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The Legacy Of Henry Sy And How He Established His Mammoth Empire

henry sy the richest filipinoThere are many rags-to-riches stories of people beating the odds and ascending to the top. Most probably, one of the best success stories that anyone can read nowadays is that of business tycoon Henry Sy. Mr. Sy currently holds the number one spot as the richest man in the Philippines. His behemoth empire includes the SM Supermalls along with the banking arm Banco de Oro (BDO). These ventures helped Sy beat some of the most prominent names in the Philippine business like Lucio Tan and the Ayala clan.

According to Forbes list of The Philippines 50 Richest, Henry Sy, has a net worth of $12 billion as of July 2013. It stapled his name as the richest individual in the Philippines. Shares of his holding firm, SM Investments, is considered the most valuable company in the country. The patriarch Sy is also the SM Foundation, Inc. chairman who commits its projects in charitable deeds in providing quality education for poor Filipinos.

How Henry Sy Started Out And Became The Richest Figure in PH?

Sy was born in 1924 in the small village in southern China. Born Sy Chi Sieng, he came from an underprivileged family. The young Henry was committed to follow the footsteps if his businessman father. His father tried to find his luck in another country when Henry was just a baby. At 12, Henry followed his father in the Philippines, thinking that by now, he has built a stable business. Nevertheless, he was shocked to see his father’s current state. His father’s life in the Philippines was miserable. He shed tears upon the sight of his father’s demoralizing life.

This fueled Henry’s persistence to achieve his goal. The young Henry did everything he ever could in order to help make life less miserable. He worked his way from dawn until night.In the Divisoria market, Henry would buy some goods and carry them on his back. He would then go on by selling them in his father’s small store. This labor went in until they got a better way of living. He began to attend school in Quiapo’s Anglo-Chinese School. He had a hard time learning English when he was 12. Everything was going better for him and his father until the Japanese occupation of Manila took place. The economy rapidly collapsed. In 1946, their little store was burned down. His father decided to go back to China, but Henry stayed.

Henry began his own venture by selling cheap and affordable shoes from Marikina. He was able to get a loan from China bank in 1949. He used the loan to reestablish his venture. He then decided to attend Far Eastern University in 1950 to enhance his skills in the buy and sell venture. He took up an Associate in Arts in Commercial Studies degree. After he acquired his Philippine citizenship, he changed his name to Henry Sy. However, he discontinued his studies in order to focus on his venture.

Henry then married Felicidad, a Chinese immigrant who also acquired her Filipino citizenship. Together, they had six children. The couple converted to Catholicism as part of the strong Filipino culture.

The Establishment Of The First Shoemart

SM_SupermallsHenry established the first Shoemart on Carriedo St. in Manila in 1972. Though the business had a rough and slow start, it progressed steadily. Henry continued to open more department stores during the Martial Law years. It came to a point that he could not get any space he wanted in the existing shopping centers. Henry, at that time, decided to invest in properties for malls. He patterned his ideas after suburban shopping centers that he used to study. In 1983, Henry and his family established their first shopping mall. The Philippines during that time was in the middle of a debt freeze and hyper inflation was evident.

The Henry Sy Empire Throughout The Years

The decline in the economy has been further affected following the assassination of then-Senator Ninoy Aquino. Several bankers have predicted that their company will fall down because Henry was just a nobody. Though Henry had a few department stores during that time, he was not one of the country’s leading businessmen yet. Despite all the criticisms, Henry and his family endured and stayed optimistic. Henry later went on expanding and building malls. The expansion of their business was not easy. In 1989, their Sta. Mesa and Megamall projects were delayed because of cement shortages.

Instead of growing in size, Henry’s empire grew in numbers. They have served different smaller companies and they also expanded their retail business other than department stores. It includes supermarkets, appliance stores, retail formats and hardware stores.

The Sy Family In The Banking Business

banco de oro

While Henry looked to expand his business interests, he set his eyes straightly to the banking business. The family’s main bank, Banco De Oro (BDO) was a medium-sized bank at that time. BDO at the time was conservative in lending, which is why the flood of bad loans that was exhibited during that era did not affect the bank.

Business Interests Of Henry Sy

• Holding company (SM Prime Holdings)
• Real estate (SM Investments Corporation)
• Banking (Banco de Oro Universal Bank. CBC)
• Leisure (Belle Corporation, Highlands Prime, Inc.)

Awards And Recognitions Of Henry Sy

• Management Man of the Year” by the Makati Business Club
• Honorary Doctorate in Business Management by De La Salle University
• Forbes magazine Heroes of Philanthropy
• 1st Chinese-Filipino recipient of the PCE Big Brother of Filipino Entrepreneurs award
• 1st Chinese-Filipino recipient of the PRA President’s Award

According to Henry Sy, there is no overnight success of easy money. Do not be disheartened if failure comes. He said to try again if people failed. Do not change the ways of people who will achieve success. Sy further said that success is not purely good luck. Success can be defined as the combination of good credit standing, hard work, readiness, timing and opportunity. He elaborated hat success will not last long if people will not take care of it. These are the words of wisdom that made Henry Sy the richest man in the Philippines.

SMDC – The Rise of a Real Estate Giant

SMDC of hery syHenry Sy, the richest man in the Philippines, is not only known as the “Retail King” of the country, because aside from the retailing industry, he also entered one of the most promising business industries in the Philippines – Real Estate.

He established the SM Development Corporation (SMDC) to deal with the real estate business that he pursued. As you all know, Sy had problems with land in the past because when he needed a good place to expand his business, he had problems in looking for a strategic place to put them. This is one of the reasons why he entered the real estate industry.

SMDC is committed to provide luxurious living to all their clients by offering perfectly integrated vertical villages together with a commercial retail environment, providing everything that they need in the comfort of their own home.

If you are research about SMCD because you wanted to buy a unit or you just wanted to know more about this real estate company, here are a few things that you need to know.

SMDCs Board of Directors

The board of directors of SMDC is composed of talented and hard working individuals.

henry sy the richest filipinoHenry Sy, Sr the richest man in the Philippines. is the non-executive chairman of SMDC. He is also the founder of the SM Group of Companies and the current chairman of SM Investments Corporation, SM Land, Inc, Highlands Prime, Inc and SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

Henry T. Sy, Jr.Henry T. Sy, Jr. is the current chief executive officer and the vice chairman of SMDC. He graduated from De La Salle University with a management degree to help his father in handling all their business. He is known for his participation in the real estate acquisitions of SM Development Corporation and SM Land, Inc.

The President of SMDC is Jeffrey C. Lim who is also the executive president of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. He joined the company in 1994 and he played a very important role in the expansion and improvement of SM Super Malls.

elizabeth T. SyElizabeth T. Sy is the daughter of Henry Sy, Sr. and the current director of SMDC. Her main role in the SM Group is to increase its involvement in the tourism and hospitality industry sector. She is also the current president of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, Director of SM Land, Inc. and Adviser to the Board of SM Investments Corporation.

Attorney Andres G. Gatmaitan is also a director of SMDC. He is also one of the directors of Benguet Corporation, Colgate Palmolive Phils., Inc. and more.

Octavio V. Espiritu is an Independent Director and he is a three-term former president of the Bankers Association of the Philippines. Basically, his experience and knowledge is the main reason why he was appointed as an Independent director in SMDC.
Attorney Ricardo J. Romulo is also an independent director of SMDC and he is the current chairman and director of Cebu Air, Inc., Federal Phoenix Assurance Co., Inc and more.

Jose T. Sio is the adviser to the Board of Directors and he is also the executive Vice President and CFO of SM Investments Corporation.

All of these personalities have a huge role in the expansion and improvement of SMDC.

Short History of SM Development Corporation

SM Development Corporation is actually the former Ayala Fund, Incorporated so if you are thinking that it was originally established by Henry Sy, then you are making a big mistake. They only changed he names over time.

It was established in 1974 as Ayala Fund Incorporated, which is a closed-end investment company. In 1975, it was immediately listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. The SM Group of Companies became the major shareowner of the company so after they have taken over Ayala Fund Incorporated, they renamed it to SM Fund. They retained “Fund” from the original name of the company and added their signature name “SM”.

In 1996, SM Fund was again renamed into SM Development Corporation and the focus of the company is changed as well. From an investment company, it became focused on real estate opportunities.

After it was focused on real estate, the company started their venture on the real estate industry and it all started in 1997 when they established the SM Synergy Properties Holdings Corporation.

SMDC is continuously conducting several projects in the different parts of Mega Manila and they are establishing luxurious and high rise apartments and condominiums catered not only to high class Filipinos, but also to middle class families who wanted to experience a luxurious living in the city.

As of today, it is not yet on par with Ayala Land Corporation as the company is considered as the largest real estate developer in the Philippines, but SMDC is doing its best to live up to the reputation of SM Super Malls and they are slowly climbing the ladder to be the top real estate developer in the country.

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