Capturing Elasticity 百折不挠 

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Teoh Han Chuan
Co-founder & Managing Director of Elianware


“I was a very smart kid and placed top three during my primary school days and since then my ambition has always been to become a businessman.”

 Cramped in a wooden hut, became a problem student during his teenage years and slept on the streets just on some newspaper were some of the fond memories of Teoh Han Chuan when he shared his life story with EZ Malaysia. Today he sits as the deputy managing director of a listed company SWS Capital Berhad.

“I was a very smart kid and placed top three during my primary school days and since then my ambition has always been to become a businessman.“ said Teoh. He was from a very poor family who lived in a small wooden hut. Thus, he opined that only by being a businessman could he make a lot of money and provide for a better life. However, his grades went from excellent to horrible when he was in secondary school and he eventually became a problem student. “Maybe it was because I was ashamed of my situation where my mother worked as a washerwoman and the uniforms I wore were from thrown aways with only my school badge added on.” he said. After Form Five, Teoh left for Singapore where he spent the first few days sleeping in the streets. Initially it was difficult, but as he recalled, it was actually an important turning point in his life that led to a fresh start.

Some years later, Teoh returned to Penang and took up a salesman job in a plastic manufacturing company. He had to travel everywhere, whether to big cities or kampungs. It was the beginning of his love affair with plastic. Perhaps the other milestone in Teoh’s endeavor was when Heng Sew Hua offered him a partnership to start a new company. Initially he hesitated. He went to his immediate boss to ask for a raise instead but the answer he received woke him up and reminded him of his dream of becoming a businessman. “My boss told me that as a worker, I had no right to ask for a raise. Then he later went on to remind me that the economy was not that good and I might not get another job with such salary.” Teoh said he would not have had such an achievement today if his former boss had not push him over the cliff. “Although I left and started a plastic manufacturing company, I did not produce the same items and in fact I continued to help in his sales for the first few months until his new salesman was stable.” he continued.

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“The market in Malaysia is competitive and as we are gaining local consumers’ confidence, I told myself why only Malaysia when the world is so big?”

Teoh became a businessman in 1993 fulfilling his childhood dream. When Ee-Lian Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. was incorporated. Some years later, his business expanded from a little shop house in Penang island to acquiring land in Bukit Minyak Industrial Park. He was quick to understand that the plastic industry was very competitive and most, if not all, manufacturers were trying to capture the market through fierce price wars. Having much experience in sales, Teoh was very focused in creating his own brand, a trusted brand that would convince customers to purchase good quality plastic wares and not cheap productions. Furthermore, he put in efforts in researching and developing more interesting items that consumers would find useful, also Ee-Lian Enterprise was the very first company to participate in exhibitions overseas. “The market in Malaysia is competitive and as we are gaining local consumers’ confidence, I asked myself why only Malaysia when the world is so big?” It was a well planned strategy and today Eelianware can be found in over 30 countries. But for Teoh, this is only an appetizer and the main course is yet to come.

Fascinated with what plastic can do and its potential, Teoh believes that there is still plenty of potential market growth. In order to succeed, one needs a good and dedicated team. Teoh believes in three important points to retaining loyal workers. First, it is to allow workers and staff to see growth paths in their careers and a purpose to stay with the company. Second, to provide them with a sense of security as most of them have commitments to their families. Finally, it has a lot to do with self belonging, by treating each and everyone like family. “Teamwork is important and we are very proud to say that only 15 workers from middle to top management left since we started this company and that was more than 30 years ago.”

Lastly, when asked what Teoh has as a hobby, he candidly said his hobby is to work and grow the company especially now that his company has branches. The listed company SWS Capital has more reasons to expand. However, he finds time to be with his family and does not forget to always give back to the society.

栖居于拥挤的小木屋、十几岁成了问题学生、露宿街头以报纸当床,SWS 资本有限公司 (SWS Capital Berhad) 董事经理张汉川娓娓而谈他美好的回忆,和 EZ 马来西亚分享他的人生故事。

“我算是聪明的孩子,小学时的排名都在前三名内,那时候,我的梦想就是成为一名成功的企业家。” 张汉川诞生于清贫家庭,简陋小木屋是一家六口的栖居之所。因此,他认为只有当一名商人才能赚更多钱、过上更好的生活。然而上中学后,他的成绩却一落千丈,最终成了问题学生。“也许是因为我对母亲是一名洗衣女工、我只能穿别人丢弃只剩校徽是完整的旧制服的状况觉得羞愧。” 中五毕业后,张汉川南下新加坡寻找工作机会,开始几天都只能露宿街头。万事起头难,但正如他回忆那样,这实际上是他人生中一个重要的转折点,新的起始。

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“马来西亚市场竞争激烈,我们的产品也嬴得本地消费者的信心,我决定放眼国际市场。”

几年后,张汉川回到槟城,在一家塑料公司担任推销员。他走遍大城小镇去推销产品,这也是他与塑料 ‘相恋’ 的开始。张汉川的努力带来了另一个里程碑,当时亿联企业的另一名推手王少华问他是否愿意携手创业。起初他很犹豫,同时也向上司要求加薪,但他得到的答案让他惊醒并想起成为企业家的梦想。“老板说我作为一名工人,没有要求加薪的权利,后来又提醒我说现在经济不太好,不容易找到另外一份工作。” 他很感激的表示,如果后者没把他推向悬崖,他也不会有今天的成就。“虽然我离开了那家塑料公司,但我没有生产相同的产品,离职后的前几个月我还有继续帮他推销产品,直到他新的推销员可以接手工作。” 他续说。

1993年,张汉川成立了亿联企业(马)有限公司,实现了自己童年成为一名企业家的梦想。几年后,他公司的业务从槟城的一间小店扩展到武吉美雅工业区的大型工厂。张汉川也明白塑料业的竞争非常激烈,有过多年销售经验的他决定打造自己的品牌,一个值得信赖、可以说服顾客购买的高品质塑料制品,而不是一般的廉价品。他也花费研究和开发研究有趣兼实用的产品以满足客户的需求,亿联企业更是第一家参加海外展览会的公司。“马来西亚市场竞争激烈,我们的产品也嬴得本地消费者的信心,我决定放眼国际市场。” 随着精心的策略,如今 “伊恋汇” 产品遍布全球30多个国家。但对他来说,这只是一个开始,他的收获成果还没到来。

“我算是聪明的孩子,小学时的排名都在前三名内,那时候,我的梦想就是成为一名成功的企业家。”

张汉川认为,塑料还是深具潜能,市场仍然有很大的发展空间。而优秀敬业的团队,是公司迈向成功的关键。张汉川相信,培养员工的凝聚力和忠诚度有3大重点,首先必须赋予员工目标和成就感,其次是安全感,最后则是归宿感。“团队合作精神非常重要,我们可以非常自豪的说,自公司成立30多年以来,只有15位中高级管理人员离职过。”

最后,被问及有什么爱好时,张汉川笑称工作和让公司有更好的发展和就是他的爱好,尤其是公司现与上市公司SWS资本合并,是有扩大的理由。当然,闲暇时他仍会和家人同过,也不忘记持续回馈社会。

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