Richard Tay



Richard Tay Tian Hoe (b. 195?, Singapore–) is the group managing director of YHI International Limited, a Singapore public-listed company that distributes automotive and industrial products. The company is also an original design manufacturer (ODM) for alloy wheels.1 It was established in 1948 by Tay’s father as a sole proprietorship for tyre and automotive battery trading. Tay has since transformed the business into an international company with subsidiaries and associated companies in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, USA, Japan, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Italy. Tay is a pioneer in the alloy wheel industry and YHI is now the world’s largest maker of after-market rims.2 In recognition of his entrepreneurial achievements, Tay was awarded the Lianhe Zaobao-ENDEC Entrepreneurship Excellence Award in 1996, and the Ernst & Young Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007.3

Early life
Tay’s father, Tay Chin Kiat, was an immigrant from China and set up Yew Huat & Company in 1948.4 The shop, located at Geylang Lorong 39, was a sole proprietorship trading in tyres and automotive batteries. During his younger days, Tay would help his father after school and during holidays.5 This experience cultivated his deep interest in cars and automotive accessories.6 After completing his G.C.E. “A” levels at Chung Cheng High School, Tay joined his father’s company.7 In 1970, Tay set up Yew Huat Tyre Company together with his brothers. The company sold tyres and batteries in Singapore, and later expanded to include the import and wholesale of tyres, alloy wheels and automotive batteries.8 Over time, his business expanded into the ASEAN countries, China, Australia and New Zealand.9

Business accomplishments
Tay displayed his entrepreneurial flair early in his career. At the age of 21, he flew to Japan and successfully negotiated a Singapore distributorship for Hitachi batteries. In 1973, the company became the sole agent for Hitachi batteries in Singapore. The next year, he secured an exclusive distributorship for Yokohama tyres with one of Japan’s biggest tyre manufacturers. He scored another coup in 1975 when the company became the sole distributor of Enkei alloy wheels in Singapore.10 That same year, his father retired. Yew Huat & Company and Yew Huat Tyre Company were subsequently merged into Yew Huat Tyre & Battery Pte Ltd.11

During the 1980s and 1990s, Tay led the company through various stages of expansion and re-organisation. The company began importing cheaper automotive batteries from Korea and Taiwan as well as Hitachi industrial power products from Japan. Tay also took the company further afield to countries such as Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand.12

Formerly known as Yew Huat Industries Pte Ltd., the company changed its name to YHI Holdings Pte Ltd. in January 1995.13

In 1996, Tay made the bold decision to include the design and manufacture of alloy wheels as part of YHI’s range of products and services. In doing so, YHI became the first original design manufacturer (ODM) for alloy wheels in Singapore.14 Its first manufacturing plant was located in Taiwan. Under his leadership, the company grew from strength to strength, receiving the Enterprise 50 Award consecutively from 1995 to 1999.15 In 2003, the company was listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange.16 The company was consistently ranked among the top 100 companies in Singapore from 2005 to 2008, based on overseas revenue.17 In 2008, Tay made a much-publicised move to supply the Toro Rosso Formula One racing team with YHI’s proprietary brand of Advanti Racing lightweight racing rims. That year, the team won the Italian Grand Prix.18 Advanti Racing received the Regional Brand title at the Singapore Prestige Brand Award, an annual event organised by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and Lianhe Zaobao.19

At about the time when YHI was producing alloy wheels and tyres, Tay had also planned to enter the battery-making market, as he considered such a move to mark a “complete transition from being a mere distributor of these three products to becoming a manufacturer of them”.20

In recognition of his entrepreneurial achievements, Tay was awarded the Lianhe Zaobao-ENDEC Entrepreneurship Excellence Award in 1996 and the Ernst & Young Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007.21 He also received the Rotary-ASME Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1996.22

Racing enthusiast
In his younger days, Tay was also a racing enthusiast. He used to race his Mini Cooper S at Sembawang and the Thomson Road circuit, as well as the Batu Tiga circuit in Shah Alam, Malaysia.23 He has won several Singapore Grand Prix trophies and Mini Cooper race events in both countries. He gave up racing in 1975 to concentrate on the family business, and at the advice of his then wife-to-be, who was concerned for his safety.24

Family25
Wife:
Dawn (married in 1978).

Son: Ryan.
Daughters: Sue Anne and Sue Jean.



Author

Isabel Ong



References
1. Ramchandani, N. (2007, November 29). YHI aims to pull ahead of the competition. The Business Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Ee, S. (2005, November 19). A passion for rims. The Business Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Ramchandani, N. (2007, November 29). YHI aims to pull ahead of the competition. The Business Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. YHI Corporation (S) Pte Ltd. (2016). Corporate milestones. Retrieved 2016, August 30 from YHI Corporation website: http://www.yhigroup.com/about-us/corporate-milestones/
5. Leong, C. T. (2003, June 29). Vision, flair and gumption help family business go regional. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Tan, C. (2007, October). Wheeling and dealing. In Torque. Retrieved 2009, April 22 from http://books.google.com/books?id=_PUDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA6&source=gbs_toc_pages&cad=0_1#PPA16,M1
7. Leong, C. T. (2003, June 29). Vision, flair and gumption help family business go regional. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Ee, S. (2005, November 19). A passion for rims. The Business Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Leong, C. T. (2003, June 29). Vision, flair and gumption help family business go regional. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Leong, C. T. (2003, June 29). Vision, flair and gumption help family business go regional. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Tan, C. (2007, October). Wheeling and dealing. In Torque. Retrieved 2009, April 22 from http://books.google.com/books?id=_PUDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA6&source=gbs_toc_pages&cad=0_1#PPA16,M1
12. Leong, C. T. (2003, June 29). Vision, flair and gumption help family business go regional. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Bloomberg.com. (2016). Company overview of YHI Holdings Pte Ltd. Retrieved 2016. September 19 from Bloomberg.com website: http://www.bloomberg.com/Research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapid=22784016
14. Ramchandani, N. (2007, November 29). YHI aims to pull ahead of the competition. The Business Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Leong, C. T. (2003, June 29). Vision, flair and gumption help family business go regional. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. YHI Corporation (S) Pte Ltd. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2016, August 30 from YHI Corporation website: http://www.yhigroup.com/about-us/company-profile/
17. YHI Corporation (S) Pte Ltd. (2016). About us – accolades. Retrieved 2016, August 30 from YHI Corporation website: http://www.yhigroup.com/about-us/accolades/
18. Lim, L. (2008, September 16). Businessman’s winning feeling. The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. YHI Corporation (S) Pte Ltd. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from YHI Corporation website: http://www.yhigroup.com/about-us/accolades/
20. YHI plans to become battery manufacturer. (2008, March 26). The Business Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Ramchandani, N. (2007, November 29). YHI aims to pull ahead of the competition. The Business Times, p. 42. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. YHI Corporation (S) Pte Ltd. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2016, August 30 from YHI Corporation website: http://www.yhigroup.com/about-us/company-profile/
23. Lim, L. (2008, March 22). A need for speed, even at 57. The Straits Times, p. 68. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, C. (2007, October). Wheeling and dealing. In Torque. Retrieved 2009, April 22 from http://books.google.com/books?id=_PUDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA6&source=gbs_toc_pages&cad=0_1#PPA16,M1
24. Lim, L. (2008, March 22). A need for speed, even at 57. The Straits Times, p. 68. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Lim, L. (2008, March 22). A need for speed, even at 57. The Straits Times, p. 68. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Automobile racing drivers--Singapore--Biography
Tay, Richard Tian Hoe
Sports, recreation and travel>>Motoring
Personalities
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Services>>Transportation and logistics
Personalities>>Biographies
Directors of corporations--Singapore--Biography
Award winners--Singapore--Biography