Lim Goh Tong was born in the village with a low economy crisis. In his childhood years, China was in a period of mayhem after the 1911 revolution. However, life for him was fairly protected in the village with basic survival needs. Then, he grew up peacefully and had the opportunity of studying in school. However, a crucial disaster struck and his father died when he was 16 years old. Lim Goh Tong was forced to leave school and his elder brother had to take over the heavy burden of taking care of his family’s economic needs along with him by working.
As China’s situation gradually became worse, Lim Goh Tong decided to take the courage in moving to Malaysia (known as Malaya at that time) along with his cousin, Lim Kheng Chong’s footsteps. He left China through Xia Men in the early February 1937 at the age of 19. Later on, he worked for his uncle as a carpenter in the first two years, and learnt the Malay language at the meantime. After gaining a few working experiences, he went on to become a building sub-contractor and completed his first job of building a two-storey school. Lim Goh Tong then returned to An Xi in 1940, however he went back to Malaya the next year.