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Bench

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  • Jan. 2013
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Ben Chan is a prominent Chinese-Filipino entrepreneur who is the founder of the Philippines’ largest clothing chain, Bench, under the trademark Suyen Corporation. With his world class fashion style and hardworking ethic, he has expanded the Philippine clothing chain into international markets including China, the land of his forefathers. He is dubbed as one of the most prominent people in the country as mentioned in the Philippine Tatler’s list of Who’s Who of the Philippines. Ben comes from a very dynamic family of serial entrepreneurs. He is the son of Chan Lib, a Chinese immigrant. Together with his wife See Ying, Chan Lib established Liwayway Marketing Company, which soon became the country’s leading starch supplier due to its famous flagship product Liwayway Gawgaw (laundry starch). It primarily specialized in repacking of flour and coffee products. In 1966, the business was converted into a corporation, as it expanded into the distribution of pomade, candles, candies and sauces. By 1974, under the second generation management headed by Ben Chan’s brother Manuel Chan, LMC diversified into the manufacturing of snack foods such as “Oishi Prawn Crackers” and “Kirei Yummy Flakes.” Ben’s brother Carlos Chan founded Liwayway (China) Company, Limited which has become a salty snack powerhouse in mainland China. Ben was schooled in Manila, but moved to San Francisco for an interior design course. It was there where he immersed himself in design and art. Upon his return from the US, he established Dimensione, a modern furniture store and Finale, an art gallery. In 1987 he started a small T-shirt shop in Manila’s SM department store. His t-shirts were known for its affordable prices and distinctive style. It would eventually become the beginnings of Bench, the fashion clothing line, under the family owned Suyen Corporation. In 1994 Bench opened its first fashion store outside the Philipines in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, soon followed by its first in Shanghai, China. A...