Vijay Eswaran is a Malaysian entrepreneur, philanthropist and author.
He is the founder and Executive Chairman of the QI Group of Companies, a multinational conglomerate headquartered in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur with operations in more than 30 countries.
Eswaran was born in in Penang, Malaysia, to a modest, well-educated family of Indian origin. He worked as a taxi driver to fund his higher education in accounting and management in London and Illinois. He then spent several years working as an information systems engineer for various companies in North America and South-East Asia, including IBM.
In 1998, following the Asian financial crisis, Eswaran established a direct selling network in the Philippines, using a revolutionary combination of direct selling and e-commerce, which would eventually become QNET. Within 12 months, the company became a leader in the Philippines and subsequently in several South-East Asian markets, supporting a growing network of entrepreneurs. By the mid-2000s QNET was the dominant direct selling network in the Middle East, and in recent years has led the industry’s expansion into Africa.
Whilst no longer involved in QNET’s operations, Eswaran hosts V-Convention, a motivational, training and networking event with up to 20,000 attending entrepreneurs, and leads QNET’s international partnerships including with Premier League Manchester City FC.
Eswaran diversified his business interests, and established the QI Group of Companies to oversee a wide variety of investments including real estate, education, retail and hospitality. A proponent of value-based leadership, Eswaran has committed 10% of group profits to philanthropy and instituted a company-wide vegetarian policy.
The group today employs 1500 people, and has trained and empowered over one million entrepreneurs across the world’s toughest and most prominent emerging markets.
Eswaran’s passion for mentoring entrepreneurs led him to establish and chair Quest International University Perak (QIUP) in partnership with local government in 2011. Mandated to provide quality, research-based, affordable education, the University is one of the fastest growing in Malaysia, with over 1600 students from 31 different countries as of 2017. QI is currently constructing Qi City, a $300m development which will serve as new headquarters for QIUP and includes a hospital, accommodation and retail space.
In 2005, he founded the RYTHM and Vijayaratnam Foundations, with a focus on community development and children with special needs in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Among its many projects, the Vijayaratnam Foundation established TAARANA, a Malaysian school for children with learning disabilities.
A prolific author, Eswaran has published three bestselling books on leadership and mindfulness, with In the Sphere of Silence selling half a million copies to date. He is a regular speaker at global events including the World Economic Forum, and has received numerous awards, amongst them the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and Lifetime Achievement Award for Global Entrepreneurship in 2016.
Eswaran lives in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong with Umayal, his wife of 28 years, his nephew and five nieces.