BOARD TALK | iconic

The Rise of Andrew Tan: From Vision to Visionary

By Prof. Enrique Soriano
Published August 11, 2023

There are only a handful of Taipans in the Philippines who started their life as ordinary men. One individual who has achieved immense success and continues to inspire entrepreneurs to dream big and persevere amidst the very competitive environment is my former boss and mentor for years, Dr. Andrew L. Tan - the mastermind behind the property giant Megaworld and the world's No. 1 brandy producer, Emperador

Andrew is the single biggest reason why I took the giant leap of faith in becoming an entrepreneur, an ASEAN family business coach, and a book author.

His phenomenal rise to the top in just a little over 10 years has caught everyone in the business community gasping for breath. The tenacity and speed by which he has grown the business and amassed his wealth are legendary, and it has even earned him a spot among the Philippines' wealthiest individuals. But how did this first-generation Tan become a taipan in a little more than a decade?

His remarkable success can be attributed to his five core strengths: his ability to seize opportunities as a first-mover, his financial genius, his unwavering focus on building brand equity across all business units, his talent for hiring and empowering professionals, and his uncanny ability to spot trends before his competitors could.

With the said traits, combined with his hard work and perseverance, Andrew was able to pioneer the concept of a live-work-play-shop-study development for condominiums and residential homes as he saw that buyers wanted to do it all in real-time — to rest, be with their family, work or study, and shop within the same integrated community or city center. Although it was initially just a concept, this game-changing vision evolved into a magnificent reality, propelling the birth of what we now know as Eastwood City.

The word 'dominance' in the residential segment is an understatement when describing Andrew’s impact. I have even lost count of the number of high-rise buildings he has developed, starting with the 35-storey One Beverly Place condo along Annapolis Street in Greenhills in 1989. His determination and passion extended to every property developed by his real estate group, all publicly listed under the Megaworld, Global-Estate Resorts, Travellers International Hotel Group, Empire East, and SunTrust brands — encompassing townships, malls, hotels, and residences alike.

To complement his residential units, Andrew not only pioneered but also capitalized on the booming call center and business process outsourcing (BPO) market. He was practically ahead of everyone else as his Eastwood City development was already up and running despite the market crash in 1997. Having gone early into the game, he became one of the biggest developers and the biggest landlords of BPO companies, now boasting an impressive portfolio with a gross leasable floor area (GLFA) exceeding 1.5 million square meters of office space.

Additionally, Andrew made strategic moves by acquiring a majority interest in Fil-Estate Land, rebranding it as Global Estate and Resorts Inc. (GERI). With its land bank of 3,000 hectares, GERI helped jumpstart capital-raising initiatives to fund its massive tourism-oriented projects in Laguna, Batangas, and Boracay.

On top of his real estate businesses, Andrew is the chairman of publicly listed Alliance Global Group Inc., a holding firm ranked among the largest companies in the Philippines today, which holds 49 percent of Golden Arches Dev't. Corp., the franchise holder of the McDonald's hamburger chain.

As for Andrew's visionary foray into the world of spirits, it all started with his establishment of Consolidated Distillers Inc. long before Megaworld's rise. This pivotal moment marked the genesis of his extraordinary journey—a journey that would eventually lead to the rise of a titan in the liquor industry, and within Consolidated Distillers Inc., the iconic Andy Player Whisky found its home. Over time, he found a way to etch his legacy with the indelible ink of audacity as he conjured Emperador Inc. into existence, now the Philippines' biggest liquor company and the world's largest brandy manufacturer.

However, it is worth noting that Andrew's exceptional achievements did not happen overnight. Before he was able to build an impressive portfolio within the Alliance Global Group, he faced his fair share of hardships and setbacks. 

To be continued...