Gillian Tan (Singapore Entrepreneur)

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Gillian Tan
Gillian Tan.jpg
Born1980
EducationBachelor of Arts (Communication and Television Production)
Alma materSanta Clara University
Spouse(s)Bryan Chow (m. 2004)

Gillian Tan (born 1980) is the founder of Clicknetwork and its parent company, Munkysuperstar Pictures. Regarded as one of Singapore's web content pioneers, Gillian Tan has produced successful series such as ‘Girls Out Loud’, 'Tried and Tested' and 'That F Word'.[1][2][3] Through Clicknetwork, she has worked with well-known social celebrities such as Rosalyn Lee, Andrea Chong and Tyen Rasif; among others. In 2017, Gillian Tan was a nominee for Women's Weekly's The Great Women Of Our Time Awards under the Science and Technology category.[4]

Background[edit | edit source]

Family[edit | edit source]

Gillian Tan was born in 1980 to Tan Eng Soon and Wee Beng Yan, both of whom were entrepreneurs with their own businesses.[5] Gillian Tan's father, Tan Eng Soon is the chairman of the motor industry company, Tan Chong International.[1] Her late mother, Wee Beng Yan was the founder of the fashion label, Tyan Fashions.[6] Gillian Tan has three siblings.[1] Speaking to Women's Weekly in 2017, Gillian Tan said:

"When I was a kid, I used to love watching movies. I would try to make home videos of my parent’s birthdays... So from way back as then, I knew I wanted to study video production at university and learn how to work with cameras properly and learn how to edit. It was very clear to me that I wouldn’t do anything else."[4]

Education[edit | edit source]

Gillian Tan is an alumna of Singapore Chinese Girls’ School.[1] She then lived overseas from 16 to 23 years old.[7] In 2000, she obtained a degree in communication and television production from Santa Clara University and graduated magna cum laude.[8]

Early career[edit | edit source]

After graduating from Santa Clara University, Gillian Tan worked for three years in San Francisco as a broadcast assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and subsequently, TBWA\Chiat\Day where she edited television commercials.[8] She returned to Singapore in 2003 to set up her independent production company, Munkysuperstar Pictures.[9]

Career[edit | edit source]

Gillian Tan for Prestige Magazine in 2020.

As of November 2020, Gillian Tan is the director and founder of Munkysuperstar Pictures and Clicknetwork. When digital revenue outgrew television revenue in 2010, Gillian Tan turned her focus to producing Clicknetwork’s online videos full-time.[1][9] Since establishing Clicknetwork’s YouTube channel in 2011, she has led it to become the first Singaporean YouTube channel to hit one million subscribers.[10] Speaking to The Straits Times, Gillian Tan was quoted to have said the following about the award:

“When I started the company, it was not even something that I was aspiring towards; it was never an end goal. I hope that this shows that even a tiny country like Singapore can reach out to so many people all over the world.”[11]

In 2015, Gillian Tan was a panellist at the Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum where she spoke to an audience about her journey in the local media and broadcasting industry.[12] In recent years, Clicknetwork and Munkysuperstar Pictures has worked with sponsors such as IMDA to produce series such as 'No Sweat' starring the fitness influencer, Tyen Rasif and 'Girl Band Called Girl Band', starring Munah Bagharib.[13]

Munkysuperstar Pictures (2003 - current)[edit | edit source]

Gillian Tan pictured at Clicknetwork's 10th Anniversary gala in 2017. Photo from source.

Gillian Tan founded the production company, Munkysuperstar Pictures in 2003 with the help of a $10,000 loan from her mother.[1] Inspired by “mindless entertainment” such as the American show, 'The Bachelor', Gillian Tan produced her first show, 'Eye For A Guy';[14] Singapore’s first English reality dating show which aired on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 in 2004.[15][16] The show successfully ran for two seasons and won the Best Reality Programme award at the 2005 Asian Television Awards.[5][17][18] Under her direction, Munkysuperstar Pictures has also produced network-commissioned TV shows such as 'S-Factor', a reality modelling show where the winner appeared on the cover of the men’s lifestyle magazine, FHM.[7][19] Gillian Tan also produced 'Girls Out Loud', a reality-variety show that was hosted by the former radio DJ, Rosalyn Lee (Rozz) and the blogger-influencer, Wendy Cheng (Xiaxue).[20][21]

Clicknetwork YouTube channel (2007 - current)[edit | edit source]

Branded as a reality-lifestyle channel that is geared mainly towards a millennial female demographic, Clicknetwork was founded in 2007 out of Gillian Tan's interest.[22][23] She reportedly used the money gained from the TV shows produced by Munkysuperstar Pictures to fund Clicknetwork’s videos but only began generating profits in 2012. Speaking about the early years of Clicknetwork, Gillian Tan said:

"The first couple of years after we went full-time with it in 2010 were tough. But I strongly believed that it was the right direction, despite many naysayers knocking down the idea and criticising our content."[7]

Gillian Tan reportedly has a good relationship with her hosts with several of them having made testimonies of her character over the years.[24] Speaking to Scene.sg in 2017, 'Tried and Tested' host, Oon Shu An said:

"I feel so lucky to be a part of Clicknetwork because it’s such a unique platform. All of the hosts have such different personalities, yet the channel somehow manages to bring all of us together on one platform – thanks to the visionary that is Gillian Tan."[25]

References/ Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Lui, John. “The Life Interview with clicknetwork founder Gillian Tan: Tapping a whole new world”. The Straits Times. December 19, 2016. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  2. Tan, Annabel. “Cover story: Gillian Tan, founder of Clicknetwork, is not done pushing boundaries with content creation”. Prestige Online. February 2, 2020. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  3. Yeo Sijia, Sonia. "92% of viewers for S’pore YouTube channels are from abroad". TODAY Online. April 5, 2017. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Molok, Natalya. "Meet The Great Women Of Our Time Awards 2017 Science & Technology Nominee, Gillian Tan". Women's Weekly. July 21, 2017. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Chiew, Mellaine. "Click On This: Gillian Tan talks success and viral videos". Prestige Online. December 19, 2017. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  6. Chai, Amanda. “Tan Beng Yan, founder of pioneer boutique chain Tyan Fashions, dies at age 70”. The Straits Times. January 21, 2020. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Teo Ren Feng. "Gillian Tan: Unscripted Success". High Net Worth. June 15, 2017. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gillian Tan. LinkedIn. n.d. Accessed on 12 November 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.linkedin.com/in/munkysuperstar/
  9. 9.0 9.1 Lim, Elena. “Gillian Tan Interview – The Ladyboss Who Created Singapore’s First Youtube Channel with 1 Million Subscribers”. ZULA.sg. March 8, 2017. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  10. Molok, Natalya. "Clicknetwork Founder Gillian Tan Shares Her Tops Tips On Being A Good Leader". Women's Weekly. July 21, 2017. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  11. Wong, Cara. “Clicknetwork first YouTube channel from Singapore to get 1 million subscribers”. The Straits Times. April 4, 2017. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  12. "Media Release: Inspiring takeaways at Her World Young Woman Achiever Forum 2015". SPH Magazines. March 21, 2015. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  13. "IMDA partners Clicknetwork owners to launch new web series". Marketing Interactive. August 13, 2018. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  14. How, Clara. “Girl Boss: Meet The Woman Behind Singapore’s Top “YouTube” Channel”. Her World. October 13, 2017. Accessed on 13 November 2020.
  15. TV”. Munkysuperstar Pictures. n.d. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  16. incinemas”. TODAY. May 10, 2004. Accessed on 12 November 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  17. Tan, Jeanine. "Even the US has eye for this guy". TODAY. May 5, 2005. Accessed on 23 November 2020. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  18. Shree Ann Mathavan. ""It's not everyone's cup of tea"". The New Paper. November 2, 2009. Accessed on 23 November 2020. Retrieved from AsiaOne.
  19. Naveen Kanagalingam. "Netizens sizzle over babe's bad attitude, implants". The New Paper. June 9, 2009. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  20. sgbox1998. "Girls Out Loud - Episode 1 Part 1". YouTube. December 12, 2006. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  21. "The Xiaxue & Rosalyn Show". Youth.sg. December 15, 2006. Accessed on 23 November 2020.
  22. World Intellectual Property Organization - WIPO. “Gillian Tan, Founder of clicknetwork.tv, on Digital Technology”. YouTube. April 23, 2016. Accessed on 13 November 2020.
  23. Tee, Karen. “Viral web video pioneer Gillian Tan fuels media appetite of millennial audience”. The Peak Magazine. July 11, 2019. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  24. Her World Singapore. “What's it like to work with Gillian?”. YouTube. December 1, 2017. Accessed on 12 November 2020.
  25. Tan, Genna. "The Clicknetwork Story: 10 Years Of Online Videos". Scene.sg. October 4, 2017. Accessed on 23 November 2020.