Food Empire’s founder/chairman Tan Wang Cheow (17th Jan 2020)

Food Empire’s founder/chairman Tan Wang Cheow may be soft spoken and unassuming, but he is quite a mean marketing machine. How else can you explain the way he created demand for instant coffee in Russia, where tea is almost a religion. Glib marketing campaigns and brand-building, coupled with a first-mover advantage, have seen his MacCoffee grow to become the #1 instant coffee brand in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

This former computer salesman started peddling coffee in the late 1980s in Kazakhstan, and did well enough to list by 2000. That year witnessed the most number of listings with almost 80 newbies on the SGX, but his launch stood out. He flew in the hottest girl band in Ukraine – which was endorsed and sponsored by MacCoffee – to perform.
While his operations span over 50 countries globally, this coffee czar’s beverage of choice is still the humble Kopi-o.

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