Dato Richard CK Koh

Jun 5, 2015, 15:41 PM

Jodi Helmer

In 1973, after traveling to California and experiencing DisneyLand for the first time, Dato Richard CK Koh made the bold decision to launch the theme park consulting firm Only World Group (OWG). 

Richard KohFrom humble beginnings, Malaysia-based OWG has pioneered change in the Asian theme park industry and grown into a leader in amusement park and theme park development.

Over the past four decades, OWG has been involved in projects with numerous well-known theme parks across Asia, including Universal Studios Singapore, Wet World Waterparks and Mines Wonderland; OWG also operates several of its own waterparks, FECs, food and beverage businesses as well as a spa and resort.

The diverse portfolio – and willingness to think big – has helped the firm earn accolades in the Malaysia Book of Records for the Longest Family Coaster at Desa WaterPark in Kuala Lumpur and the Longest Water-Propelled Coaster at Wet World Shah Alam in Selangor.

As president and CEO, Koh has earned a title, too: King of Malaysian Theme Parks.

The moniker refers to his ability to lead a team that designs, builds and manages a diverse group of theme parks across Asia as well as his passion for the industry.

Koh cites the “fun and unique business model” as the motivation for spending his career creating attractions that encourage guests to have a good time. In fact, he’s built his entire business around that concept: The OWG philosophy is, ““Fun, Food and Good Living.”

Koh says one of the biggest rewards of his job is, “Seeing people smiling coming out from the parks.”

It takes a lot of behind the scenes work to ensure guest satisfaction. To stay abreast of the trends, Koh is an active member of several associations, including World Waterpark Association and Malaysian Association of Amusement where he served as president from 2003 and 2013.

Koh joined IAAPA in 1976 and currently serves on the board of directors. He values the educational sessions, networking opportunities and expos to learn about the latest products and trends. As he explains, IAAPA gives him access to, “Everyone in the industry such as architects, designers, operators [and] suppliers.”

“Anytime you have a problem, you can find a solution at IAAPA,” Koh says.