Profil Usahawan Pilihan
Tan Sri Dato Seri (Dr.) Lim Goh Tong
MALAYSIAN Billionaire tycoon Lim Goh Tong has died at the age of 90, following a short illness, leaving an estimated US$4.3 billion (S$6.2 billion) fortune.
The tycoon handed over the running of an empire with interests in property, power generation, plantations, paper manufacturing and information technology.
Genting's Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, Star Cruises, is the third-largest cruise operator in the world, while the group also controls Britain's biggest casino operator Stanley Leisure.
But Tan Sri Lim, one of Malaysia's wealthiest businessmen, is best known for turning Genting Highlands, a hill outcrop just outside the capital Kuala Lumpur, into one of the world's most profitable casino resorts.
And to his admirers, he was more than just a developer, personifying the clutch of overseas Chinese business entrepreneurs who fled hardship in their homeland to build the corporate empires that played a major role in South-east Asia's economic boom.
"He is a model of success, starting from scratch, and his achievements came through hard work" said Tan Sri William Cheng, who controls Malaysia's diversified Lion Group of companies.
Tan Sri Lim, who hailed from China's Fujian province, was forced to leave school at the age of 16, after his father died, and began selling vegetable seeds to support his family.
In 1937, he left Fujian for what was then British-controlled Malaya, where he dabbled in a host of businesses ranging from selling machinery to building and tin mining.
Tan Sri Lim, who did not speak English and conversed with Malaysia's political elite in colloquial Malay, came up with the idea of a hilltop resort while working on a hydroelectric project in 1963.
The development of Genting, whose name in Chinese means "on top of clouds", now attracts more than 18 million visitors a year, but it brought him perilously close to bankruptcy before taking off.
He was helped by the Malaysian government, which subsidised the building of a road to the resort and awarded him a casino licence.
But his eventual success was attributed to his entrepreneurial spirit, and he gave an insight into his style in his recent autobiography.
"The Genting project fitted my idea of an ideal business," he wrote.
"No one was interested in it, which meant no competition."