Building a business is akin to building a nation, as one needs to understand his or her intrinsic strengths and leverage on them in order to achieve success, says Yinson Holdings Bhd founder and group executive chairman Lim Han Weng.
Reminiscing about the first ever Merdeka Day in 1957, Lim says he was only five years old when Malaysia achieved independence.
He remembers participating in the celebration in the small town of Sungai Petani, Kedah, where there were many festivities and a great atmosphere of joy.
“Even at that young age, I had a sense that a change was taking place, and that there was a transition into something new and promising.
“As I grew older, Merdeka, to me, became a symbol of our opportunity to take control of our own destiny.
“No longer being under British rule meant that we could now determine our own future, from our legal system to our infrastructure and identity as a nation.
“We also have the freedom and ability to carve our own path in this world,” he elaborates.
Lim is the son of Chinese nationals who emigrated to Malaysia on a dangerous boat ride with only the clothes on their backs and their steadfast determination to build a better life for their family.
Lim’s father started off by selling Chinese medicine in Kampung Bakar Arang, Sungai Petani, and eventually earned enough to buy a small piece of land to grow rubber and palm oil trees.
“Every single day, come rain or shine, my father would head out to the plantations and work long hours to sustain his family.
“I did not come from a privileged background, but the lessons my father taught me were deeply enriching and are the foundations of my personal principles in life.
“He taught me that nothing comes easy in life and showed me that determination is the key to achieving one’s dreams.
“He also demonstrated that learning from our mistakes is critical to improving ourselves,” says Lim.
Yinson had humble beginnings as a small transport and logistics company in Johor Bahru.
Lim built the company from scratch in 1983 and developed it into one of the nation’s largest transport companies over the next 20 years.
In 2010, Yinson ventured into the marine transport business to complement its transport and logistic services.
The following year, Yinson entered the oil and gas industry by forming a consortium with PetroVietnam Technical Services Corp, which was subsequently awarded a contract for the charter of a floating storage and offloading vessel (FSO).
This paved the way for Yinson to win a contract for the charter of a floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which are essentially vessels that store and process oil.
Today, Yinson is a global company and the sixth largest active floating FPSO provider in the world, with a fleet size of five FPSOs and one FSO.
Lim recalls his proudest moment in the Yinson journey, when the group acquired Fred. Olsen Productions ASA in 2014.
Fred. Olsen is a well-established Norwegian FPSO company, through which Yinson inherited a strong and experienced team to take the business to new heights.
“I often dreamed about working for a large European company.
“In fact, I applied for a job at one when I was a young man, but I was rejected.
“It was a blow, but I did not let that experience falter me,” he recounts.
“I suppose things have a funny way of turning out for the better.
“Now, what we have achieved is far greater. We have successfully integrated a highly esteemed European company and created a truly global company.
“Together, we are making significant strides in shaping the energy infrastructure of the world.
“And because of our growth, we are able to positively impact the world’s energy landscape and infrastructure, and contribute to the local communities in which we operate,” he says, beaming.
Yinson’s success is also built upon the diverse strengths of “Yinsonians”, guided by Lim’s stewardship.
“Our core values have played an integral part in our success,” he notes.
Lim’s advice to Malaysians aspiring to achieve success in their careers is to make it a practice to regularly self-reflect and be self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward and improve.
“Remember that it is okay to fail, but we must learn from our weaknesses and failures, and be the better versions of ourselves tomorrow,” he says.
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