The award-winning coffee table book on the above-captioned subject deals about the life and work of an extraordinary man who accumulated his millions well before he was 30. He was not born to wealth and privilege. Dr. Andrew Lim Tan was born in Fujian, China. At age 4, the family moved to Hong Kong where he grew up. His family lived in a tenement unit shared with several families under sordid conditions. When he was 16, his family migrated to the Philippines where they rented a place in Sta. Cruz, Manila to be near to school and work.
His father worked in a transistor radio factory and his mother was a plain housewife. Despite their limited education, Andrew’s parents strongly encouraged their son to finish a college degree so that he could work in a bank where he could earn a stable income. But young Andrew had other ideas in mind. He wanted to go into business to provide for his family. After completing his high-school education at the Far Eastern University, he took up Business Administration, majoring in Accounting, at the University of the East where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He supported himself through college by selling watches, tutoring younger students in Math and working part time in an import-export business. After passing the CPA board examination, he worked in a company owned by a prosperous Filipino-Chinese taipan. He worked hard and was able to save money and raised a capital to partner in a trading firm importing and selling home appliances in bulk. He was also its most successful salesman providing supplies to appliances stores, big and small, around the country. In 1979, he acquired a small distillery company and renamed it Consolidated Distillers of the Far East. It was his ticket to big time business. Initially, his brandy, Emperador, had suffered reverses that almost wiped out his capital, but he persevered until it became the best selling brandy in the country. Then he turned his eyes on real estate development by putting up Megaworld Corporation. He pioneered the integrated township community where residential, commercial, entertainment and office spaces are combined in one development area. Eastwood City is the model for this township project, which has been replicated in many parts of the country. It is now a busy and thriving integrated township community which houses more than 20,000 residents and over 50,000 office workers. Forbes Town, Uptown Bonifacio and McKinley Hill in BGC, Taguig City were all inspired by the successful Eastwood project. The country is dotted with various real estate projects developed by its flagship property development company and its various subsidiary companies such as Empire East LandHoldings, Suntrust Properties, Inc., Global Estate Resorts, Inc., Township Development, Mactan Oceanview Properties and Holdings, Inc., Megaworld Newport Property Holdings, and several more. No doubt, Mr. Tan has greatly contributed to the improving landscape and gentrification of our cities and countryside. His business and cyberparks have spurred business growth and generated significant employment in the communities where they were built. Mr. Tan is the biggest BPO office provider and lessor in the Philippines, giving tremendous job opportunities to the Filipinos. The BPO is one of the resilient businesses that continue to thrive during this pandemic and provides a steady source of income to many Filipinos despite the widespread job disruption.
His phenomenal successes in distilled spirits manufacturing and real estate business did not deter him from pursuing interests in fast food, hotels and tourism and, lately, infrastructure. His famous brands now include Fundador, Spain’s biggest and oldest brandy house, McDonald’s, NxtGen stores, Pik-Nik International, Whyte and Mackay Blended Scotch, Travellers International Hotel Group, among others. Despite his status as one of the top five richest Filipinos with diverse business interests, Dr. Tan never forgot where he started. From a lowly appliance salesman, he’s now a fulfiller of men’s dreams. He provides you affordable but decent housing, or luxurious dream house, depending on your taste and budget. Dr. Tan can give you a job to bring food on your table; he can accommodate you in his boutique or luxurious hotels that suit your leisure money. And to many lowly wage earners where outside fast food dining after payday is a welcome family treat, a McDonald’s meal after the Sunday mass is the highlight of the month.
In his message to the readers of his coffee table book, Dr. Tan imparts these inspiring words: “May the stories of the companies we have built motivate you to keep pursuing your dreams, fuel your desire to prosper, and inspire your higher purpose in making your vision a reality.”
Within a decade since he started his own business, Dr. Tan earned his first billion. He did not inherit any fortune nor was he a crony of any president who gave him unfair advantage over others. Every cent of his vast fortune and every foundation of his sprawling empire was earned and laid through dint of hard work and industry. But his vision goes beyond the bottom lines of his various companies comprising his business conglomerate. His business ardor is matched only by his passion to serve others. Through Megaworld Foundation, Dr. Tan has supported 1,000 scholars every year to give opportunity to the poor to have access to quality education. It has sponsored community projects and partnered with various NGOs to provide housing for the poor, build and repair schools and provide assistance to frontliners and other vulnerable sectors of our society to cope with the pandemic. Dr. Tan speaks from the heart when he stated: “At the end of the day, we exist to serve others. This belief fuels the company’s passion to continuously give back to the society through our Megaworld Foundation.”
From my research, I learned that Dr. Tan was born in Fujian, China in 1952 but I never found out the exact date of his birth. But maybe he does not need one. God has blessed our country for giving us Dr. Tan who has immensely contributed to the financial well-being of our countless countrymen and the economic uplift of the Philippines. He is a gift to the Filipinos and everyday is a celebration of his remarkable life and extraordinary achievements.