Founder Leung Yun Chee emigrated from China to Singapore to seek his fortune. In a chance meeting, he met a German physician called Dr. Schmeidler, who gave him a recipe for a medicated oil, said to cure all manner of ailments. Leung Yun Chee was impressed by its wide range of applications, and was inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that was sweeping Singapore, marketed and sold his newly discovered cure-all remedy. Axe Brand Universal Oil was born.
The powers of the medicated oil were not immediately recognized by everyone, and Leung Yun Chee faced stiff competition from competing brands in China and Hong Kong. Undeterred and naturally ambitious, Leung Yun Chee set about marketing his new product. Adopting the axe for its logo, he employed a team of illustrators and graphic designers to help him craft an enduring and now iconic, visual identity. This was a pioneering marketing move, and established Axe Brand Universal Oil as a cut above the rest. Next Leung Yun Chee started producing pamphlets detailing the benefits of the oil which he distributed all over Singapore, and sure enough, sales began to pick up.
As war broke out around the world, many businesses found themselves struggling to survive. However, for Leung Yun Chee, it was an opportunity to expand. During the war the Japanese occupied Singapore, and trading ceased. This meant that Leung Yun Chee’s once stiff competition from abroad ceased to be a problem. As a result, Axe Brand Universal Oil became the go-to brand, and established itself as leader in medicated oils.
The company continued to expand and as it did so it reached markets beyond Asia. The first significant foreign market was Saudi Arabia, after the Axe Medicated Oil had been adopted by pilgrims on their way to hajj. Often these arduous trips were made by sea, in cramped and uncomfortable conditions. Suffering from headaches, giddiness and insect bites, pilgrims came to rely on the naturally soothing properties of Axe Medicated Oil to treat their ailments. In their respective countries, sales began to increase.
In 1971, founder Leung Yun Chee passed away, leaving his son, Leong Heng Keng, to take over the expanding business. Leong Heng Keng had been working with his father for over twenty years, and was later joined by his brother, Leong Mun Sum, who rejoined the company as Managing Director in 1986.
With 5 GMP certified factories, all boasting state-of-the-art technology, Axe Brand is proud to be one of the leading brands of medicated oil in Asia, and a recognised heritage brand in Singapore. It still retains the spirit and passion of its founding father, Leung Yun Chee, who started the company over 80 years ago.
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