Eric Lim, 2022 Hall of Honor Recipient

Kok Chong Dat (K.C.Dat), a mover from Kuala Lumpur, headed south to start a new company in Singapore with his business partner, Michael Lee, on July 11, 1963. Little did he know at the time, but from humble beginnings, the company become one of Asia’s most successful moving companies. K.C.Dat was a pioneer, an innovator, and an inspiration to others across the globe. His company’s success was due in large part to the energy, enthusiasm, and expertise of some extraordinary people—most notably, Eric Lim.


In 1969, K.C.Dat was sold to Harper Gilfillan Plc., a major trading company based in the UK. Eric Lim joined the company in 1975, about the time that the company was sold again to a consortium of some of the industry’s most recognized characters, led by Jean Jacques-Borgstedt, Martin Santini, and others.


Eric was a salesman for the company under the stewardship of Geoff Eyer as Managing Director. Geoff was an inspirational leader, and Eric and the other 20 or so employees were happy to work hard doing whatever was needed to achieve success. Then came a twist of fate—Geoff, the company’s driving force, had to return to the United States due to ill health in 1983. His departure left an opportunity for Eric, who had invested his profit-sharing bonuses to become a minority shareholder in the business, to become the General Manager. That was arguably the moment when the K.C.Dat we know was born.


A further change of ownership in 1990 saw Eric mortgaging his house to raise funds to buy back the shares. Soon, Eric managed to become the single biggest shareholder and in 2002 he gained a controlling interest. It took him 27 years, but at last Eric had bought the company he loved and had worked so hard to build into a success.


Eric was one of the first to recognize the opportunity of relocation when the rest of the moving industry turned a blind eye, hoping it would go away. He enlisted the support of companies of similar mind to K.C.Dat; the same firms that eventually were to provide the nucleus of Asian Tigers. The concept worked so well that it was copied in Latin America when international movers there created Latin American Relocation Management (LARM). LARM eventually was sold to Prudential Relocation (Scottsdale, Arizona, USA).


Eric was the inspiration behind Asian Tigers and help to build it into one of the driving forces in the moving industry. Over the years, Eric has also served in various industry organizations. He has been a board member of CETI, the Overseas Moving Network International (OMNI), Federation des Demenageurs Internationalaux (FIDI), and Unigroup Worldwide. He was area director for AMC, Pan American International Movers Association (PAIMA), Latin American & Caribbean International Movers Association (LACMA), and FIDI Asia. In 2006 he became the first Asian President of FIDI.


K.C.Dat now has offices in Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. Besides the moving business, the K.C.Dat Company handles general freight and project cargo. The company is also the leading office mover in Singapore. The fine art business is managed under Lotus Fine Art and the relocation business under Silk Relocation Ltd.


The company we see today is a far cry from the old days of working from a small rented office and a single-story warehouse in Jalan Terusan. Today, the company operates in a six-story office and a three-story warehouse. Under Eric’s leadership, the company has matured into a true world player and has adapted to meet the needs of a changing industry. The management of K.C.Dat has rarely been short of good ideas and the company continuously gains in strength.


The world is changing every minute, and if you don’t change it will pass you by. At 71 years old, and despite taking a back seat in the day-to-day running of the company, Eric has no plan to let anything pass him by. Succession in the business is secure with Eric’s younger brother John Lim as the Managing Director and a dedicated and experienced team in place. There is also plenty of young talent waiting in the wings, including Eric’s daughter Erika of whom he is immensely proud. After 50 years of success, the future looks rosy for Eric and K.C.Dat.