Tan Lark Sye was an immigrant from the Fujian province who became a prominent businessman and philanthropist. Arriving in Singapore at the age 18, he first worked for "Rubber King" Tan Kah Kee before starting his own rubber-exporting firm in 1925, the Aik Hoe and Co., which became hugely profitable from the rising rubber prices in the 1950s. Inspired by the philanthropic works of his former employer, Tan Lark Sye personally donated $5 million to the founding of Nanyang University. The Hokkien Association, of which Tan was the president, donated 500 acres of land in Jurong for the building of the campus. Classes began in 1956, although the university was officially opened only in 1958. The university later merged with the University of Singapore in 1980 to form the National University of Singapore. Following the merger, the campus became home to the Nanyang Technological Institute, later renamed the Nanyang Technological University in 1996.