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Fastfood to Brandy Billionaire: Who is Andrew Tan?

Fastfood to Brandy Billionaire: Who is Andrew Tan?

Andrew Tan's story started when he was young and living in Hong Kong, where his mother was a street vendor in the market. The family moved to Hong Kong when Andrew was only four years old. They had lived in Fujian, China, before that. Tan's family didn't do well in Hong Kong, where competition is tough, and living costs are high. In a housing unit in Hong Kong, they even shared a unit with another family to save money on rent.

Once Andrew turned 16, his father decided to move to the Philippines in hopes of a better life. His father got a job at a factory that made transistor radios. Andrew often used to sit with him and do small jobs as extra money for him and his father. They rented a small, crowded apartment in Sta. Cruz, Manila. After they had been in Manila for almost a week, his father told him to wake up by 5 a.m. His dad told him they needed to work better than the locals. New people in different countries have a lot to work for. Andrew learned from this experience how important it is to work hard, and he listened to his father's advice.

Andrew's father paid for his education and got his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of the East, Recto Campus. Every time he made money, he saved it for something more important in the future. He walks to school to save money on jeep fare. A banana is his cheapest school lunch. He used the extra money to buy watches to sell to wealthy classmates. Andrew would sell things and helps friends with math.

Tan has been a great worker for Taipan business tycoon Leonardo Ty. The latter has owned Hitachi and Ajinomoto since he graduated from college. His co-workers often say that he was the hardest worker for Ty.


(Photo from the wires)

The Beginning of His Empire

"When I opened my first business, things were hard. When you don't have much money, you have to use your nose a lot, like a dog who never stops looking for food. You can't afford to fail and lose significant resources. That's how you develop a sense of what it takes to be successful." Tan's thoughts when he first started his Megaworld business.

It's too bad that Coup de etat occurred during the Cory Aquino presidency only two weeks after he started his first Megaworld project in 1989. This scary event forced Tan to make the hard choice to go ahead with the project even though he has no margin for error in his start-up capital.

Asia had a financial crisis eight years after the coup. This tested Tan and Megaworld, threatening the real estate and development industry. Banks lent money and property to few people. Tan could use Eastwood City's "live-work-play" motto to solve the problem.

Eastwood City Cyberpark is the country's top IT Park, where hundreds of companies and 40,000 people work. The beautiful atmosphere and culture of Eastwood City condos attract residents and shoppers.

The Brandy Products That Started It All

His father was so proud when he graduated from university in 1974 despite extreme poverty. His father threw him a simple party with a bottle of Brandy. His dad invited his colleagues to rejoice.

Andre Tan admired Brandy. So, he suggested a new way to market Emperador brandy. Instead of using beautiful, sexy women as brand ambassadors, he used success. His idea resonated with Filipino consumers, making his product the world's best-selling liquor.

Andrew Tan always thought of a bottle of Fundador brandy as a way to commemorate achievements because of the single bottle they had in his graduation celebration.

Grupo Emperador and Beam Suntory signed a deal to buy Bodegas Fundador on November 30, 2015. The deal was worth 13.8 billion pesos. With the merger of Emperador and Fundador, the claim to be the company that sells the most brandy in the world became stronger.

Dr. Andrew L. Tan rose from poverty to become a successful businessman and innovator in his native Philippines.