By Kenny Chee
SINGAPORE - It all started at the age of 21 for him from a tentage beside his kampung home in Hougang.
Mr Danny Teo transformed an air-conditioning business based in that simple shelter into an appliance and electronics retail chain, now known as Gain City Best Electric.
Mr Teo, the founder and its executive chairman, said in Mandarin: "The company has to move forward, or it will move backwards. I have to always improve, expand the product line and provide more services."
In an interview with my paper last Monday at his Ang Mo Kio head office, he added: "Doing business is like being in a Formula One race. You have to race fast and avoid accidents."
Mr Teo, who turns 53 this year, said he went into the air-conditioning trade as he believed it had "a lot of potential", due to Singapore's warm climate and the fact that he was "afraid of the heat".
At age 16, he became an apprentice at a now-defunct local air-conditioning firm and picked up skills in maintenance and repair.
In 1981, he opened his own door-to-door air-conditioning maintenance business.
"I'm an independent person, with my own way of doing things. It's easier for me to express my abilities that way."
The man also explained why he did not follow in his parents' footsteps of supplying seafood to restaurants and coffee shops.
"In the past, I didn't think it was challenging enough. But, when I grew older, I realised the seafood business was actually not bad."