Birthday: March 23, 1952
Nationality: Chinese, Malaysian
Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun
Born Country: Malaysia
Born in: Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia
Famous as: Investor
Spouse/Ex-: Pat Tan née Phua Kim Kee
father: Tan Lam Hui
mother: Low Siew Beng
siblings: Danny Tan
children: Chryseis Tan, Chrystal Tan, Euvin Tan, Morvin Tan, Nerine Tan, Nevin Tan, Ray Tan, Robin Tan, Tan U-Jiun, Tan U-Ming, Tan U-Peng
Founder/Co-Founder: Berjaya Group
education: Batu Pahat High School
Who is Vincent Tan?
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun is a noted Malaysian-Chinese investor and businessman. Born into a poor family, he started to work soon after passing out of high school. He got a good business idea at the age of twenty-one after he came across an article about McDonald’s burgers and started dreaming of opening a McDonald’s franchise in Malaysia. For around five years, he kept on writing letters to the company, eventually opening the first McDonald’s outlet in Malaysia, later introducing other international food and beverage franchises to the country. At thirty-two, he used the money from the McDonald’s business to buy a controlling stake in Berjaya Industrial Berhad, eventually renaming it Berjaya Corporation Berhad. Today, it is one of Malaysia's largest conglomerates with diversified interests, having five subsidiaries, Berjaya Land Berhad, Berjaya Sports Toto Berhad, Berjaya Food Berhad, REDtone International Berhad and Berjaya Philippines Inc, listed under it.
Childhood & Early Years
Vincent Tan Chee Yioun was born in February 1952 in Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia, into a poor family. His father Tan Lam Hui was possibly a lorry driver. His mother’s name is Low Siew Beng.
Born the fourth of his parents’ eight children, he has at least one brother named Danny Tan, who ranks 29th amongst Malaysia's richest. Not much is known about his early years except that he graduated from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tinggi Batu Pahat (High School Batu Pahat).
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Early Career & McDonalds
After graduating from HSBP, Vincent Tan had to abandon his ambition of studying further because of the family’s financial condition. Instead, he began working as a clerk in a bank. Later, in 1973, he became a part-time agent for the American International Assurance Company.
One day in 1973, while he was waiting for a client, an article in the 17 September issue of the ‘Time Magazine’ caught his attention. Titled ‘The Burger that Conquered the World’, the article hit a chord in his mind and he started dreaming of opening McDonald’s franchise in Malaysia.
Once he made up his mind, he began writing letters to McDonald’s, none of which were acknowledged. Yet, he did not give up, continuing to write again and again over the next five-six years. Meanwhile, around in 1977, he was made a senior sales manager in the insurance company.
In 1979, he received a reply from McDonald’s, inviting him to the inauguration of their first restaurant in Singapore. There, he was greatly appreciated for his perseverance. Later, he visited their Chicago office where he clinched the deal, acquiring the franchise with a 51% stake for RM250,000.
On 29 April 1982, he opened his first McDonald’s outlet at Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. It was a success from the very beginning, bringing him a lot of wealth. Very soon, he began to open other outlets. Later, he would introduce other international food and beverage franchises to the country.
Berjaya Corporation Berhad
In 1984, at the age of thirty-two, Vincent Tan acquired a 37.8% stake in the Berjaya Industrial Berhad. With the controlling stake in his hand, he soon set out to bring about a major change in its business direction, also changing its name to Reka Pacific Berhad.
In 1985, when Unilite Electrical Industries Berhad was privatized, he acquired 70% of its stake, later incorporating it as a subsidiary of Reka Pacific Berhad. In 1987, he renamed it as Far East Asset Berhad. In the following year, Reka Pacific became a subsidiary of Berjaya Corporation Berhad.
In 1990, he incorporated Berjaya Land Berhad in order to implement the restructuring scheme undertaken by Far East Asset Berhad. Very soon, B-Land also started acquiring various property and leisure activities.
In 1993, Far East Asset Berhad was renamed as Berjaya Sports Toto Berhad. Next in 1994, he acquired Cosway (M) Sdn. Bhd., a multi-level marketing company, which specializes in retail sales.
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In 1996, he launched REDtone International Berhad, an integral telecommunication service provider, dealing in broadband, data, voice and cyber-security services. Later, in 1998, they opened Country Farm Organics, which offers a comprehensive range of organic products and services.
In 2003, he opened Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur. It is a 48-storey twin tower housing a hotel, condominium, indoor amusement park and shopping center. Very soon, other hotels began coming up, forming a hotel chain across the world
In 2005, he launched Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, which now operates the Borders bookstore chain. Berjaya Pharmacy Sdn. Bhd. and its subsidiary, Berjaya Pharmacy Retail Sdn. Bhd are two other important retail outlets of this group.
In October 2009, he had Berjaya Food Berhad incorporated. In December, he completed the acquisition of Cosway M and eCosway.com Sdn, later renaming it as Cosway Corporation Limited. However, it did not become a wholly owned subsidiary of Berjaya Corporation Berhad until 2012.
In 2010, he bought Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, a sports betting operator for $163.9 million. It was to be operated from 680 Sports Toto outlets across the country from August or September. But on October 5, the authorities withdrew its license, banning sports betting in Malaysia.
Retirement & Return
On February 23, 2012, Vincent Tan announced his retirement from the board of directors of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, handing over the reign to his son, Robin Tan. Later, in 2017, he returned to the board of directors, assuming the position of executive chairman while Robin Tan remains the CEO.
In May, 2010, Tan became the owner of Cardiff City, a football club based in Cardiff, Wales. Later, he also bought the Bosnian football club, Fudbalski klub Sarajevo (2013) and the Belgian football club, Koninklijke Voetbalclub Kortrijk (2015).
A dedicated philanthropist, he supports many causes, providing financial help not only to the poor and elderly, but also to underprivileged patients suffering from AIDS, cancer, kidney ailments, etc. He is also keen on mass education, providing free education to the underprivileged, putting special emphasis on improving their standard of English.
He also works for environmental preservation, with special emphasis on protecting coral growth. Besides, he also patronizes local performing arts groups.
Awards & Achievements
In 1991, Vincent Tan was made Commander of the Order of Loyalty to the Crown of Malaysia (PSM).
In 2018, he was made the Commander of the Order of Leopold II during the Belgium King’s Day celebration.
Family & Personal Life
Vincent Tan is married to Pat Tan née Phua Kim Kee, popularly known as Puan Sri Esther Tan. Together they have eleven children, the eldest among them being Robin Tan. The others are Morvin Tan, Nerine Tan, Tan U-Ming, Tan U-Jiun, Euvin Tan, Ray Tan, Chrystal Tan, Chryseis Tan, Nevin Tan and Tan U-Peng.
In later years, Tan said that his proficiency in English had helped him to convince the officials at MacDonald’s that he would be able to bring in good business and thus acquire the franchise. That is why he encourages the youth to learn English because it is the language of trade.