Green Asia

Hong Kong investment firm takes full ownership of Popular bookstore chain


SINGAPORE: Hong Kong investment firm ZQ Capital has acquired and assumed full ownership of Popular Holdings (PHL).

The Singapore-based company, which publishes, distributes and retails books for both the educational and general fiction markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China, announced the “strategic ownership change”, starting from Wednesday (Nov 1), in a press release. 

The takeover includes all of its businesses in greater China, Singapore, Malaysia and North America. According to its website, Popular also operates in Taiwan and the United Kingdom (UK). The company did not disclose the terms of the acquisition.

Popular said the decision to sell to ZQ Capital would not affect the company’s human resources policies, ensuring “continuity in terms of headcounts and renumeration”.

The company added it would “maintain its corporate culture” and “sustain the momentum of our current business operations”.

“PHL assures its valued customers, staff, suppliers, partners and all stakeholders that amidst this transition, there will be no change in the values it holds, the way it operates or the services it provides,” it said. 

On the decision to sell to ZQ Capital, Popular added it had “full confidence” that the move would steer the company towards a “more prosperous and successful future”. 

The identification of “market leaders which are beneficiaries of long-term macroeconomic trends in China” is among the investment strategies employed by ZQ Capital as stated on its website. 

Popular, which was delisted from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2015, has a long-standing presence in Singapore, with its first bookstore opening in 1936. 

According to its website, it has 25 retail stores in Singapore, with dozens more in Malaysia and Hong Kong, while its property arm has developed condominiums such as One Robin in the Tanglin area.

However, Popular has closed several of its retail stores in Singapore in recent years, with its Marine Parade outlet shutting down in June this year. Its stores at Thomson Plaza and IMM shuttered in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

CNA has contacted ZQ Capital for more information on the acquisition.


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