Tan Yu

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Tan Yu
Native name 鄭周敏
Born 5 April 1927
Shishi, Quanzhou, Fujian, China
Died 12 March 2002 (2002-03-13) (aged 74)
Houston, Texas, United States
Residence Taiwan, Philippines
Citizenship Philippines
Net worth $7 Billion (Forbes 1997)

Tan Yu (Chinese: 鄭周敏, April 5 1927 – 12 March 2002) was a Chinese philanthropist and businessman who founded the Asiaworld Internationale Group [1] and established the KTTI Foundation, which provided scholarships to and supported the education of thousands of young students. In 1997, Forbes estimated his net worth to be about $7 billion. He was placed amongst the top 10 in the world on the Forbes List of World Billionaires 1997, [2][3] making him the wealthiest man in the Philippines.[4] Some projects were affected by the 1997 Financial Crisis.[5]

Early life[edit]

Originally from Fujian province in China, Yu and his family moved to the Philippines at a young age. He began making a living in Camarines Norte through selling bread buns in the streets and doing some fishing. He graduated from University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, and in 1997, received an honorary doctorate of science degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.[6] By the age of 18, he had established a successful textile business.[7]

Business Interests[edit]

During his lifetime, he planned to develop Fuga and Barit, two northernmost islands in the Philippines, into a resort in the Pacific for businessmen and tourists.[8] Under the company Asiaworld, he possessed more land in the Philippines than the government, as well as possessing overseas assets in the form of property,[9] hotels[10] and banks.[11]

His key holdings included the Asiaworld Plaza Hotel in Taiwan, over 200 Hectares of prime land in Manila Bay and the Islands of Fuga and Barit.[12]

Personal life and death[edit]

Tan Yu died of heart failure in Houston, Texas, in 2002 at the age of 75. Jose de Venecia, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Philippines, commended his achievements as a great businessman and as a philanthropist, for providing jobs to a number of Philippine people.[13] He was posthumously honored with the Dr. Jose P. Rizal Award for Excellence.[14]

His five children continue to live in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.[15]

In the Story Arc 2078 edition of the Philippines comic strip series Pugad Baboy, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was named as Tan Yu International Airport (TYIA).


  1. ^ Philippe, Lasserre. "Players in Asia-Pacific: A Profile". INSEAD Euro-Asia Centre. 
  2. ^ "Bill Gates Tops Forbes List of Billionaires". Los Angeles Times. 1996-07-01. 
  3. ^ "Gates Stays On Top Of Forbes' Richest List -- Asian Tycoons Move Up In Rankings". The Seattle Times. 1996-07-01. 
  4. ^ Bay-Hansen, C.D. Power Geopolitics in the Pacific Age. Inkwater Press. 
  5. ^ "Forbes Asia Financial Report". Forbes Magazine. 
  6. ^ "CNN Asiaweek interview". CNN Asiaweek. 2000-11-30. 
  7. ^ "Tycoon, Philanthropist Tan Yu dies at 75". Philippine Headline News. 
  8. ^ "From Backwater to Fantasy Isle: Filipino-Chinese Tycoon Makes an Audacious Move". CNN Asiaweek. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Taiwanese Billionaire Tan Yu building homes in Houston". Houston Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "Forbes Asia Financial Report". Forbes Magazine. 
  11. ^ "Tan Yu's $12 Billion Empire". CNN Asiaweek. 
  12. ^ Studwell, Joe. Asian Godfathers - Money and Power in Hong Kong and South East Asia. Atlantic Monthly Press. 
  13. ^ "Jose de Venecia Jr. mourns the loss the tycoon". Philippines Star. 
  14. ^ "2008 Dr. Jose P. Rizal Awards for Excellence; Search for Outstanding Chinese-Filipinos". The Manila Times Internet Edition. Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  15. ^ "Lessons from a Tycoon". Philippine Star.