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Irene Sia


Companies domiciled in Southeast Asia are following the current global trend of seeking new markets beyond the political boundaries of nation states. Many Chinese companies whose ancestors had travelled the world in search of new markets at the turn of the 20th Century, are now in the enviable position of branching out. The return to China phenomena to re-establish joint ventures in the land where their ancestors first learnt the trade is part of that continuous process of searching for markets. This is certainly the case with Yeo Hiap Seng, one of Southeast Asia's leading food and beverage manufacturers. In tracing the formation, development and restructuring of Yeo Hiap Seng from a small family company manufacturing a single product, soya sauce, to a conglomerate with diversified interests- we find a familiar story of hardships endured, and entrepreneurial flair combined with a canny ability to sustain a business through generations. Like so many family based companies, Yeo Hiap Seng, has had to adjust its shareholdings to accomodate the national policies of the countries in which they operate. How they have managed to do so whilst still retaining control is also a fascinating saga of business adaptability. The principal activities of both Yeo Hiap Seng (Malaysia) Berhad, (YHS (M)) and Yeo Hiap Seng Limited Singapore, (YHS (LTD)) are manufacturing and marketing food and beverages. YKS (M) Berhad is one of the four largest producers of food and beverages in Malaysia and YHS (Ltd) is the largest in Singapore.


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