Yao Hsiao Tung: The billionaire with a fighting spirit

Yao Hsiao Tung is a billionaire businessman who manages Hi-P International Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. Not many people have heard of Tung, but he is a great success story and an inspiration.

The prominent figurehead in the Singaporean business world achieved success at an older age and proved that privatizing your business can be a smart move.

In this Asia Leaders feature, we delve in the life of Yao Hsiao Tung and explore how he came to be one of Singapore’s most successful business identities.

Early Life

Yao Hsiao Tung was born in China in 1939 but moved to Taiwan with his family when he was five. His family lived in poverty, and he experienced bullying.

Tung grew up during World War II in China and Taiwan, and the crisis greatly affected his childhood. He walked to school barefoot in the cold and took shelter from the storms in bomb-decimated buildings.

Tung had a younger sister and two younger brothers, and he often had to care for them during the difficult years of the war. In addition, his father experienced a lot of job loss, and the family had to move frequently.

Despite his rough origins, Yao Hsiao Tung rose to become one of the wealthiest people in Singapore. Tung’s childhood struggles shaped him into the fearless businessman he is today.

Career Beginnings

Yao Hsiao Tung’s story encompasses many nations, as he has lived and worked in several different countries, most notably Singapore. He moved to Singapore in 1978 after his company, DuPont, transferred him. 

Five years later, Tung left the DuPont company in 1983 and began working for Hi-P as the head manager. Tung had worked with the company as an investor since its origins in 1980.

Career at Hi-P International Pte. Ltd.

Hi-P International Pte. Ltd. began as a metal forming toolmaker and insert mold producer in 1980. Now, the company is in the technology sector, and it oversees contract manufacturing and works with the Apple company.

In its early years, Hi-P struggled to make a profit, and the company was experiencing a lot of financial loss. However, Yao Hsiao Tung was able to bring the company to success. A few years after he joined Hi-P as a manager in 1983, it expanded globally and started to flourish.

During the beginning of his career with Hi-P, Tung worked incessantly for success. He barely slept and spent most of his time at work. However, Tung did not give up when Hi-P was losing money. After years of dedication, Hi-P finally found success, and it is now a significant player in the technology manufacturing world.

Related: Duan Yongping: China’s great quiet achiever

Career Highlights

  • 1939 – Yao Hsiao Tung was born in China
  • 1944 – Moved to Taiwan
  • 1978 – Moved to Singapore
  • 1980 – Began investing in Hi-P Tool & Die
  • 1983 – Became manager of the Hi-P company
  • 1983 – Appointed to the Hi-P Intl Ltd board of directors
  • 1993 – Opened Hi-P up to foreign investors in China
  • 2009 – Received an honorary doctorate from the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences
  • 2009 – Began working alongside Apple
  • 2020 – Purchased the rest of Hi-P shares
  • 2020 – Oversaw the rapid growth of Hi-P
  • 2021 – Listed on Asia’s Most Influential

Net Worth

Yao Hsiao Tung has a net worth of around US$1 billion. He earned his high net worth from business ventures and investments, most notably the tech company Hi-P.

In 2009, Tung and his wife owned more than half of Hi-P shares, and in 2017, his holdings jumped to 83%. Now, Tao Hsiao Tung owns the entire Hi-P company and still leads the company.

Personal Life

Yao Hsiao Tung is married to Wong Huey Fang, a fellow investor. She is also a high net-worth individual, and together she and her husband own all of the Hi-P shares. Madam Fang works for Hi-P as the chief administrative officer. She and Tung do not have children.


Yao Hsiao Tung is a relaxed individual known for his down-to-earth personality. He dresses casually and works in a simple office, and his no-nonsense way of doing things has enabled him to lead Hi-P successfully. 

Tung is a driven worker willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. In an interview for Next Insight, he said, “I really enjoy work. That’s why I seldom relax. You won’t believe it, but people say that I have a lot of energy for someone of my age.” 

Tung follows a healthy lifestyle, and he often credits his diet for his prolonged good health. He also enjoys swimming and going for long walks.

What is Yao Hsaio Tung doing now?

Yao Hsiao Tung is in charge of strategic direction and operations at Hi-P. He is also the principal investor in the company and owns 100% of Hi-P shares.

He has no plans to retire soon and is a hard worker who continues to lead his company to success. Yao Hsaio Tung said in a 2009 interview that he is ready to step back from the company when the time comes. However, since then, he has only increased his success with Hi-P. Tung led his company to victory through the 2008-2009 financial crisis and, recently, the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic.

Right now, Yao Hsiao Tung is focusing on adapting his company to the changing world markets. His best move recently was navigating the 2020 pandemic, when Hi-P thrived more than ever. 

As more people work from home, technology production is rising consistently, and Tung is currently at the forefront of the industry.

Yao Hsiao Tung’s “fighting spirit”

Yao Hsiao Tung is a fascinating example of the value of hard work and opportunity. He was born in poverty and rose to a $1 billion net worth from investing and working in the technology industry.

Tung is a billionaire businessman with a fighting spirit. He used his difficult beginnings to learn the value of perseverance and discipline. His years working ceaselessly for his company have led him to success, and nothing in his life came from sheer luck. 

Tung credits his “fighting spirit” as his reason for success. “A tough life can polish you, and you develop a fighting spirit. I have benefited from it,” he stated in an interview.

Yao Hsiao Tung is a man dedicated to hard work, perseverance, and dedication, and he is one of the most intriguing billionaires working in Singapore today.

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