Vijay Eswaran had a humble start to life, but he rose to become one of the wealthiest men in Asia. The Malaysian native has made a name for himself in the field of business, but is also known as a philanthropist, author and motivational speaker.
Born in 1960 in the Malaysian state of Perak, Eswaran was educated in Great Britain, graduating from the London School of Economics in 1984. An informal education followed, gained through his traveling in Europe. This period was marked with a stay at a Franciscan monastery, where he experienced a vow of silence that went on for 33 days.
Returning to Great Britain in 1985, Eswaran studied the principles of binary system marketing at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. The following year, he ventured to the United States, obtaining a degree in business from Southern Illinois University. It was during his work for the IBM subsidiary of Systematics that Eswaran became involved in multilevel marketing (MLM). His experience in MLM practices would prove useful after he returned to Malaysia and was invited by the Cosway Group to help commence its move into the Philippines.
Employing a revolutionary method that combined direct promotion and e-commerce, the company Eswaran created would eventually come to dominate several markets in Southeast Asia and would also become the largest direct marketing network operating in the Middle East. Developing into what is today the QI Group, the firm is involved in a variety of products and services, including corporate investment, real estate, luxury goods, telecommunications and travel. In addition to having regional offices in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, the QI Group and its subsidiary companies are recognized in more than a dozen other countries. The firm is also committed to protecting the environment through the construction standards used in its properties.
In addition to his current role as executive chairman of QI, Eswaran is chairman of the council of Quest International University, which was established in 2008. One of his most recent ventures involves Qi City, a huge commercial and residential development that is expected to be open for business in Malaysia in 2020. The first of five books written by Eswaran was “Sphere of Silence,” which recounted his vow of silence many years earlier. His most recent book, “Two Minutes from the Abyss,” was published in 2016. Like her husband, Eswaran’s wife Umayal is active in philanthropic causes, serving as the chairman of the Vijayaratnam Foundation.