KLANG: One of Malaysia's leading entrepreneurs, Tan Kai Hee of Hai-O Enterprise Bhd, passed away at 9pm Tuesday (Feb 22).
Tan, who lost his wife Tan Siow Eng in 2017, was 85.
Besides being the founder of a company known for its herbal-based products, Tan was also known for his philanthropy and donated millions to various causes over the years.
Instead of handing over shares in his business empire to his children, Tan placed them in a trust to go towards helping the Chinese community and to charity.
The tycoon, who was born in Kluang, Johor, had a turbulent journey in business like most other self-made tycoons of his era.
It is said that Tan, who worked as a street vendor, rubber collector and bicycle repairman in his early years, was highly motivated to change his lot in life and lift himself out of poverty.
His turning point came in 1975 when he set up Hai-O with money raised among family and friends, and started importing and distributing China-made herbal products in Malaysia.
The rest is history.
In 2016, Tan handed over the reins of the company to his son Tan Keng Kang, who took over as managing director while his father moved up to the chairman's post.