A Brief Biography of Mr. Shing Pee Tao
Mr. Shing Pee Tao was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province on December 25, 1916. The family upbringing and the word and deed of the family left an indelible mark on Mr. Tao's future successful life and career. At 10, he moved to Shanghai with his family and later entered Sino-French School and Aurora University. Mr. Tao, at 21, went on to Vietnam, Myanmar and engaged himself in transportation business when the War Against Japanese Invasion broke out in 1937. During the 1940s, Mr. Tao mainly did trade business in Southeast Asian countries and started his entrepreneurial career. In 1960s, Mr. Tao and his family became naturalized citizens and settled down in Singapore. His businesses expanded to shipping, banking, and property developing and became a multi-national business tycoon.
In late 1970s when China lifted its bamboo curtain and implemented its opening up policy, Mr. Tao was convinced that China would experience an unprecedented development in the future. Without any hesitation, he immediately made his first trip back to Nanjing after he left China 40 years and proposed to build Jinling Hotel. Subsequently, Mr. Tao invested and developed a few key projects, which are testaments of his genuine support for the opening up and reform policy institutionalized in China in late 1970s. In his late years, Mr. Tao faded out from his business activities and shifted his focus on the underdevelopment in remote rural areas and the gap between the urban and rural in China. He devoted himself to charity to cultivate the rural talents to encourage them to make their contributions to the socio-economic development in rural China. At 80, Mr. Tao established Tao Shing Pee Education Foudnation; at 90, he set up Jiangsu Tao Shing Pee Education Foundation. In 2006 and 2010, he was appointed Honorary President of Jisngsu Charity Federation.
Mr. Shing Pee Tao is a prestigious and respected Chinese industrialist. Mr. Tao went abroad alone to pursue his business career in his early 20s. At first, he engaged in transportation business in Vietnam and Myanmar during the War Against the Japanese Invation. After the War ended in 1945, he went on to do export business and shipping of rice and teak in many southeast Asian countries and Hong Kong. In the early 1960s, Mr. Tao settled down in Singapore with his family and continued to engage in shipping, banking and real estate development. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, Mr. Tao seized the opportunity and focused on real estate development. The establishment of Shing Kwan Company, Singapore Land and Jakarta Land in Indonesia made him a pioneer in Singapore real estate circle. Among them, Singapore Land has grown from a small company to one of the largest listed companies in Singapore, hailed as a pioneer of the times. As one of Singapore's real estate giants and pioneers of reclamation, Shing Kwan, Marina Square, Clifford Centre, Shell Tower and The Gateway are all masterpieces of excellence projects.
After the implementation of the reform and opening up, China was faced with a shortage of funds and talents, and needed to attract a large number of foreign investment to promote economic construction. Mr. Tao responded to the call of the motherland and helped build the Jinling Hotel in his hometown Nanjing in 1978. Mr. Tao also urged the Singapore government to establish an industrial park in Suzhou, and became one of the investors of the Suzhou Industrial Park, which created a new model and became a pioneer of China's reform and opening up. In 1993, Mr. Tao and other famous overseas Chinese jointly invested in the construction of ShanghaiMart, which became the largest perennial exhibition center in Asia. In addition, he also invested in Beijing Landmark Towers, Suzhou Jinhua Garden, Mandarin Garden Hotel in Nanjing and other projects. After years of hard work in business world, Mr. Tao became an outstanding transnational entrepreneur and Chinese industrialist enjoying high reputation and high prestige in Singapore. In view of his outstanding contribution to the development of Chins-Singapore business relations, he was conferred the 2010 inaugural Business China Excellence Award by the Singaporean government. The late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the Minister Mentor and the former Prime Minister of Singapore, presented the award to Mr. Tao in person. In 2015, Mr. Tao was awarded the Chinese Business Pioneers Award by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce at the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of Singapore.
Mr. Shing Pee Tao was an outstanding entrepreneur who had the gumption to meet up the difficulties and challenges. Throughout his life, Mr. Tao followed his creed of life that "do not tell lies, do not deceive others, and treat others with sincerity and honesty", and his code of conduct that "try your best and go all out, be open and transparent, and blame yourself instead of others for doing things wrong", therefore he achieved a remarkable career of a successful entrepreneur in his nearly 70 years in his vast scope of business areas. Since 1940, Mr. Tao started his self-employed career in Southeast Asia, focusing on transportation, miscellaneous grain trade, shipping, real estate development and other businesses. In the process of those business operations, he once encountered a lack of funds, the danger that Japanese aircraft bombing the wharf, and even the frustration that his property and family possessions accumulated with hardship were confiscated by the Myanmar's military coup government, but he never backed off or feared difficulties or challenges. He made the best use of his wisdom to get through difficulties, saved himself in times of danger, and chose to wait and prepare when there was no choice. He always took integrity and credibility as the foundation of his career and cooperation with mutual-benefits as the basis of his entrepreneurship. He was highly trusted by different partners by treating others with sincerity and honesty, and obtained his legitimate interests by being open and transparent. After his family settled in Singapore in the 1960s, Mr. Tao took a stock and concentrated on the real estate industry. In just a few years, besides Shing Kwan House, he also built Shell Tower, three hotels at the Marina Square, the Gateway and the Arcadia residential area, bringing his entrepreneurial career to the peak. During China's reform and opening-up era and China needed to attract large amounts of foreign investment, Mr. Tao did not hesitate to express his active support. He became one of the first foreign investors participated in the major domestic construction projects in China. He successively built a number of influential construction projects, including Jinling Hotel in Nanjing, Beijing Landmark Towers, Shanghaimart, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou Jinhua Garden, Mandarin Garden Hotel in Nanjing and Shanghai Xintiandi. With Mr. Tao's visionary and long-term strategic foresight, he paid attention to China's reform and opening-up policy and invested in service and trade projects in the 1990s. Meanwhile, because of Sri Lanka's unique geographic advantages and location, he pioneered the investment in the construction of twin towers at the capital of Sri Lanka - the Colombo World Trade Center. This modern twin tower is not only the tallest building in Sri Lanka, but also once was the tallest building in South Asia. As a representative building of a modern city, the World Trade Center has become a well-known urban landmark in Colombo and occupies a prominent position in the major historical stage of this country's development. Mr. Tao seized every chance for some important and promising construction projects, and dedicated with every effort and put himself into it. He set a very good example among many entrepreneurs and practitioners at home and abroad with his unique entrepreneurial spirit.
Mr. Shing Pee Tao is a fervent patriot who loved his motherland. Mr. Tao spent most of his life time overseas doing businesses, but always cherished his wish to return to his home town. In 1987, he came back to Nanjing and helped build the Jinling Hotel, which was opened on October 4, 1983. Jinling Hotel is an epitome of China's opening up and reform policy. For 10 years, Jinling Hotel was honored as the tallest building in China (1983-1993). It is also hailed as a hallmark of the Chinese five-star hotel, which is operated and managed solely by the Chinese managers. With an international perspective, Mr. Tao was convinced that China needed to have better infrastructure in order to attract foreign investment and improve business transaction environment to realize win-win. In 1989, Liangmahe Mansion was completed, situated at the CBD of Beijing; in 1993, ShanghaiMart was launched and completed in 1999, the then largest exhibition center in Asia covering a floor area of 280,000 square meters. Subsequently, Mr. Tao continued his investment in Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou Jinhua Complex, Nanjing Mandrin Hotel, which is a testament of Mr. Tao's support for China's opening up and reform policy.
Mr. Tao is education philanthropist, who paid enough attention to cultivate talents to make contributions to the socio-economic development in rural China. The tumultuous youth and dozens of years engaged in business activities convinced Mr. Tao that talents were of utmost importance to China's economic development. Alongside his businesses, Mr. Tao never ceased to invest in his philanthropic activities. He stressed time and again that the key to national buildup and economic prosperity was education. In 1991, Mr. Tao donated one million yuan to rebuild Yungong Primary School at his hometown of Hengxi Tonwship of Jiangning District in Nanjing. Since then, he had donated more 20 million yuan to the school. In late years, he decided to set up an foundation to train enterprisers for Chinese companies. Hence, Tao Shing Pee Education Foundation came into being to sponsor the Chinese students to complete their MBAs at Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The scholarship winners are encouraged to return to and serve China for two years. Up to now, a total of 99 scholars won TSP Scholars and they are serving as leaders in various business circles and social sectors. They endeavor to continue Mr. Tao's legacy to help the needy and pioneering spirit to engage in entrepreneurship. Mr. Tao went beyond this to bridge the regional gaps between the east and the west and between the rich and the poor by cultivating the talents from the rural areas. Therefore, Jiangsu Tao Shing Pee Education Foundation was established in 2006 with a total of 1.7 billion yuan contributed by Mr. Tao Shing Pee and Madam Liu Kwan Li. The scholarship was named afer Mr. And Mrs. Tao as Peeli Scholarship to provide financial aid to students from underdeveloped rural areas: 1) to complete their tertiary education; and 2) to encourage graduating students to return to their home communities by providing entrepreneurial guidance and financial backing to start up local businesses. Up to now, JSTSPEF has sponsored a total of 16,000 Tao students of more than 30 nationalities in 31 provinces and autonomous regions on Mainland China. The Peeli Scholarship was honored by the Second China Charity Award as an outstanding project. Mr. Tao was honored as the Most Distinguished Donor by the Third China Charity Award.