Why Filipino Billionaire Lucio Tan Still Uses Old School Nokia Phones
Despite having the financial capabilities to buy almost anything in the world, Lucio Tan, one of the Philippines’ billionaires, still uses old school Nokia phones.
The 86-year-old entrepreneur, who has an estimated net worth of $2 billion, was reportedly spotted by local media carrying old school Nokia phones in his pockets in recent years, according to South China Morning Post.
In 2017, the Philippine Star did a profile on Tan for his 83rd birthday, where he wished to have an “Easy, easy life.” Now that his wish has been fulfilled, he enjoys the simple things in life.
As PhilStar noted, he walks without help, does not use reading glasses and writes down things he wants to remember on pieces of paper. He owns four identical vintage Nokia phones and carries them around in his pocket.
Tan, also known as “El Kapitan” by people close to him, was born in Fujian Province, China on July 17, 1933, according to Britannica. His family later moved to Cebu City, Philippines.
He is the eldest of his eight siblings. Before becoming a billionaire, Tan worked as a janitor at a cigarette factory while studying chemical engineering at the Far Eastern University in Manila.
Tan was later promoted as a tobacco “cook,” which gave him the responsibility of regulating the product mix at the cigarette factory.
In 1966, he founded Fortune Tobacco Corp. and in 1982, he established Asia Brewery, which was the only brewery at the time that could compete with San Miguel. He rose through the ranks and later became the founder and chairman of LT Group — colloquially called Lucio Tan Group. His company assumed management control of Philippine Airlines in September 2014.
Tan, whose hobby includes playing golf at 4 a.m., proudly sponsors education. The billionaire sends 1,000 students to China every year and allocates funds to help build schoolhouses. He also founded the non-profit Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education (FUSE).
However, in 2017, Tan faced accusations from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte of tax evasion, amounting to $600 million of unpaid taxes but was later cleared.
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