human resource as an important asset, and placed great emphasis on the long service of its staff.  He extended the firm bond already established with the employees to their family members, so that they too can identify with Prima, and grow together as one “Prima Family”. To underline Prima’s commitment to the welfare of its staff and families, and in keeping with Mr Cheng’s passion for education, a Scholarship Fund for its employees’ children was set up in 1986 to commemorate the Company’s 25th Anniversary.

In success, Mr Cheng did not forget his roots.  Realising the physical and social needs of his beloved birthplace, Yongchun, he had also devoted much effort and money towards building educational, sporting, healthcare and infrastructure facilities in the city. 

Under Mr Cheng’s leadership, Prima grew from a modest flourmill to a diversified multi-national Group. His long and distinguished service largely brought this about. Mr Cheng Tsang Man retired as Executive Chairman on 19 June 1998 after serving in that capacity for 37 years. He graciously declined the S$3 million gratuity proposed by the Directors, and suggested that the Company instead donate it towards furthering education in Singapore, a cause which Mr Cheng and Prima had continually supported. 

Upon retirement, Mr Cheng accepted the Board’s invitation to remain as Honorary Life President, and the Group continued to benefit from his experience and wisdom. Mr Cheng passed away in 2013 at the ripe old age of 97.

Prima Limited was founded in 1961 as the first flour mill in S.E. Asia. The inauguration of Prima transformed the industry for Singapore and the region as it heralded the beginning of locally milled flour replacing imported flour. Our success provided the impetus for other countries in the region to establish their own flour mills.
From a modest flour miller, Prima has grown steadily to become an international industrial group. Operating in three strategic manufacturing hubs in Singapore, China and Sri Lanka, the Prima Group’s business today include flour milling, feed milling, food manufacturing, foodservice, F&B franchising, bakery equipment and systems, baking and culinary education, information technology, R&D services, trading and investments.
With annual turnover of over S$1 billion, the Prima Group employs about 4,000 people.
Prima’s stability and longstanding success are underpinned by the “3H” Corporate Philosophy laid down by its late founder Mr Cheng Tsang Man, which is:
  1. Building a Healthy organization
  2. Being an Honourable winner, and
  3. Making an Honest fortune