Mr. Robert Yet-Sen Chen was born at the beginning of China's new Republic, survived the civil wars and the Sino-Japanese War, lived on four continents, and established a thriving international business enterprise. Through it all he never forgot his roots, his boyhood years in rural China. He dedicated much time, energy and financial contributions in the later part of his life to helping the less fortunate in his home village in Qidong, Jiangsu Province, China.
Mr. Chen was born in 1929. At the age of 14, he left his hometown to study in Shanghai. In 1948, he left China for Hong Kong and eventually went on to attend university in England. In 1957, Mr. Chen returned to work in the family business in Hong Kong. He established the company's presence in West Africa by setting up factories in Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Like many of his generation, Mr. Chen experienced personal loss, war and hunger in his youth which was to prepare him for the rigors and challenges of doing business in uncharted territories. His positive outlook on life and his uncanny ability to see to the core of issues, coupled with his unfailing diligence, contributed to the ultimate success of his personal and professional endeavors. His diligence and sound financial investment strategies paid dividends for the family business.
The elder, Mr. Chen Zao Men, taught his son about the importance of philanthropy - of giving - from an early age. The Chen Zao Men College in Hong Kong was the first charitable project supported by the Chen Family in 1972, and the genesis of a tradition of community service. Mr. Robert Chen built on this legacy of good works by building and supporting six schools, a community hospital, and undertaking much-needed public works in the family's hometown of Qidong. His lifetime of philanthropic work culminated with the creation of the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation in October 2003, prior to his unexpected and premature passing on November 29, 2003.
Mr. Robert Chen was a successful businessman, a caring family man, a generous benefactor and a respected citizen. Compassionate and generous, he cared deeply about educating the younger generations in whom he saw unfulfilled potential to excel. His spirit lives on in the Foundation that bears his name.