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The building of an empire: from computers to coffee

Coffee kingpin Tan Wang Cheow, the founder of Food Empire, shares the lessons of his epic journey

"The one thing I developed was perseverance," says Mr Tan. " If you want to fight in a market outside your comfort zone, you need to be very aggressive - moving faster than the locals, and thinking ahead of them."

NEARLY three decades ago, Tan Wang Cheow embarked on an odyssey that spanned two continents and turned the computer salesman into a coffee kingpin.

Mr Tan, founder and executive chairman of Singapore Exchange-listed Food Empire Holdings Ltd, started out as a dealer in personal computers...