Lucio Tan Success Story

Lucio Tan, probably the most controversial of all the Filipino Tycoons, is the featured success story today. He was once the longest running richest man in the Philippines not until last year when his great rival retail tycoon Henry Sy overtook him in the throne.

Although some of us knew Lucio Tan got involved in various controversies as in the case of tax evasion, having a lot of children in different wives, and having close friends in politics like former Philippine Presidents Marcos and Estrada, he is still another epitome of success.

Let’s look another rags to riches entrepreneur story as we witness the success story of Dr. Lucio Tan.

Lucio Tan was born on July 17, 1934 in China’s Fujian province. His family moved to Philippines, in Naga, where he was a child. He worked his way through college studying Chemistry in Far Eastern University but quit before graduating, set up a business that deals with scrap in the late 1950s and and later on found a job in a tobacco factory where he was tasked to buy leaf tobacco in the Ilocos provinces.

Because of this experience, Lucio Tan started his own cigarette company named Fortune Tobacco in 1966. It was also during this time when his close friend Ferdinand Marcos was newly elected as President. The tobacco business was a success and it expanded introducing a budget brand ‘Hope’ in 1975. By year 1980, Fortune Tobacco was the Philippines’ largest cigarette manufacturer.

In 1977, Lucio Tan acquired from the Philippine Government the then bankrupt bank General Bank and Trust Co. (Genbank) for only P500,000 which was described by many as a sweetheart deal. It was later renamed to Allied Bank.

In 1982, Lucio Tan established and put up Asia Brewery where he used to his benefit, the Marcos ruling that lifted the ban on the establishment of new beer companies. Back then, it was the only brewery allowed to compete with the market leader San Miguel Corp.

In 1993, Lucio Tan secured control of the country’s airline carrier Philippine Air Lines (PAL).

While a lot of articles say that Lucio Tan benefited a lot from tax concessions and privileges that the Marcos Regime gave to him in exchange for a rumored 60% on all his shareholdings, on December 7, 2007, the Philippine Supreme Court affirmed the decision dismissing the state’s sequestration of Lucio Tan’s companies. The court’s decision says that “there can be no question that indeed, petitioner’s orders of sequestration are void and have no legal effect.”

Today, Lucio Tan is still one of the richest person in the Philippines ranking him as second to Henry Sy last year 2008 with a total asset of %1.5 Billion. His Lucio Tan Group of Companies now owns several industries that includes liquor (Tanduay Holdings, Inc. and Asia Brewery), tobacco (Fortune Tobacco), aviation (Philippine Airlines), banking (Allied Bank and Philippine National Bank), real estate (Eton Properties Philippines), and education (Univerity of the East).


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Tyrone is a passionate financial literacy advocate. He started this blog on November 2008 when he watched The Secret which talked about Law of Attraction because he wanted to become a millionaire and wanted to know how a millionaire acts. At the age of 26, he achieved his first million. To find out more about him, click here or follow him at Instagram

44 responses on “Lucio Tan Success Story

  1. Hi nice post, i read your blog from time to time but i was wondering something. I also run a blog on a similar topic, but i get alot of spam comments and emails every day. does that happen to you.. Any ideas to stop it? I hate to check every comment i get. Thanks!

  2. Hi moneyblogger. I would just suggest you to install your blog with akismet plug in. Then get an API Key by registering at to activate it. Akismet filters any suspected spam comments. Yes, it also happens to me but it does not go directly under my comments section because of the akismet plug in.

  3. Nice blog. Will visit your blog once in a while.

    Lucio Tan once lived in Cebu for, albeit for a short time.

    It’s WordPress.COM, not WordPress.ORG, that you register so you can activate Akismet.

  4. Do you have any recommended books about stock investing, fundamentals to advanced,… and may i know your net worth..? and i can see that you are a fan of robert kiyosaki, do you really think that your house is not an asset but a liability…?

    • Yes, I am a fan of Robert Kiyosaki. His teachings have become an eye opener for me. For stock investing, I am not a heavy stock investor. Admittedly, I am not verse with technicals like graphs. I have zero knowledge on it.

      For fundamentals, I just rely on the common tips of some stock traders and from the learnings that I had when I do stock trading myself.

      Here are some of the stock trading tips that I learned:

      Also, I had a post on house being an asset or a liability. In fact, I got a lot of comments from my readers before sharing their ideas about the subject:

      Personally, there is an “asset” in a house as it may increase its value over time, provided you also own the land. It’s more of a liability if you are still paying mortgage on it.

  5. Hi

    Do you have any materials on real estate? The correct processes. The proper way to transact in the real estate business. If you can point me to the right direction.

  6. Lucio Tan is very controversial indeed based on the news that we hear about him but what people don’t know, he has a heart for unfortunate Filipinos and education is very important to him. Once you get to know him and he trust you, he will be a very good friend and will touch your heart. He gives good story and experiences that will help you to be a true entrepreneur.

    • Yes, Mr. Lucio Tan is a great man from rags to riches wow! I just hope that he can give sometime to check all the staff working with phillippine airlines how rude they are with their customers most specially those in the lower class as in mga mahihirap na gustong sumakay sa PAl pero at kung tratuhin ng mga PAL staff ganun ganun na lang! Sana maturuan din nya mga staff nya na wag maliitin ang mga mahihrap ksi nga dun naman nagsimula si Mr. Lucio tan.

  7. Hi, nice blog. really there is a lot to know about this magnate L.Tan. By the way, i wonder if you know when was Lucio Tan’s application for Naturalization granted. We all know that he used to be a Chinese National right?

  8. I just want to share that according to my research about the University of the East, Lucio Tan bought the controlling stocks to save the university from debt. Why so? Because a good friend of his, who was Chairman of the Board (of UE) at that time asked him to buy into UE, and also he really saw the priority of education. The dividends of Tan in the university do no go to his pockets but to his TYK Foundation and to the university (for maintenance and development). The understands that education is one way of getting out of poverty.

  9. Hi nice blog how I wish more re blogg for success storey of businessman thanks for information that inspires to us.. please send me more about successful story that inspires many people…Do you blog about succesful story of walt disney and Kentucky fried chicken how i touch them and super salute them.

  10. God bless…I pray for you always…good health and many more birthday to come. by the way Im RD Tan Samson Sr, presently newly elected barangay chairman in Balubohan, Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte.cell # 09269561925. 25 years old..Angkong I want to see you personally…hope I will see you soon.

  11. Hi there, This Blog inspired me. I’m a student, could you give me ideas about investing? I think about it while I’m still young I would like to raised my money not just by saving it and hiding which in fact it decreases in value as time pass.

    • wow my comment is awaiting moderation?? sige i-build up niyo pa yung legal na magnanakaw na si Lucio TAn..ang logic lang dito, isa ka sa nagbabayad ng inutang niya sa ilalim ng pangalan ng Pilipinas, isama mo pa ang kaapo-apohan mo. Kung may trabaho ka man dahil sa kanya..alam mo ba na yung binabayad niya sayo na literal mong pinaghirapan ay sariling pera mo.

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