The 2017 Life Power List

Entertainment powerhouse


1 Mr Melvin Ang, 54, executive chairman of mm2 Asia

"According to feng shui, any '17' year is not supposed to be good for me," says Mr Ang.

Perhaps he needs a new reading.

This year, his entertainment conglomerate's expansion binge kicked into high gear, with growing profits to boot, making it the most dominant company in the local entertainment industry.

mm2 Asia has a wide umbrella of subsidiaries that make it a top dog in show business.

It produces films - such as this year's box-office hit Ah Boys To Men 4 - distributes them, manages artists and organises concerts. Its operations extend beyond local shores to Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Last month, it acquired Cathay Cineplexes for $230 million, giving it just under one-third of all screens in Singapore.

mm2's expansion comes on the back of a stellar year in earnings. This year, it posted a 30 per cent year-on-year rise in net profit to $6.4 million.

It first entered the Life Power List at No. 7 in 2014 because it was the first local film production company to be listed in the Singapore Exchange. Today, market analysts love its diverse entertainment holdings, which give it the ability to weather slumps, negotiate better deals and carry out cross-promotions.

"We have had a lot of success and I'm thankful to everyone around me," says Mr Ang, who got his start in the 1990s as head of business development at the then Television Corporation of Singapore.

The father of two sons says mm2 Asia will continue to expand regionally because Singapore's market is too small to consume and produce entertainment in quantities that can make the island a Bollywood-like regional powerhouse.

"We have a lot of talent here, we can groom it here, but we have to give it a lot of space. That space is outside Singapore," he says.

John Lui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 03, 2017, with the headline 'Entertainment powerhouse'. Print Edition | Subscribe