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SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 31, 2001 – Saipan Tribune)---Despite a worldwide economic downturn, Saipan’s largest private taxpayer remains interested in investing further in the region, but urged businesspeople to plan for global competition.

These are the views of the chairman and the president of Tan Holdings Corporation, who relayed their joint commitment to the island in year-end messages to the company’s 4,000 employees.

THC Chairman Tan Siu Lin was on island this week to extend holiday greetings to employees and friends.

"Although the international economy is slowing down and trading and tourism has been directly affected, our confidence in Saipan has not changed.

"With strong support from our employees, friends and the local government and people of Saipan, Tan Holdings will continue to grow, diversify, and invest in this island.

"Whenever possible, we’ll invite our friends to join in investments in tourism and other businesses because we would like to help the local economy return to good health," said Tan.

Dr. Tan first came to the island in 1972 to do business in shipping, trading, production and distribution of films.

In 1982, he and his family moved their company headquarters from Guam to Saipan to establish L&T Corporation. Tan Holdings was established two years later. The epitome of successful entrepreneurship, today the company has grown to be the largest private employer and taxpayer on the island, operating leading firms in 13 industries throughout the region.

"During the past years, our operations on Saipan have contributed a lot to the prosperity of the local economy. I’d like to acknowledge the great support we have received from the people and government of Saipan, which has helped us to continuously develop our business," said Tan.

In a speech to employees, THC President Willie Tan acknowledged the hard work of employees in implementing many internal changes, improvements and expansion projects in the company’s various businesses in the year 2001. For the future, he also stated that the company is looking forward to investing in Verizon, as well as exploring other good business opportunities in this community and the region.

"It is important that we remain a committed partner with the community during these economic times. We are making investments despite the fact that times are tough. We are doing this so we can be prepared for a better future. Being on an island, it’s easy to forget that we are competing not just on Saipan, but globally," said Tan.

In advice to employees, Tan said, "We must work hard at improving ourselves and building our capabilities. I’m asking all of our employees to be flexible to handle a wider variety of tasks that will help us adapt to doing business globally. If we accept change, we can be one of the survivors of this global recession."

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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