High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. Undeniably, Mr. Lim Tau Yee has been guided by high expectations to strive for high achievement all his life, making moments like being awarded the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award (APEA) 2016, a joyous celebration of his success today.
Born on 24 November 1973 to parents who were part of the hardworking middle class that helped shape the destiny of Malaysia in the 1970s to 1990s, Tau Yee’s humble beginnings started in the suburban city centre of Johor Bahru, a town with a famous historical landmark known as the Sultan Ibrahim Building on Bukit Timbalan that remains iconic till today. His parents ran a small iron grill business and through resilience and hard work, they managed to put Tau Yee and his younger sister through school and provided them the essentials in life. Coming from a traditional Chinese family, his parents had sowed the seeds of integrity and courage into Tau Yee, who eventually grew into a tree of strength and wisdom.
His early education began at a local national school in Johor Bahru and Tau Yee soon began to excel in many subjects that interested his mind and hands most. From very young, he had displayed a keen interest in building things and a love for all things mechanical. He continued his studies in a prominent secondary school in Singapore which created the perfect environment for him to nurture his fertile imagination and enthusiasm in sports. Being interested in competitive games, Tau Yee actively participated in many school events. He was a school badminton player in his secondary years and represented the school in badminton championships. Tau Yee was good at work and at play. Tau Yee’s fondest childhood memories was dismantling toys, much to the horror of his parents, but he was always able to put them back together again. This curiosity shaped his ambition to be a machinery design engineer when he grew up.
Tau Yee continued his tertiary education at Singapore Polytechnic where he studied Mechanical Engineering with great passion. His academic excellence was a result of sheer hard work, intelligence and smart study. His determination stemmed from a childhood experience of being side-lined by well-to-do kids during his primary school days. This episode fueled his resolve to work hard and surpass them one day. In fact, Tau Yee has never looked back since in his pursuit of surpassing others in every avenue of his life. When times were tough and his parents could not afford any hired help, Tau Yee started to learn the ropes of his parents’ iron grill business at the tender age of 13 years. With their guidance, he quickly picked up the fundamental skills of the business and, qualities of endurance and perseverance that developed his vision to be a successful entrepreneur.
In 1988, Tau Yee’s father started a concrete equipment fabrication company and this sparked his interest in the mechanical aspect of building equipment. Following his graduation, Tau Yee embarked on the start of his career in the construction industry. In 1994, he was responsible for the management of the first subsidiary company in his father’s business that was involved in the rental of concrete equipment. It was no easy task for Tau Yee as he felt the disadvantage of being a young rookie when he started working alongside older and more experienced seniors who had dominated the industry for years. Nevertheless, he persevered and gained their respect when it came to managing the business well. By year 2000, Tau Yee was managing both the holding and subsidiary companies that his father had set up, earning the reputation as a fast learner and a force to be reckoned with in the concrete and building industry.
Spurred on by continued business growth and plans for expansion, Tau Yee led the merger of the company with Batch Technologies in Singapore, a leading manufacturing of ready-mixed concrete batch plant and related equipment in Southeast Asia in 2012. This year marked the pinnacle of his success when he became the Managing Director of Batch Technologies Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which specializes in control systems and regulators, concrete mining equipment and supplies, fabricating and installation of concrete batching plant. With an estimated 100 employees based in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur, Batch Technologies Malaysia has become one of Malaysia’s leading industry players in ready-mixed concrete batch plant and related equipment with an annual turnover of RM25 million. Tau Yee’s strategic thinking, business acumen and effective leadership played a pivotal role in defining the success of the business today. For the next 5 to 10 years, Tau Yee is gearing up the company for an IPO, another challenging and ultimately, rewarding chapter for Batch Technologies Malaysia.
Leading a balanced lifestyle is key to Tau Yee’s success in life. Married and with 2 children, now in their teenage years has kept Tau Yee grounded in his perspective on work and family, wealth and health, as well as pride and humility. Today, Tau Yee regularly enjoys golfing where he can putt to the chase and find splendour in the grass. Keen on fitness, he also enjoys swimming as a leisure activity whenever the opportunity for a relaxing splash comes up. Living in the city can be grueling and Tau Yee has often toyed with the idea of a less hectic lifestyle on a nice, secluded farm with his family, where the harvest of nature and symphony of sounds from farm animals can soothe the mind and rejuvenate the soul.
Words of wisdom that Tau Yee lives and often shares with his peers are “Be a game changer, the world has enough followers.” This powerful phrase has guided him in challenging times and in making strategic decisions that determine the company’s future. He also firmly believes that “if something is too good to be true, it probably is”. These wise words are critical to making good choices in everything he does, be it in business or family.
When Tau Yee pursued excellence, leadership followed. An inspiring advice from him would be “working smart is important but so is working hard. Short cuts are often deceiving because you could find yourself back at ground zero.” From zero to hero, one of his greatest achievements in life is turning his company around since he took over in 2012. This is an accomplishment that defines greater things to come from a business leader who believes in the power of progress, inspires innovation and changes the game to his advantage every time. Undoubtedly, his vision for a greater tomorrow starts today.