Jannie Chan

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Dato' Jannie Chan Siew Lee (曾秀丽), also known by her married name, Jannie Tay, is a Singaporean entrepreneur and former president of the Singapore Retailers Association and the ASEAN Business Forum, in both cases the first woman to hold the position.

Chan earned a B.Sc. in physiology and an M.Sc. in pharmacology from Monash University in 1968 and 1971,[1][2] and was a lecturer in both subjects at the National University of Singapore.[3]

In 1979 she co-founded The Hour Glass Limited, a luxury watch retailer, with her husband, Henry Tay.[4] As of 2015, it had 41 stores in several countries;[5] she was formerly executive vice-president[1][6] and executive vice-chairman.[7]

She founded the holding company Save Our Planet Investments (Hypha Holdings, 2005) and the non-profit Save Our Planet Foundation (2007), which works for reforestation to mitigate climate change.[1][2][3] Her most recent company is Scientific Tradition Pte Ltd, which develops mushroom products based on traditional Chinese medicine.[2]

Chan contributed to the 2006 book, Six Billion Minds: Managing Outsourcing in the Global Knowledge Economy.[8] She is the first female president of the Singapore Retailers Association and of the ASEAN Business Forum, the first female executive board member of the Commonwealth Business Council and founder chairman of the Commonwealth Business Women Leaders' Network.[1] She also serves on the first Business Advisory Council of the United Nations Office for Project Services (since 2000) and on the Business Advisory Council of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (since 2004).[1] She is active for women's rights:[2] she was one of the organisers of the first Women Inspire exposition and business forum in Singapore in 2002[9] and was president of the Singapore chapter of WOW (Women for Other Women).[10]

On 20 June 2019, Jannie Chan was declared bankrupt by the Singapore court for owing a moneylender over S$4 million in unpaid debt.


Chan is of Hakka Chinese heritage;[11] her father and grandfather were "sinsehs" (practitioners of traditional medicine).[3] She has six siblings, four of whom became physicians.[2]

Chan and her husband have three children, Audrey, Michael (who now manages The Hour Glass) and Sabrina. Their first child died in childhood. They divorced in 2010.[12][13]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Dato' Dr Jannie Chan Siew Lee, Prominent Alumni, Monash University, 2012, updated 13 February 2013, retrieved 11 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Beyond watches and reishi: Jannie Tay's approach to business", Knowledge@SMU Paper6, Singapore Management University, 2 March 2010, retrieved 11 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Cheah Ui-Hoon, Save Our Planet Foundation, "Leaving a lasting legacy", The Business Times, 19 December 2008, repr. AsiaOne, 22 December 2008, archived at the Wayback Machine, 8 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Watch retailer Jannie Tay on creating a sense of luxury in Singapore", Business, BBC News, 29 November 2010
  5. ^ About History Archived 2015-08-28 at the Wayback Machine, The Hour Glass, retrieved 9 September 2015.
  6. ^ Melanie Lee, "Hour Glass says time not ripe for China, India", Reuters, 19 September 2007, retrieved 11 September 2013.
  7. ^ About Directors' Profiles, The Hour Glass, archived 28 August 2015.
  8. ^ [citation needed]
  9. ^ Kalinga Seneviratne, "Traditional roles stifle Asia's working women", Asian Economy, Asia Times, 4 December 2002.
  10. ^ Kraar, Louis; Autry, Ret (October 7, 1991). "Iron Butterflies". CNN.
  11. ^ Sin Kiong Wong and Yu-ju Lai, "Singapore Hakka: Research Institutions and Publications in Recent Years", Global Hakka Studies 1, November 2013, pp. 185–214, p. 202 (in Chinese) (pdf): "曾秀丽为新马客家企业代表" - "Chan Siew Lee is the representative of Hakka entrepreneurship in Singapore and Malaysia".
  12. ^ Candice Cai, "Hour Glass pair settle legal dispute out of court" Archived 2014-07-17 at the Wayback Machine, AsiaOne, 25 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Hour Glass pair settle legal dispute out of court" Archived 2014-05-18 at the Wayback Machine, Asia One Plush Photos, no date, retrieved 11 September 2013.
  14. ^ Dato' Dr Jannie Chan Siew Lee (BSc 1968, MSc 1971), Distinguished Alumni Awards 2003, Monash University, 2012, updated 13 February 2013, retrieved 11 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Singapore hails top tourism experiences", CNN Travel, 18 October 2011, retrieved 11 September 2013.