“What would you do if you’re in desperation and you feel like a loser and need to worry about the next meal? A young Chinese youth in Malaysia has faced with all thisat the age of 19. With the intention of starting a business with his family, he stepped into a totally unfamiliar industry, but later made the company become a leading enterprise in that industry. His name is Jodness Tan.”
Dato’ Dr. Jodness Tan, the Chief Executive Officer of HWT Group Berhad, was born in October 31, 1991 and is a Malaysian Chinese. Since 2010, he built the company and has been working with his family as CEO, leading the company to develop from the traditional media publishing industry to the present industry. The scope of business includes new media, finance, corporate certification, brand activation, product production, event planning, commercial photography, technology application development, and business school, all over Malaysia, Singapore, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Nepal, and Japan. His personal investment projects include kindergartens, high-end barber shop, and a number of well-known Malaysian e-commerce brands.
拿督陈景豪博士（DATO’DR. JODNESS TAN），马来西亚豪威国际集团首席执行官。出生于1991年10月31人，是马来西亚土生土长的华人，祖籍客家海陆丰。自2010年与家人共同创业，他便以首席执行官的身份，带领公司从传统媒体出版业发展至今。业务范围包括，新媒体、金融、企业认证、品牌激活、产品生产、活动策划、商业摄影、科技应用开发、及商学院，范围遍布马来西亚、新加坡、中国、泰国、印尼、韩国、尼泊尔、及日本。个人投资项目包括，高端幼儿园、高端理发厅、及多家马来西亚著名电商品牌。
He became Asia’s youngest chief editor when he started his career at the age of 19 in 2010, and his 20th birthday was presided over by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in 2011, and at the age of 21, he was featured on the cover of the Educational Column of Oriental Daily, a famous Malaysian newspaper in 2012. In 2013, at the age of 22, he started a number of companies and invested in multiple businesses, and in 2014, at the age of 23, he was invited to be the keynote speaker of the Global Outstanding Youth Community of the World Economic Forum in 2014, was awarded the honour of Dato’ for recognizing his achievements in the aspects of promoting the revival of the media and the early childhood education industry and youth entrepreneurship. In 2015, at the age of 24, he gained the degree of Doctor of Business Administration at the Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the same year, he married his wife who has the exactly same birthday as him and this event topped on the headlines of major media. In 2016, at the age of 25, he led the company’s transformation and made it become the first company who can perfect its own industrial chain and successfully develop across many fields. In 2017, at the age of 26, his story was adapted into a representative documentary film of the History of overseas Chinese “Chinese Overseas” to be broadcasted on the Channel of China Central Television, and was known as the “Malaysia 90’s Miracle”. In 2018, he gained the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Financial Management at the Camden University, USA.
His entrepreneurial stories as well as his daily active sharing of wisdoms on social media have influenced many Malaysian post-90s youths. His ideas and style have been praised and supported by many predecessors.
The unconventional second-generation rich kid
Many people might believe that a person who can have this achievement at this age must be a “super second-generation rich kid”. This kind of so-called legend is usually the convention of idol drama. But his miracle is indeed true. He started with bare hands and gained the achievement with his family. He told the editor that, although his family had been the publisher of Malaysia’s best-selling commercial magazine for nearly 20 years and had successfully opened a series of business awards in Malaysia, he was not a second-generation rich kid. Because his father was actually working for the uncles in the past, the achievements and most of the wealth were not belonging to his father. But he also stressed that, in fact,he never tabooed to be misunderstood as “a second-generation rich kid.”If the identity of the “second-generation rich kid” needs to be emphasized, he hopes that people can better understand the meaning of such label for him. For him, “a second-generation rich kid”means “a second-generation kid with rich interpersonal relations” rather than “possessingrich money”. Although he and his father started their career with bare hands, he is really impossible to have such a rapid development in the absence of his father’s nearly 30 years of experiences and interpersonal relations in this industry. He used his ability to prove himself and effectively inherited the interpersonal relations and converted them into money-earning relations. He created the industry’s first successful enterprise possessing the cross-field development pattern and high profitability, and led the HWT Group to create a unique brand building industry chain.
There’s no other choice but to start a business
Jodness Tan told us that his original dream was to be a rock star and never thought of starting a business. But at his age of 19, his father’s start-up company soon suffered a collective betrayal of shareholders, and all of his father’s savings vanished in a flash. He said that it was his first time to see how sad his father was and how many people at that time changed their attitudes towards his father. He intended to do something, but felt that he had nothing to do and also needed to worry about the next meal. Due to that situation, he took the initiative to sit down discuss it with his parents for the first time. And they decided to start again and publish a completely new book titled “Ai Beauty.”
He told the editor that, although he had worked for his father’s fledgling company for a while, he still had no idea how an enterprise runs and how to publish a magazine. Although his father has been working in this industry, all his father knows is about sales rather than magazine editing, publishing work and business operations. But he knew that the family had no other choice, so he opened the video site to learn graphic designs, read someone else’s magazines to refer to how to write a variety of copywriting. Every morning, he still needed to go to school, and occasionally needed to go out to do some sales work. He said, when there was no way to retreat, his potential was inspired and released. Without any venture capital or any office, he just needed to open a computer at home, and went out to give customers an advertising price list. He worked so hard every day and night and witnessed the sunrises and sunsets for years, until today he actually has its own office and his company has become the industry’s pilot-level enterprise. His family, he says, have always thanked those entrepreneurs who chose to believe in and support his family and help them to get through when they had nothing, and have always thanked those who had chosen to stay away from them at that time because the family’s moves were more smooth and decisive due to the latter’s abandonment.
Soon, they also published the second magazine, “Top Corporate Leader”, and his siblings also joined the entrepreneurial process. These two magazines quickly ranked first both in the online click rate and offline retail results among same type of publications. They also obtained the copyright of the “Prestige Brand Award” event launched by the Asia Excellent Entrepreneur Federation (AEEF), and began to enter the field of activity planning and operation. The event was first held in 2012 and attracted 122 small and medium-sized enterprises to participate, attracting 1000 entrepreneurs to participate and successfully attracting the attention of the entire Malaysian business circle. So far, the media and activities they operate have developed to a scale with 5 magazines, 1 news website, 1 network television channel and 8 copyrights for World-class levels commercial events.
He said entrepreneurship is really not difficult, and you do not need to have any preparation. As long as you decide to cut off all means of retreat and are willing to spend all the time on the career, you can try to start a business. Because when you have no way of retreat, you can only choose to move forward and there is no obstacle that can prevent you from moving forward, and you’ll finally find a way to solve your problem and won the success. When he was asked about what’s his opinion on those shareholders who betrayed his father, he smiled and said, “I used to have some mundane or irrational ideas, but when I was able to practice these ideas, I suddenly realized I had a lot of important things to do. Since my father chose forgiveness, I had no desire of revenge. Besides, without that hit, our family was unable to start a business together and have everything today. “
The meaning of success is not just about the career
“Phenomena investigation, knowledge acquisition, sincerity, positive attitude, self-cultivation, regulating the family, and ruling the country and the world.” These are phrases that Jodness Tan sticks them to his office computer. He told us that these phrases are from the book of The Great Learning of Book of Ritesthat he read every morning when he was fortunate to participate in the President’s class at Tsinghua University as a media practitioner at the age of 20. He realized the way to great success from these phrases, so he posted them on his computer to remind himself every morning to not get lost all the time.
As for success, he has his own view. The perfection in family, love, friendship, career and health overall constitutes a big success. He also served the role of editor and journalist and interviewed a lot of entrepreneurs, and learned many cases of family alienation, love infidelity, indiscriminate friendship, poor health and so on. He didn’t want to live like that and to have nothing but money. So, he succeeds in moving towards the ideals he understands. He had a timetable on his wall, clearly stating his time allocation on family, love, friendship, career, and health within a week.
In terms of family bond, their family has used the time and results to prove the truth that a peaceful family will prosper. Jodness Tan believes that the most important thing among family members is mutual respect, understanding and trust, and never giving up any family member anyway. In particular, parents should receive the filial piety and the highest respect, that is, filial piety is the foundation of all virtues.
In terms of love, he married his wife with the exactly same birthday as him, Datin Yen Wei, his primary schoolmate. They fell in love with each other at the age of 21 and gained everything with bare hands. His first personal business was inspired by his wife’s dream of childhood education and a teacher’s advices, so he invested in the preschool education industry and set up the Shambala Kidz Leadership Preschool. They’ve devoted themselves to education together, and also set up a foundation to support the disadvantaged groups in society, and they’ve become a model couple in the eyes of people. Their famous wedding in 2016 was reported by several international media. He told the editor that, before he was with his wife, he was blindly immersed in his business, but his wife pulled him out of the mud, changed his personality and working style, so that he could climb to a higher peak with sustainable energy.
In terms of friendship, when we access his circle of friends, we will know that he has a vast and solid social network. He said he believes in fate, as long as he has an intersection with other side and thinks the other side is a good person, he will take the initiative to talk to each other to make friends. He’s learned a lot from this habit and gained a number of resources. He’s good at making friends everywhere and in any class. He also admitted that because he can do anything for a friend, he’s borne a lot of losses. But he believed that all this is a kind of test which the God gives him, so that he can early experience it and learn something.
In health, he is a person who insists on exercising every two days. A height of 181cm, a charming face, bright eyes, warm palms, and loud voices remind us that he does not neglect his health because of work. And he told us, when starting his business, every day he worked for nearly 20 hours, also suspended the Taekwondo training that he has exercised for 7 years. His health situation was severe, and even showed a sign of hemiplegia, so he decided to change the way of working, and therefore found that the extra working hours didn’t make his career better. Without a healthy physique, even if he succeeded one day, he would have no chance to enjoy it.
In career, he said he and the company are still very inconspicuous, and he’s still unsatisfactory when compared to his final goal. The achievements that HWT Group gained today for him are a kind of groundwork. Under his leadership in 2017, the industrial chain was well laid out and began to run. He is also confident that, in the next 10 years he will lead the company to develop towards a higher peak. He has also been emphasizing that he started his business with his family, which is different from many people who always want to prove themselves in independence of their parents or family. He told us that he believed that it was a great honor to start a business with his family and to work together with them, because only a few families can do it. Moreover, he believed that if only the founder of a company gains fame and fortune, that is not a multi-win-win cooperation. In his company, fame and fortune are given to the staffs who deserve it. So, it is not difficult to find that their management leaders are all famous and respected.
In terms of personal investment, he said that if he had met the right person, he would invest on the latter rather than choosing to invest in a popular industry. He also set up the 108 Entrepreneurs Academy to invites scholars and experienced entrepreneur friends, so as to together with him cultivate some outstanding entrepreneurs and leaders and provide guidance to those starters without any resources or any experience but with a willing to focus on the cause and to struggle until the success.
The responsibility of an entrepreneur
Jack Ma, an internationally renowned entrepreneur, has divided figures in the business circle into three categories: (a) entrepreneurs who are socially responsible and (b) businessmen who have their lower limits and (c) profiteers who are purely profit-oriented. And Jodness’s behavior is fully in line with the title of entrepreneur.
In an interview, he introduced the Shambala Kidz Leadership Preschool, a social-service-type enterprise created by himself and his wife to the editor. The core objective of its establishment is to include the elements of leadership into preschool education, in order to master the quality of leadership in one’s best learning period and to cultivate more excellent leaders for the society. It is generally known that the most important quality of a leader is “responsibility”. He believes that the amount of responsibility a person has to bear is decided by how much he has achieved. One must be responsible for himself first and be able to protect and strengthen himself first, then can be responsible for all who he loves or cares him, and finally can be responsible for the society when the ability is bigger or the wealth is more. He told the editor that he was shouldering all the responsibilities that he could take on his shoulders. He also sighed that he might not be unable or have no ability to change the world in his lifetime like some great characters, but he hopes that, through education, he might be able to cultivate a group of talents who are likely to change the world and via them the spirit of Shambala Kidz may be presented to the world.
Today’s Jodness Tan has begun to be responsible for society in practice. Every year, his kindergarten will organize charity runs to assist orphanages in fund-raising, his business school is actively supporting youth entrepreneurship, and his He Shan Foundation belonging to HWT Group is also cooperating with entrepreneurs to continue to give financial support to disadvantaged groups each month. For Chinese “filial piety” culture, he even also hosts the “Filial Piety Day” once per year, so that all old people in nursing homes will not be lonely in the Parents’ Day. Meanwhile, he encourages all his employees and customers to spend a happy and warm night together with their parents in that day.
As a media company, Jodness said, all the staffs were earlier aware of their social responsibilities. Responsibility is a very funny thing, you can say that it has nothing to do with you, but it actually has a connection to everyone. In particular, an enterprise’s success is unable to be independent of the society, so it needs to adhere to the spirit of what is taken from the society should be used for the interests of the society.
What advice do you have for young people who are just starting a business?
When being asked about such a question, Jodness Tan immediately said that he was still in his own entrepreneurial stage and was not qualified to give an advice to anyone, so maybe sharing is a more appropriate word. He said that when he was a 19-year-old entrepreneur, many veterans looked down on young lads, or insulted and belittled him. After getting some achievements, the attitude of others has changed, and he’s become accustomed to listening some compliments like “young and promising” from others every day. With the attention of people and peers, troubles and defamations also followed. And in the face of this kind of people and unfair comments that he’s bound to meet in the entrepreneurial process, he also has his own countermeasures. In the face of contempt and insult, he chose to endure the humiliation and work hard; in the face of other people’s praises, he chose to thank them and continue to keep his nose; in the face of troubles and defamations, he chose to ignore and still continue to work hard. Jodness Tan said, an entrepreneur’s job is to work hard until it reaches the ideal situation in his mind. Don’t be affected by any negative energy, and don’t get lost in applauses. You must remember to keep low profile and have the courage, and also need to show your confidence if necessary. Calm mind makes you wise, clear thoughts make you insightful.