At 11, Lee Shin Cheng had to quit school to sell ice cream to help his family get by.
But he eventually returned to school in his early teens, realising that education was his pathway out of hardship.
His belief in education is what spurred him into many charitable contributions towards education over the years with a foundation under his name.
His education was in a Chinese school, so when he tried to apply for a place in European-owned Dunlop Estate in the 1960s, he was rejected for a lack of proficiency in English.
Eventually, Lee Shin Cheng gained employment as a field supervisor in a different company, and rose through the ranks.
He was finally able to buy Dunlop Estate and in part, grow Malaysia into a global leader in palm oil under IOI Group.
This, he cited, is in part thanks to his own experience on the palm estate ground.
Unfortunately, thanks to the dropping global demand and lowered prices of palm oil that in part crashed our currency as well, Lee Shin Cheng actually dropped from 3rd place since Forbes’ 2014 list.
Nevertheless, he remains bullish about palm oil and passionate about the business.