Carlos Chan is Management Man of the Year

"It’s easy to see why."



Don Carlos Chan has been named the Management Man of the Year 2021 by the Management Association of the Philippines. MAP has 1,000 CEOs in the Philippines among its members. It is the most prestigious association of CEOs and entrepreneurs in the country.

Three Philippine presidents have given Carlos Chan the honorific title of ambassador for his efforts in promoting Philippine-China friendship, trade, and culture, and for his pioneering entrepreneurship in the world’s largest market.

Carlos Chan is the Potato Chips King of the Philippines, and China. His Oishi snack food brand is one of the best known, most widely respected and the best-selling in the world’s most populous country.  Oishi is the first non-Chinese company to win the Shanghai Famous Brand Award.

The Management Man of the Year Award is bestowed on exceptional persons who have posted a record of achievement and distinction as leaders and managers of organizations, and who are exemplary models who deserve to be emulated by their peers and by the younger leaders and managers.

Nominees go through a rigid and stringent selection process by a panel composed of leading CEOs themselves.  The conferment of the award follows a thorough, stringent selection process. The distinction of MAP Management Man of the Year has only been conferred 45 times in the past 50 years of the award.

The criteria for the award include integrity, leadership, and management qualities; contribution to nation-building and values formation; effective stewardship within the confines of the highest standard of business and management practice; among others.

According to a MAP announcement, Chan was chosen for the following:

• For his business acumen and management qualities in transforming a local cornstarch-repacking business into an international snack manufacturing company;

• For being an exemplar of the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit that is globally competitive;

• For demonstrating patriotism and for helping enhance the country’s image by carrying the Philippine flag with pride in all his business operations abroad;

• For his leadership role in the substantial contributions of the Liwayway Group to national development through technology improvements, product development, skills training, job creation and income generation;

• For his contributions to shaping national values and inspiring others by his outstanding achievements attained from humble beginnings through hard work, perseverance and discipline; and

• For setting an example for Filipino managers through a track record of integrity, entrepreneurial excellence, managerial competence and professional leadership in his management career in both private and public sectors.

Carlos first entered the vast China market for snack foods in 1993.  It was not an easy effort.  His initial foray was not positive at all.  But he persevered.

By 2018, Chan’s Liwayway Group had 15 factories in 10 provinces in China, including a facility on the border of Kazakhstan.   The headquarters and the state-of-the-art main factory sit on a 17-ha lot. in Shanghai.  In the Philippines, the main factory is Oishi’s 40-hectare compound in Cavite.  In 2018, Oishi already had five factories in the Philippines.

Carlos has also invested in hotels in the Philippines with the giant Jinjiang hotel brand of China, and with the JCO donuts chain of Indonesia.

Oishi is also manufactured in Vietnam, where it has had four plants and is the market leader.  It has factories in Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, and India.  Carlos is looking to as far as South Africa and Eastern European countries for possible locations.

Chan went to Shanghai after Deng Xiao Ping opened up the economy in the early 1990s.  Twenty-two years ago, Liwayway leased two plants with some 400 workers from a state-owned company.   He invested $3.5 million in his factory.  His products are branded Oishi – reflecting the Japanese word for delicious and Japanese technology.

As the saying goes, if you could sell a product worth one yuan to each Chinese, you would make 1.3 billion yuan (P7.7 billion in Philippine currency). But China was so poor then, not much of the population could afford even a 50 yuan snack food.  So Liwayway invested in technology.   “We exported our food manufacturing technology to China from the Philippines,” relates Larry Chan, fourth son of Carlos and now chairman of Liwayway.  Carlos is chair emeritus. And in charge of business development. 

Another son, Archie, is in charge of R and D, the food group, and chairman of the Philippine company Liwayway Marketing  A daughter, Rinby is in charge of packaging design and development.  Eldest son Carlson is in charge of new business.  Another son, Ozen, is on top of the Philippines and other Asian countries. Carlos dispatched his children to Shanghai to learn and expand the business.   They live there.

The Chans are very particular in not having Oishi snack foods labeled junk food.  “They are nutritious health foods, with zero trans-fat,” insists the boyish-looking Larry.

In 1996, Oishi was named a “Shanghai Famous Brand” and in 2001, a “China Famous Brand.”  Carlos himself was named an honorary citizen of Shanghai in 2005.

Liwayway was started by Carlos’s parents in 1946, just after the War, repackaging goods like coffee and cornstarch (Liwayway Gawgaw is a long-time bestseller) from the masses. Liwayway means “break of dawn” in Pilipino and is meant to signify hope and optimism. Liwayway ventured into snack food manufacturing in 1974 with the brand “Oishi.”

Carlos Chan relates that he went into business because the brood was large, eight children, and there was little pie to divide among themselves. The children incorporated Chan C. Bros. in 1963 to make lighting and bathroom fixtures and acrylic products.

Past Management Men of the Year awardees include:

Washington Z. SyCip (1967), Geronimo Z. Velasco (1977), Henry A. Brimo (1978), Jose M. Soriano (1979), Cesar E.A. Virata (1981), Jaime V. Ongpin and Vicente T. Paterno (1982), Dante G. Santos (1983), Cesar A. Buenaventura and Roberto T. Villanueva (1985), Jaime Zobel de Ayala (1987), Ramon V. del Rosario, Sr. (1988), Jose B. Fernandez, Jr. (1989), Raul T. Concepcion (1990),

Oscar J. Hilado (1991), Alfonso T. Yuchengco (1992), Juan B. Santos (1994), David M. Consunji and Rizalino S. Navarro (1996), Gabriel C. Singson (1998), Delfin L. Lazaro and Henry Sy, Sr. (1999), Oscar M. Lopez (2000),

Tony Tan Caktiong (2002), Jesus P. Tambunting (2003), Rafael B. Buenaventura (2004), Manuel V. Pangilinan (2005),

George S. K. Ty and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II (2006), Jose L. Cuisia Jr. (2007), Antonino T. Aquino and Jesus P. Estanislao (2009), Lilia B. de Lima and Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. (2010),

Erramon Aboitiz (2011), Aurelio R. Montinola III (2012), Edgar O. Chua (2013), Albert F. del Rosario (2014), Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. (2015), Teresita Sy-Coson (2016), John L. Gokongwei, Jr. (2017), Fernando Zobel de Ayala (2018), Nestor V. Tan (2019), and Federico R. Lopez (2020).

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Topics: Liwayway Group , Don Carlos Chan , Management Man of the Year 2021 , Management Association of the Philippines

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