“My philosophy as a businessman is really quite simple: Just keep working and investing whatever profit you make in new businesses. That way, you generate more jobs and help the country’s economy grow,”
-Dr.Andrew L. Tan
Andrew Tan’s homeland is in the Fujian province of China. His family migrated to Hong Kong when he was four years old. At 16, he came to the Philippines to join his father who was then working in a transistor radio factory.
Tan recalls the difficult period, “I lived with my parents in a cramped 20 square meter apartment in Sta. Cruz, Manila. I struggled throughout my college days because I had no money.” He prefer to walk every day from apartment to school instead of riding public jeepneys in order to save money to the UE campus on C.M. Recto.
During his first two years as a student, he supported himself by selling watches and tutoring grade school students in math on a part-time basis. It was hard juggling a part-time job and going to college, but Tan never complained. He learned that whether working or studying, doing it as best as he could bring him a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. It also helped him become a better person.
Most of Tan’s classmates were better off than him since their families owned small businesses such as a grocery or hardware store. That started him to dream of doing his own business to give his family a better life.
He quipped, “I would tell myself that if I had P200, 000 ($4,500)—a lot of money back then—I would use it to open a grocery store!”
The young Andrew took up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Accountancy in University of the East and eventually graduated magna cum laude in 1974. Also in his younger years, he used to be an employee of taipan Mr. Leonardo Ty of Union Hitachi, Ajinomoto and other notable businesses. Such a feat for a young dreamer armed only with the values of hard work, tenacity and a burning desire to help his family have a better life! Dr. Andrew L. Tan has indeed gone far from his simple dream of owning a small grocery store to becoming one of Asia’s wealthiest businessmen.
At present, his publicly listed holding company, Alliance Global Group, is one of the Philippines largest conglomerates, with interests in gaming (Resorts World Manila), food and beverage industry (Emperador Inc), real estate development (Megaworld, Empire East, GERI, Suntrust) quick service restaurants Mcdonalds and Hospitality (Richmond, Marriott and Sheraton Hotels).