Tee Yih Jia



Tee Yih Jia is a privately owned food manufacturing company and reportedly the world’s largest producer of spring roll skins.1 Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing also manufactures a diverse range of frozen food products and holds interests in property, water and energy management and food distribution.2 The company’s rise was overseen by Goi Seng Hui, who acquired Tee Yih Jia as a small company in 1977 and transformed it into a global entity with gross revenues estimated to be in the hundreds of millions.3

Corporate background
Tee Yih Jia, meaning “Number One Company” in Mandarin, was incorporated in 1969 in Singapore as a small factory that specialised in manufacturing spring roll pastry.4 The company did a modest trade of around S$300,000 in annual sales until Goi bought it over in 1977 for S$450,000.5 Goi, an engineer by trade and the owner of a mechanical engineering factory, had bought the business as a favour to a friend. He had intended to let the friend carry on running Tee Yih Jia, but circumstances changed and Goi took control of the company in 1980.6

Goi set out to automate the company’s manufacturing and quality control processes, which had previously been only semi-mechanised. His engineering background proved to be useful as he personally oversaw the re-engineering of the machines and processes.7 In 1986, Tee Yih Jia won the National Productivity Award for its investment in research and development, and using technology to improve production.8 A year later, it received the Singapore Institute of Food Science and Technology’s Best Product Award.9 This drive for greater automation and technology upgrading has continued to be a focus for Tee Yih Jia, and the company obtained the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification in 1998.10

Corporate growth
Goi recognised the need to expand into foreign markets, and actively sought to build global distribution channels for his product.11 The initial export strategy was to target cities around the world with sizeable Chinese populations as gateways into those markets.12

In 1988, Tee Yih Jia took its first major steps overseas when it acquired Main On Foods, a food manufacturing and distribution company in Los Angeles, United States. The $15-million takeover provided the company with an entry point into the American market as well as a factory producing Asian cookies, pastry and noodles, warehousing and office space in the United States.13 In 1991, in a bid to expand its American network and capabilities, the company merged Main On Foods with Flavour Foods to form JSL Food Corporation.14 The company also enlarged its manufacturing base in 1993 with a new factory in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, to boost its exports to the United States.15 In 2000, Tee Yih Jia topped the Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards that honours Singapore’s most successful privately held companies.16

As the company grew, it continued to expand its reach through acquisition and joint.17 In fact, over the decades, Tee Yih Jia formed numerous strategic partnerships with various listed companies in the food industry such as Tung Lok, Super Coffeemix and Thai Village. It also invested in companies in other industries such as the electronics components distributor, Serial.18

In 2006, Goi revealed that Tee Yih Jia’s gross revenue for its Singapore operations was S$54 million. He did not disclose global revenues but conceded that they were “many times” that amount. The company commanded 80 percent of the spring roll skin market in Europe and Australia and nearly 60 percent of the United States market, producing more than 30 million spring roll skins daily.19

Product diversification and marketing
In a bid to diversify its products, Tee Yih Jia moved into new markets through joint ventures. For instance, in 1991, it entered a 50–50 joint venture with Indonesia’s Salim Group in Fujian, China, to manufacture frozen food. Two years later, it acquired a brewery in China that produced Rong Cheng beers.20 In 2006, the company joined with Super Coffeemix and Chinese company Jiangsu Hengsu to build a vinegar factory in China.21

The company expanded its product base by introducing frozen and microwave-ready meals such as nasi lemak, chicken rice and laksa in 1996.22 Acquisitions and joint ventures added more products to its portfolio such as beer, fortune cookies, yoghurt and Japanese noodles.23 By 1999, Tee Yih Jia’s products could be found all over the world, with the United States and Europe accounting for 60 percent of its sales and the Asia Pacific making up the remaining 40 percent.24

Tee Yih Jia marketed its products under the flagship brand, Spring Home. It also has a series of complementary brands, such as Happy Belly and Master Chef, catering to specific niche markets. All in all, the company strives to be known for its extensive range of high quality frozen convenience food products.25



Author

Alvin Chua



References
1. Jetley, N. P. (2011, August 8). Ready to roll. Forbes Asia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
2. Tan, H. A. (1999, November 26). No. 1 by name, no. 1 by nature. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tee Yi Jia Group. (n.d.). Corporate profile. Retrieved 2016, April 25 from Tee Yi Jia Group website: http://tyjfood.com/corporate/overview; Tee Yi Jia Group. (n.d.). Expanding our horizons. Retrieved 2016, April 25 from Tee Yi Jia Group website: http://tyjfood.com/corporate/expanding-our-horizons

3. Tan, H. A. (1999, November 26). No. 1 by name, no. 1 by nature. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Jetley, N. P. (2011, August 8). Ready to roll. Forbes Asia. Retrieved from Factiva
via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
4. Tan, H. A. (1999, November 26). No. 1 by name, no. 1 by nature. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tee Yi Jia Group. (n.d.). Milestones. Retrieved 2016, April 25 from Tee Yi Jia Group website: http://tyjfood.com/corporate/milestones
5. Tan, H. A. (1999, November 26). No. 1 by name, no. 1 by nature. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Low, E. (2000, November 23). Innovation key to success. The Business Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Low, E. (2000, November 23). Innovation key to success. The Business Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sophistication beneath the popiah skin. (1986, November 3). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Lee, A. (1989, February 13). Tee Yih Jia expands in the United States. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Lim, S. (2004, January 17). The secret of good skins. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Kolesnikov-Jessop, S. (2006, January 14). Self-made tycoon seeks next big niche. International New York Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Tan, C. (1996, November 28). Popiah-maker on a roll all over the world. The Business Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Kolesnikov-Jessop, S. (2006, January 14). Self-made tycoon seeks next big niche. International New York Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
13. Ong, C. C. (1988, January 29). Tee Yih Jia buys US firm. The Business Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Chia, W. (1991, August 5). Tee Yih Jia forms US joint ventureThe Business Times, p, 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Chang, H. (1993, February 3). Popiah king to start M’sian plant aimed at exporting to US. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Low, E. (2000, November 23). Tee Yih Jia clinches top enterprise awardThe Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Tee Yi Jia Group. (n.d.). Expanding our horizons. Retrieved 2016, April 25 from Tee Yi Jia Group website: http://tyjfood.com/corporate/expanding-our-horizons
18. Raj, C. (2007, February 21). Super connector on a rollThe Business Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Kolesnikov-Jessop, S. (2006, January 14). Self-made tycoon seeks next big niche. International New York Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
20. Cheng, H. (1993, June 12). Popiah king acquires full ownership of Chinese brewery. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Vinegar to help in China push for 2 S’pore firms. (2006, December 18). Today, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Eng, C. (1999, March 1). From popiah skins to roti prata. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Tan, C. (1996, November 28). Popiah-maker on a roll all over the world. The Business Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Eng, C. (1999, March 1). From popiah skins to roti prata. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Tee Yi Jia Group. (n.d.). Corporate profile. Retrieved 2016, April 25 from Tee Yi Jia Group website: http://tyjfood.com/corporate/overview



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we can 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
Organisations>>Companies
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry>>Industries
Business enterprises
Corporations--Singapore
Food industry and trade--Singapore
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Manufacturing industries>>Food, beverages and tobacco