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These Singapore Tech CEOs Bought GCBs in 2021

Maelyn Lagman

Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) seem to be in hot demand among local tech entrepreneurs lately if we go by the slew of recent reports about them snapping up one of these properties one after another. 

To the uninitiated, GCBs are the most expensive housing type in Singapore. 

To be classed a GCB, the site must be located within one of the 39 GCB areas gazetted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which are mainly in districts 10, 11, 20, 21 and 23. There are GCBs from such prestige areas as Nassim and Tanglin to the outlying enclave at Chestnut Avenue.

GCB plot sizes must be at least 15,000 square feet (sq ft), with the built-up area not occupying more than 40 per cent of the land. Meanwhile, the building must not be more than two storeys high.

Since 2012, only Singapore citizens have been allowed to purchase GCBs. However, select foreigners and Permanent Residents (PRs) may still be granted special approval to acquire a GCB by the Singapore Land Authority if, for example, they provide proof of exceptional economic contributions to the country, among other criteria.

GCB buying frenzy: It all happened in July

Secretlab CEO Ian Ang buys $36m GCB in Caldecott Hill Estate 

Secretlab co-founder and CEO Ian Ang bought a $36m GCB in Caldecott Hill Estate.

Ian Ang, co-founder and current chief executive officer of popular gaming chair manufacturer Secretlab, made headlines at the start of July for snapping up a GCB in Caldecott Hill Estate. The property, which sits on a freehold plot of 23,424 sq ft, was reported to have a price tag of $36 million, or $1,537 per square foot. 

According to reports, he planned to tear down the existing double-storey detached house built in the 1940s and rebuild. While waiting for his new home to be ready, Ang was expected to enjoy his other recently purchased property: a $15 million, 5-bedroom, 7,007 sq ft triplex penthouse at Leedon Residence.

While his house shopping spree all seemed to come together in the span of just a week, he claimed that both purchases took two years to complete.  

Wife of Grab CEO Anthony Tan buys $40m GCB in Bin Tong Park 

Chloe Tong, the wife of Grab CEO Anthony Tan, bought a $40m GCB in Bin Tong Park.

Chloe Tong, the wife of Grab CEO Anthony Tan, was reported to have bought a freehold GCB in Bin Tong Park for $40 million in July 9. The property, located in one of the most affluent residential areas in Singapore, District 10, is near the local nightlife destination Holland Village and the Bukit Timah area. 

The $1,851 psf price of the 21,602 sq ft plot exceeded the last transacted price of $1,685 psf in the same area in December 2020, according to reports. 

As it was first built in the 1990s, Tong’s newly acquired bungalow is expected to be redeveloped. 

Tong’s GCB purchase came soon after Grab announced its plans to go public in the US through a US$40b SPAC deal.

Her purchase came soon after Grab announced its plans to go public in the US through a US$40 billion Special Purpose Acquisition Company deal later this year.

Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang buys $52.8m GCB along Third Avenue 

Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang bought a $52.8m GCB along Third Avenue.

Razer CEO Tan Min-Liang made headlines in July 10 when he purchased a $52.8 million GCB along Third Avenue. The freehold land spans 30,954 sq ft, which translates to $1,706 psf. 

Tan traded his law career to head the gaming devices firm in 2005.

Razer recorded its first profit since 2014 last year – the same year he made it on Forbes’ Singapore’s 50 Richest list –  with a net worth of US$650 million. 

TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zhi buys $86m GCB on Queen Astrid Park 

TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zhi bought an $86m GCB on Queen Astrid Park.

Singapore’s Chew Shou Zhi, who was appointed CEO of video-sharing application TikTok in May this year, joined the illustrious list when he bought an $86 million GCB on Queen Astrid Park. 

According to July 30 news reports, Chew’s 31,800 sq ft property translates to $2,700 psf. 

Chew started out as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs in 2006 and then moved on to DST Investment Management, where he made partner in 2010. 

Five years later, he joined Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi as its chief financial officer (CFO). 

In March 2021, Chew became CFO of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, before being named TikTok’s chief executive three months later. 

Other prominent GCB owners in Singapore include movie star Jet Li, HaiDiLao founder Zhang Yong and Alibaba founder Jack Ma. 

Who might be the next ultra-rich tech founder to snap up a GCB? Watch this space!

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Frequently asked questions about Good Class Bungalows

What is a Good Class Bungalow?

A Good Class Bungalow, commonly known as GCB, is the most exclusive type of landed housing in Singapore. GCBs can only be built in 39 gazetted areas in Singapore. What’s more, GCB plot sizes must be at least 15,000 square feet, with the built-up area not occupying more than 40 per cent of the land. Meanwhile, the building must not be more than two storeys high.

How much is a Good Class Bungalow?

GCB transactions in 2021 show purchase prices ranging from $7,580,000 to $128,800,800.

What’s the difference between a ‘normal’ bungalow and a Good Class Bungalow?

If a bungalow’s plot of land exceeds 15,000 square feet, it is most likely considered a Good Class Bungalow. GCBs must also be located within one of 39 areas gazetted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

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