Who would have thought, a poor boy from Hong Kong who just shared room from a small unit in a tenement will one day belong to one of the Philippines’ richest person of 2018, Andrew Tan.
Andrew Tan’s Early Life
Humble Beginnings of a Tycoon
Andrew Tan’s saga began in his early years in Hong Kong where his mom used to be a street vendor in the market place. The family originally came from Fujian, China and migrated in Hong Kong when Andrew is only 4 years old. Tan’s family didn’t make it good in Hong Kong, competition is very stiff and the cost of living is very high. They only shared a unit with another family in a tenement in Hong Kong just to save money in renting.
Andrew’s father decided to migrate in the Philippines when Andrew turned 16 in hope of greener pasteur. His father got a work at a transistor radio factory where Andrew used to sit with and do part time work to do minor task as an additional income for him and his father. They rented a cramped tiny apartment somewhere in Sta. Cruz Manila. After almost a week since they arrived in Manila, his father scolded him for waking up later than 5 am. His father told him that they should do better than what locals do. They have so much to work for as a new comer in a foreign land. Andrew learned from that experience the value of diligence as hard work and took his father’s advise from the heart.
His father worked so hard to send Andrew to school. Andrew studied Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in the University of the East, Recto Campus. His college days were never easy. He struggled so much as he barely have any money in his pocket but every time he does, he will make sure he save it for more important use in the future. He used to walk his way from home to school to be able to save money. Instead of riding a jeep, he prefer walking so his fare will be saved. His lunch at school are always the cheapest which is banancue. he also buy watches from the money he saved to sell it to his well off classmates. Aside from selling items, he also offer tutorial services on math subjects to his classmates and friends.
Upon graduating, Tan has became an excellent employee for Taipan businessman Leonardo Ty who owns Hitachi and Ajinomoto. His colleague often remember him as the most hardworking employee for Ty.
Start of an Empire
The Start of Andrew Tan’s Success Story
“Business was tough when I started my first company. When you don’t have much capital, it is paramount that you exercise your nose a lot, much like a dog that never ceases to sniff out for food. You cannot afford to fail and loose vital resources. That is how you develop an instinct for success.” Tan’s mindset during the time he is opening up his Megaworld business. It is unfortunate that only after two weeks since he launch his very first Megaworld project back in 1989, Coup de etat’ happened under the Cory Aquino regime. This threatening event made Tan fight for a hard decision to push thru with the project as he has no margin of error in his start up capital. Eight years after the coup took place, Asian Financial crisis came in year 1997. This tested Tan and Megaworld which directly threatened the real estate and development industry. Banks became adverse in granting financial loan and property loans to people. Tan think of an innovative way to overcome the challenge by launching the “live-work-play” mantra of Eastwood City. The success of Eastwood City Cyberpark mark as number one IT Park in the country which able to home hundreds of company and more than 40,000 employees. Not to mention the Eastwood city’s residential condo which are being enjoy by their residents and shoppers of its exquisite ambiance and culture.
The Product That Started It All!
Brandy served as an aspiration for the young Andrew Tan. When he finished his college degree in 1974, his father was so happy that he was able to have his son finished a degree despite of dire poverty. His father gave him a small treat of a simple get together at home with a single bottle of Fundador . His proud dad invited his co-workers in the factory to celebrate with them.
Tan’s homegrown Emperador Brandy has now taken the no. 1 largest selling brandy. His brand was once considered underdog in the liquor industry as he was competing face to face with Ginebra San Miguel & Tanduay Rhum which already embarked solid foundation in the distillery industry. Tan give a new concept on how liquor like his brand Emperador brandy should be advertised. Instead of going traditional where commercials are using beautiful, sexy woman as their brand ambassadors, he used the concept of success and the concept of being successful. This only connotes liquors are to celebrate success and not to seduce woman or vice versa. His advertising campaigns are joined by successful persons wearing only coats in all their TV commercials. His idea undeniably clicked to the Filipino consumers which make his product top as the best selling liquor in the country and the whole world.
Buying the Iconic Brand of Brandy
Fundador brandy is the oldest most iconic brandy in Spain established in 1874 and brought in the Philippines for over 150 year now. Andrew Tan always associated a bottle of Fundador brandy as a celebration of success because of that single bottle they had in their table back when they celebrated for his college graduation day.
In Nov. 30, 2015, Grupo Emperador signed a purchase agreement of 13.8 Billion pesos with Beam Suntory to purchase Bodegas Fundador. With the merging of Emperador and Fundador, it solidified the claim of being the largest selling brandy company in the world.
The acquisition become very meaningful not only for Andrew Tan but also for the Philippines, Couple of centuries ago when Spain colonized the Philippines and be under the Spanish rule for 300 long years. Seeing the flag of the Philippines over the flag of Spain in the Fundador vineyards in Jerez, Spain marks a successful accomplishment for the entire Filipino people. It just give utmost pride for the Philippines who was once colonized by many years but now able to conquer the world. Thanks to Dr. Andrew Tan.
“Do not expect everything to turn out the way you want it. Be ready for disappointments. You should have extra bullet to help you fight another battle.”