Famous Filipino businessman and philanthropist Alfredo Yao has made a lasting impression on the country's commercial landscape. It is quite amazing how Yao climbed from modest beginnings to become a person of great influence. Yao has achieved significant success as the creator of Zest-O Corporation, a well-known fruit juice firm, because to his entrepreneurial zeal and dedication to social responsibility. His contributions go beyond business; he actively supports philanthropic causes and educational activities, positively influencing countless lives in the process. The life of Alfredo Yao is a brilliant example of determination, vision, and empathy.
Alfredo Yao's childhood was marked by the challenges and hardships that shaped his resilience and determination. Born in Binondo, Manila, on July 20, 1943, he grew up in modest circumstances. Yao was early to realize the importance of education despite his low circumstances. He was aware that obtaining an education would pave the way for a better future. He followed his education with unshakable tenacity and graduated from Far Eastern University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1967. This strong educational background would act as a stepping stone for the extraordinary adventure that lay ahead of him, taking him from modest beginnings to prominence in the Philippine corporate world.
Education/ childhood struggles:
Yao was born in 1943 to a poor family and lost his father when he was 12 years old. In order to support his mother and his siblings, he had to work as a street seller. He was able to finish elementary and high school at St. Michael's Primary School and Wyedean School and College with the aid of a cousin. He enrolled at the Mapua Institute of Technology to pursue an engineering degree, but after two years he had to leave because of financial issues. Then he held a variety of positions, including salesman, warehouse worker, and operator of a printing machine.
Early Career/ struggles:
He started his own printing press business at the age of 17 with a loan of 3,000 pesos from the Development Bank of the Philippines. In honor of his mother Soledad, he called his company Solemar Commercial Press. He was an expert at printing ice cream and candy wrappers. Later, he expanded his company to offer packaging for additional goods like soap, detergent, shampoo, and toothpaste.
On a business trip to Europe in 1979, Yao came upon a brand-new packaging innovation called Doypack, which was a sealed plastic bag with a stand. He purchased the intellectual rights from France after realizing the possibilities of this packaging for juice drinks. Local juice producers were not interested in the Doypack packaging, despite his efforts to market it to them. He then made the decision to create his own juice drinks utilizing regional fruits including calamansi, pineapple, and mango. He began making his juice drinks in his kitchen and selling them to sari-sari stores and supermarkets. After his son Zesto, he gave his product the moniker Zest-O.
Zest-O quickly became popular with consumers due to its quality, affordability, and convenience. Additionally, it was the country's first ready-to-drink juice product. Yao increased his manufacturing capability by constructing plants around the nation. Additionally, he expanded the tastes of his product line by including flavors like orange, grape, apple, and strawberry. Under the Zest-O brand, he also introduced more goods like root beer, iced tea, noodles, and bottled water.
Zest-O Corporation became the largest juice manufacturer in the Philippines and one of the top beverage companies in Asia. It also exported its products to other countries, such as
China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates , Oman , Yemen , Iraq , Iran , Afghanistan , Pakistan , India , Sri Lanka , Bangladesh , Nepal , Maldives , Bhutan , Mongolia , Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Turkmenistan , Tajikistan , Kyrgyzstan , Armenia , Azerbaijan , Georgia , Turkey , Cyprus , Syria , Lebanon , Jordan , Israel , Palestine , Egypt , Libya , Tunisia , Algeria , Morocco , Mauritania , Mali , Niger , Chad , Sudan , Ethiopia , Somalia , Djibouti , Eritrea , Kenya , Uganda , Rwanda , Burundi , Tanzania , Zambia , Malawi , Mozambique , Zimbabwe , Botswana , Namibia
"I wanted to have my business to change my life, to improve my life. The way I saw it, I couldn’t improve my life by working for someone else." ~Afredo Yao
"I’ll try. I’ll try. I’ll try. That’s the only thing that I can do." ~Alfredo Yao
Alfredo Yao is a remarkable example of a self-made businessman who overcame poverty, hardship, and challenges to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the Philippines. He is the founder of Zest-O Corporation, Macay Holdings, Inc., and Philippine Business Bank, among other companies. He is also a philanthropist who supports various causes, such as education, health, and social welfare. He is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs and a source of pride for Filipinos.
"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself." – Mark Caine
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