Charlie Woo built an empire around children’s playthings. But he remembers starting a business as an Asian immigrant in Los Angeles in the ’70s was not all fun and games.
Woo and his family moved to Southern California in 1969, where he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as a Ph.D. student in physics, in pursuit to become a scientist. He derailed his studies to help his entrepreneurial family launch a toy business in Los Angeles Chinatown, where he found joy running a startup company.
Woo worked hard to grow the family company beyond its local Chinese American customer base. He needed a loan to expand the business at a time when few banks were willing to entertain Asian immigrants; the only bank that gave his business proposal a chance was Cathay Bank.
“Without Cathay Bank, I could not even get a car, because I couldn’t get a car loan,” Woo says. “Without Cathay Bank, I couldn’t grow our own business!”
So, Woo arranged a meeting with George T.M. Ching, President of Cathay Bank at the time. They discussed at length and exchanged knowledge. Woo shared his vision of how to build out his brand. Ching provided Woo with comments on his expansion plan, which Woo gratefully accepted. Woo never forgot the opportunity Cathay Bank provided him at a time when he needed financial support the most.
Today, Woo is the co-founder and CEO of Megatoys, a leading international toy manufacturing and wholesale company. Megatoys launched in 1989, as a natural offspring of the original company founded by the Woo Family, and earned a stellar reputation for delivering high-quality toys at competitive prices, serving the local U.S. and overseas marketplaces.
Woo is quick to point out that without the help of pioneers like Cathay Bank, he and other visionaries in the Chinese community would not have had the resources to thrive. Woo currently employs approximately 700 team members in Los Angeles, making his company a trusted employer among Angelenos.
Woo actively helps fellow entrepreneurs who seeks to grow their companies and compete globally. He is known as the Downtown Los Angeles Toy District’s patriarch, was the first Asian American chairperson of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and has been featured in The New York Times and Forbes.
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This testimonial was voluntarily provided by the customer, who was not paid or provided with free products or any other benefits in exchange for such.