20 Brands And Franchises You Probably Didn't Know Were Owned By Vincent Tan

Aside from businesses under Berjaya Group, the billionaire tycoon also has private investments that add to his wealth.

Cover image via Kosmo

A man equally well-known for his business acumen and ownership of multiple football clubs, Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan is one of the Top 50 richest men in Malaysia with a reported net worth of USD820 million (RM3.2 billion)

Hailing from Batu Pahat, Johor and the son of a lorry driver, Tan once revealed that he only studied up to Form Five. That didn't stop him from becoming the youngest agency manager for AIA Insurance at the age of 21 and later, the founder of business conglomerate Berjaya Corporation Berhad.

Berjaya Corporation Berhad, of which Tan is also serving as executive chairman in, has various business interests in Malaysia as well as overseas, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, UK, China, Japan, and South Korea

Commonly referred to as Berjaya Group, the corporation manages, operates, and/or has investments in franchises and businesses across several sectors - retail, food and beverage, hospitality, property development, financial services, gaming and lottery management, motor trading, clean technology, as well as telecommunications and IT-related solutions. 

The business magnate is also credited for bringing the McDonald's franchise into Malaysia in the 1980s, and has since introduced several other well-known F&B franchises in Malaysia.

He also used to own Digi and Prudential before selling them off to build Berjaya Times Square during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Aside from assets under Berjaya Group, the billionaire tycoon is also involved in private businesses. Here are some locally well-known brands and entities that you probably didn't know were owned by Vincent Tan:

1. Berjaya Hotels and Resorts

Image via Berjaya Hotel

The Berjaya chain of hotels and resorts have outposts at Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, the Johor Bahru waterfront, Penang, Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Tioman, as well as Colombo, Sri Lanka and Eden Park, London. 

The group's Berjaya Land subsidiary also manage and operate several other property and leisure assets in Malaysia, such as Redang Island Resorts, Colmar Tropicale @ Bukit Tinggi, Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort, as well as Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort. 

2. Berjaya Times Square

Image via Berjaya Hotel

Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Berjaya Times Square is way more than just a shopping mall. Aside from 700 retail outlets and an IT centre, the mall also houses Malaysia's largest indoor theme park with 13 major rides and thematic attractions.

In addition to the shopping mall, the complex is also occupied by service suites and hotels, offices, as well as basement and multi-level carparks.

Image via Wonderfly

3. Sports Toto

Image via TLH

Sports Toto Malaysia began in 1969 when it was incorporated to run the Toto betting business in Malaysia as part of the Government's efforts to raise funds to promote and develop sports, youth and cultural activities.

The company was privatised in 1985, increasing its revenue from RM76 million to RM3.57 billion in 2009. Today, there are about 680 Sports Toto outlets operating throughout Malaysia. 

4. Cosway

Image via The Mines

Cosway began in 1979 as a multi-level marketing (MLM) company before it was acquired by Berjaya Group in 1994.

The retail chain currently markets more than 1,000 consumer products comprising health and nutritional supplements, personal care products, water filtration systems, cosmetics and fragrances, skincare, body shaping lingerie, home and car care and food and beverages under its own in-house brands.

Berjaya Group also manages and operates Wisma Cosway in Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. 

5. Kenny Rogers Roasters

Image via KLIA2

Berjaya Group actually owns the worldwide franchise for Kenny Rogers Roasters after fully acquiring the brand in 2008. By then, the restaurant chain was nearing its end in the US and now operates principally in Asia. 

The chain is currently present at 83 locations across Malaysia.

6. Starbucks franchise in Malaysia

Image via AP

Starbucks first entered the Malaysian market in Kuala Lumpur on 17 December 1998, and has since grown to nearly 250 outlets across the country, including Sabah and Sarawak.

Now into its 16th year of operation, Starbucks has grown to not only become the favourite coffee place for Malaysians, but also a productive member of communities across the country.

7. Wendy's franchise in Malaysia

Image via The Sun Daily

Operated by Berjaya Burger Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary under Berjaya Group, Wendy's first landed in Malaysia on 5 April 2008 with its first outlet in Sunway Pyramid. The fast food chain has since expanded to 13 other stores across Klang Valley, Penang, Pahang, Johor, and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. 

8. Krispy Kreme franchise in Malaysia

Berjaya Group owns 90% of the Krispy Kreme franchise in Malaysia after entering into a Development Agreement with the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, USA. 

Having launched its first store at Berjaya Times Square in April 2009, the doughnut chain currently has 11 outlets in Klang Valley.

9. Borders bookstores in Malaysia

Image via Imagine Games

Borders' domestic arm in the US may have gone bankrupt in 2011, but the book and music chain's outposts in Malaysia are still going strong.

The book retailer currently has five outlets nationwide - The Curve at Mutiara Damansara, The Gardens at Mid Valley City, Bangsar Village II, IOI City Mall, Queensbay Mall in Penang, and Mesa Mall in Negeri Sembilan.

10. Greyhound Café franchise in Malaysia

The popular Thai café, which originally made its debut as a fashion retail brand in 1980 before pivoting into the café business in 1997, opened its first Malaysian outpost in March 2016 at ANSA Kuala Lumpur.

Greyhound Café's second branch was launched last year in July at Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur.

11. Jollibean franchise in Malaysia and Singapore

Image via Jollibean

Berjaya's venture into the Jollibean franchise business began when Jollibean Foods Pte Ltd was incorporated in November 1993, operating Jollibean, Sushi Deli, and Kopi Alley outlets in Singapore.

The chain, which serves soy-based beverages and local snacks, later opened its first kiosk in Malaysia at Berjaya Times Square in December 2013, followed by its second kiosk at Sunway Pyramid in February 2014.

12. Country Farm Organics

Image via SickBubble

Founded in 1998 to promote healthier living among Malaysians, Country Farm Organics is one of the leading players in Malaysia's organic goods industry. The company's products can be found in all major local or international supermarket chains in Malaysia, such as AEON, AEON Big, Tesco, Giant, Cold Storage, Village Grocer, and Jaya Grocer. 

13. REDtone

Image via REDtone

Founded in 1996, REDtone International Bhd offers an extensive range of services which include telecommunications services, managed telecommunications network services and mobile services.

To date, REDtone has presence with technical and after sales support team at major cities in Malaysia, including Klang Valley, Johor Bahru, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Labuan, Kuching, and Miri.

14. 7-Eleven franchise in Malaysia

Image via Focus Malaysia

7-Eleven entered the Malaysian market on 9 October 1984 with its first outlet in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur which is still in operation today. The chain is currently the largest 24-hour convenience store operator in Malaysia with over 2,000 stores nationwide.

According to a report by The Star, Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Sultan Ibrahim of Johor are substantial shareholders of 7-Eleven Malaysia.

15. Singer Malaysia

Image via

A wholly owned subsidiary of Berjaya Retail Berhad, Singer Malaysia currently has over 580 outlets nationwide since it first entered the Malaysian market in 1906.

Though synonymous with sewing machines, the company also manufactures home and industrial products such as motorcycles, home appliances, audio-visual products, furniture, and home improvement products.

16. U Mobile

Image via Focus Malaysia

U Mobile was launched in 2007 and has grown its subscriber base from less than 50,000 to over four million in less than five years. The mobile operator offers data, voice, and messaging services via prepaid, postpaid and broadband plans.

Along with ST Telemedia, Tan Sri Vincent Tan is one of two main shareholders for U Mobile via his private investment U Telemedia.

17. MOLPay

Image via Premium Press

During the 1999 dot-com bubble, Tan Sri Vincent Tan invested RM2 million when the company - then called MOL AccessPortal - was still starting up. 

Two years after it was launched in 2000, MOLPay obtained approval from the Bank Negara Malaysia as an e-Money operator and was subsequently privatised by Tan in 2008. MOLPay became part of MOL Global Inc. in 2011. 

Today, MOLPay is a leading e-payment enabler for online goods and services in emerging and developed markets in Southeast Asia, operating in 13 countries across four continents.

18. theSun Daily

Image via The Sun Daily

With a weekday distribution of over 305,000 copies, theSun is Malaysia's first and only free national newspaper.

Berjaya Media Berhad's flagship publication, available in both print and online, is the largest circulated urban English language newspaper in Malaysia, serving readers in Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bharu, as well as in major cities and towns stretching across Peninsular Malaysia. 

19. Bermaz Motor, distributor of Mazda vehicles and spare parts in Malaysia

Image via Carlist

Listed as a related company on Berjaya Corporation Berhad's website, Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd entered into a Distribution Agreement with Mazda Motor Corporation in Japan, granting the company distributorship of specific models of Mazda CBU vehicles, spare parts, accessories, and tools in Malaysia.

Initially slated to expire in March 2014, Mazda Japan has agreed to further extend the agreement for another five years to 31 March 2019. 

20. Cardiff City Football Club

Image via Action Images

Tan became the owner of Cardiff City after a consortium of Malaysian investors bought 30% of the club's shares in May 2010. Nicknamed the "Bluebirds", the club is recently promoted to the Barclays Premier League after being relegated to the Sky Bet Championship in 2014.

Elsewhere, Tan acquired a majority stake in FK Sarajevo, a football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Belgian football club KV Kortrijk in 2014 and 2015 respectively. He is also a co-owner of Los Angeles FC, a relatively new football club in the Major League Soccer (MLS) in US. 

Most recently, the billionaire tycoon also offered to build an airport in Pulau Tioman at no cost to the government:

Now, let's take a look at how the richest man in Malaysia a.k.a. "Sugar King" Robert Kuok made his fortunes:

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