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Behind Broadcom’s move from Singapore to the US, a CEO who grew up as a ‘skinny kid’ in Penang (VIDEO)

Hock E Tan, CEO of Broadcom, speaks after US President Donald Trump delivered remarks about the situation of the job market, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 2, 2017. ― Reuters picSINGAPORE, Nov 3 — In 1971, 18-year-old Penang native Hock E Tan took his first step to becoming one of the United States’ top technology executives when he won a scholarship to study at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He later went to Harvard Business School, and took up top positions at PepsiCo and General Motors before moving to the semiconductor industry, where he is now a veteran.

Tan’s unlikely journey took him to a podium at the White House Oval Office yesterday (November 2) where, alongside President Donald Trump, he announced plans to legally relocate the home address of the S$136 billion semiconductor company he is currently running from Singapore to the US.

Broadcom’s move will bring US$20 billion (RM84.7 million) in annual revenue back to the US, according to Trump, and allow the company to avoid a cumbersome federal review process over a previously announced merger deal.

According to information on the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) website, Broadcom has its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore and employs close to 300 employees here involved in research and development, as well as “headquarters activities”.

It is unclear how the company’s staff in Singapore would be affected. TODAY has reached out to Broadcom as well as EDB for comments.

When invited by Trump to comment on the decision, Tan, Broadcom’s chief executive and now an American citizen, said: “Before I launch into something else, let me say, my mother could never have imagined that one day her son will be here in the Oval Office, in the White House, standing beside the President of the United States.”

Tan, 64, recalled that he was “just an 18-year-old skinny kid, growing up in Malaysia” when he won the scholarship to MIT, and that his parents could not afford to send him to college.

“It’s really amazing to me, even today, that this great American educational institution took a chance on me, sight unseen, and gave me a scholarship to pursue the American Dream,” he added. “So my appearance here today, in large part, has been inspired by my desire to give back to this country which I have received so much from.”

Broadcom, one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, manufacturers chips used in a wide range of products, from smartphones, cable set-top boxes to other wireless devices.

Going ahead, Tan said Broadcom will invest over US$3 billion a year in research and engineering, as well as US$6 billion a year in manufacturing, in order to create “high-paying tech jobs” for workers in the US.

Trump said Broadcom’s decision to move back to the US was “really something great”, and praised Tan as a “highly, highly respected man, a great, great executive”.

“The job he’s done is an incredible job. But what he’s doing is committing to massive amounts of American jobs,” Trump added.

Tan is married with three children, and has homes in Pennsylvania and and California. US media reports said his wife, Lisa Yang, grew up in Singapore before moving to the US where she studied and later worked at Wall Street as an investment banker.

The couple was in the news earlier this year for donating US$20 million to MIT to help spur multidisciplinary research into autism. ― TODAY