Marrying into a successful business family can be daunting, especially when you’re invited to take up a dominant position in the company. Did he get this on merit or because he was the son-in-law? Roy Fong wasn’t too concerned either way at the time.
He was himself an established architect with DP Architects, an international firm, when he tied the knot with long-time sweetheart, Cheryl Wee – actress, socialite and scion of the Jean Yip Group – in 2017.
“At the end of that year, there was a property boom and I was asked to join the group to help manage and grow the property portfolio with more developments,” says the 31- year old co-owner of 9Round master franchise for Singapore. “Along the way, I also started looking into the company’s corporate development as it was generally a lifestyle business.”
Jean Yip, which started in 1982 as a hairdressing salon in Katong, is today a dominant player in the slimming and beauty industry, and has outlets in South-east Asia and China. Wee herself has Cheryl W, her own wellness and weight management brand for young independent women.
Once on board, Fong identified a niche in the fitness industry, which he felt would attract Jean Yip’s regular clientele – a female-dominated gym. “Most gyms are androcentric. Cheryl and I have been to many and they tend to be so intimidating for women. The environments also often don’t meet their grooming needs.”
“MANY GYMS TEND TO BE SO INTIMIDATING FOR WOMEN”
After discussing his plans to fill this vacuum in the industry with the rest of the Jean Yip Group, Fong closed in on the perfect brand to capture a good slice of the market – 9Round Fitness. Its concept revolves around a user-friendly system of nine gruelling workout stations developed by kickboxing world champion Shannon Hudson and his wife Heather in 2008 in the US.
It also gives members the convenience of turning up at any time they want at the gyms. There are no scheduled classes, but trainers are always on hand to help them in their workouts.
“There are now over 700 9Round gyms around the world,” says Fong. “We hold the master franchise in Singapore and opened our first gym in January at the junction of Joo Chiat and East Coast Road in a building we own. 9Round is for both genders, but just like the rest of its gyms, it tends to be most popular with women.”
While it is too early to measure its success, Fong says, “We’ve already sold two franchises for 9Round gyms that should open some time in the middle of the year,” he adds. “Our target is to have about 30 in Singapore within the next five to seven years.”
How Roy Fong keeps fit
I grew up playing competitive tennis. I also did track and field, and played football. These days, I’m only into tennis and golf. Cheryl has been very active since young and does a lot of dancing. She is into ballet and has learnt Broadway dancing in New York. We go to the gym to supplement our main activities, and to build up core strength and endurance.
We basically eat everything, but try to eat a lot more vegetables and fruits, and avoid deep fried food in general. We eat most things for breakfast as well as lunch, and then eat less carbs and red meat for dinner.
Offers a kickboxing-themed fitness programme that integrates cardio and circuit training regimens in a proprietary system of nine workout stations.
131 East Coast Road, #02-01.
Mon-Fri, 6am-10am and 5pm-9pm; Sat, 8am-12pm; Sun, 8am-12pm.