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Philippines : Wealth, Media and the Power structure

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Philippines : Wealth, Media and the Power structure
Sy, Gokongwei, Aboitiz family are top three richest in Philippines, says Forbes Asia

Henry Sy

The top 10 richest in Philippines are:


1) Henry Sy; US$13.7 billion

2) John Gokongwei Jr.; $6.8 billion

3) Aboitiz family; $5 billion

4) Lucio Tan; $4.9 billion

5) George Ty; $4.6 billion

6) Tony Tan Caktiong; $4.3 billion

7) Jaime Zobel de Ayala & family; $4.1 billion

8) Enrique Razon Jr.; $3.5 billion

9) David Consunji; $3.1 billion

10) Andrew Tan; $3 billion

Henry Sy has taken the top spot on the Forbes Philippines Rich List for nine years in a row, with a net worth of US$13.7 billion.

The 91-year old tycoon first entered the retail market in 1958 with a footwear shop in Manila. Sy’s family-owned SM Investments is now the largest retailer in the Philippines with stakes in banking, property and retail.In March this year, SM Investments announced a tie-up with Singaporean e-commerce company, Lazada.

Featured in the cover story of Forbes Asia, John Gokongwei Jr retains his number two spot on the list with a net worth of $6.8 billion, up from $5.5 billion last year.Over the years, the founder of JG Summit has built his business into Philippines’ fifth largest company with a market capitalization of $13.2 billion and diverse business interests including an airline, banking, food, hotels, power, chemicals, real estate and telecommunications.As he turns 90 this year, he is handing over the reins of the family business to the next generation.

Several tycoons with interests in development and construction enjoyed a particularly robust year. Given plans by the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to invest in a “golden age of infrastructure”, the fortunes of these tycoons could rise even higher.

The year’s biggest winner percentage-wise is new billionaire Edgar Sia II (No. 17, $1.2 billion). The 39-year old saw his wealth increase by 200%, thanks to DoubleDragon Properties, the fast-growing real estate development company he owns with Tony Tan Caktiong (No. 6, $4.3 billion).Shares of DoubleDragon Properties soared by 350% due to strong rental revenues and growth of its CityMalls brand. The company announced in August 2016 that it was acquiring a majority stake in Hotel of Asia Inc.

Ramon Ang (No. 16, $1.21 billion), who runs conglomerate San Miguel, saw his net worth increase by $700 million to $1.21 billion due to the company’s growth strategy in energy and other infrastructure which propelled its stock value by 50%.Originally a brewer, San Miguel is the market leader in food and beverages but the bulk of its revenues stems from power, fuel, oil and infrastructure businesses. In May, Ang announced plans to build three power plants and a food complex in Mindanao.Ang’s personal investment in cement company Eagle Cement also contributed to his wealth as it boasted 30% margins in 2015.

New to the list this year is Ben Tiu (No. 44, $175 million). The eldest son of selfmade steel magnate John Tiu Ka Cho took over TKC Metals in 1987 and led its entry into financial services with thrift bank Sterling Bank of Asia. He also co-founded one of the country’s largest non-banking remittance companies, I-Remit.

Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. (No. 46, $165 million) suffered the biggest loss percentagewise this year. His wealth fell by 65% from $480 million last year. Amid a competitive market and an increase in expenses, his publicly-listed SSI Group saw its first-quarter net profit fall by half compared to the year before.

The wealth of mining tycoons also took a blow last year as nickel prices dropped and the new president is taking measures to tighten regulations for the sector. Three mining magnates dropped off from this year’s list, including Philip Ang, who ranked No. 41 last year.

The minimum amount required to make the list was $145 million, up from $120 million last year.

The top 10 richest in Philippines are:1) Henry Sy; US$13.7 billion2) John Gokongwei Jr.; $6.8 billion3) Aboitiz family; $5 billion4) Lucio Tan; $4.9 billion5) George Ty; $4.6 billion6) Tony Tan Caktiong; $4.3 billion7) Jaime Zobel de Ayala & family; $4.1 billion8) Enrique Razon Jr.; $3.5 billion9) David Consunji; $3.1 billion10) Andrew Tan; $3 billion

> http://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/other/sy-gokongwei-aboitiz-family-are-top-three-richest-in-philippines-says-forbes-asia/ar-BBw1Pa3?li=BBr8Mkn&ocid=iehp


Top 10 Richest People in the Philippines

MAIN Newspapers available in Manila PH



Manila Bulletin ---------- : "Nation's Leading Newspaper" - Basilio Yap, Chairnan., was founded in 1900

The Manila Times ------ : "Trusted since 1898" - Dante Ang, Chairman Emeritas, Dante F. M. Ang, 2nd, Exec. Editor

The Philippines Star *-- : "Truth shall prevail" - Ray Espinosa,Chmn., Betty Go-Belmonte, Founding Chmn, (1986-1994)

Philippine Daily Inquirer : Balanced news,Fearless views - Marixi Prieto, Chmn.; Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, Pres./CEO

Business World *-------- : Business newspaper of 2014-6 - Raul Locsin, Mging Editor; Roby Alampay, Editor-in-chief

Business Insight -------- : "Most read, best source:" - Amado Macaset, publisher; Allen Macaset, Pres./CEO


* both are majority owned by MediaQuest, a subsidiary of PLDT, where MV Pangilinan is chairman

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THIS Video is from an old friend in London who has sometimes posted on GEI

The Top Ten Causes of Wealth Inequality

Published on 14 Feb 2016

Dominic Frisby on the Top Ten Causes of Wealth Inequality.

(the TAX System is an important subject, but little exploited in comedy shows... thus far anyway)

Dominic Frisby discusses his new Edinburgh Festival comedy show about Tax with The Gentleman Cabbie

Published on 3 Aug 2016

Dominic Frisby chats to The Gentleman Cabbie about his new Edinburgh Festival comedy show on Taxation, how he became a financial writer and columnist and his views on the London property market.

Why is London Full of 1-million Quid, 2-Bedroom flats?

(And how much is 1-million quid? Answer: USD 1.33 million, or about PHP 60 million. That's BIG money)

To answer the first question, checkout the video below:

(this one is good too - but less relevant for PH, where the land suplly was not so restricted)


"A Functioning 21st Century economy?"

Why you will never own a home ... New app explains

Published on 26 Feb 2016

The real reason for unaffordable houses explained through the medium of Dominic Frisby's new economics app which ensures they remain unaffordable.

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14 Billionaires in the Philippines, says Forbes


Henry Sy, richest again... of course


The 14 Pinoy Billionaires in Philippines are:


1. (1) Henry Sy; US$12.7 billion (was 13.7 bn in prior report)

2. (2) John Gokongwei Jr.; $5.8 billion ($6.8 bn)

3. (4) Lucio Tan; $3.7 billion ($4.9 bn)

4. (5) George Ty; $3.5 billion ($4.6 bn)

5. (8) Enrique Razon Jr.; $3.4 billion ($3.5 bn)

6. (6) Tony Tan Caktiong; $3.4 billion ($4.3 bn)

7. (9) David Consunji; $3.1 billion ($3.1 bn)

8. (10) Andrew Tan; $2.5 billion ($3.0 bn)

9. (??) Robert Coyluto, Jr.; $1.5 billion ( ?? )

10 (??) Manuel Villar; $1.5 billion ( ?? )

11 (??) Ramon Ang; $1.4 billion ( ?? )

12 (??) Eduardo Cojuanco; $1.2 billion ( ?? )

13 (??) Roberto Ongpin; $1.1 billion ( ?? )

14 (??) Edgar Sia; $1.0 billion ( ?? )


(included in prior report - changed definitions?):

3) Aboitiz family; $5 billion

7) Jaime Zobel de Ayala & family; $4.1 billion


Forbes listed 2,043 billionaires with collective wealth of $7.67 Trillion, up from $6.48 billion.

According to Forbes, 1,371 were self-made billionaires, while 434 inherited it, and were still growing it

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2012 article on Henry Sy's success

Special Feature Article: Taipan of all Trades (part 1)
Oct 15, 2012 - Business World
“I sincerely believe that Henry Sy, Sr. should be acknowledged as the king of retail operations in the Philippines,” Jose Cuisia, Jr., SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) vicechairman and independent director, said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

“He should be recognized for his contributions to the banking, real estate development, retail operations, mall development, and tourism industries in the Philippines because of the huge number of jobs he has created, and the value added by the chain of suppliers who service the requirements of the SM Group.”
Mr. Sy rose through the establishment of the SM malls, “supermalls,” department stores, and groceries. However, he has also made a name for himself in banking, through BDO Unibank, Inc. and China Banking Corp.; in real estate, through SM Development Corp.; and in tourism, through the Taal Vista Hotel, Radisson Hotels, SMX Convention Center, and Hamilo Coast projects.
Other interests of Mr. Sy include mining, through Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp.; and education, through majority stakes in National University and Far Eastern University, as well as through donations to the De La Salle University and to Xavier School Nuvali.
Mr. Cuisia, who is also Philippine Ambassador to the US, also said that by establishing the SM Group’s socio-civic arm, SM Foundation, Inc., Mr. Sy has also helped marginalized communities through scholarship programs, medical missions and other outreach activities.
When asked to describe Mr. Sy as a businessman, Mr. Cuisia said: “He seems to have had a vision for his group of companies early in his career. As I got to know him better over the years, I became more impressed with his calculated, risk-taking approach.”
The director recalled one instance his colleague showed such astuteness. “One day, I called Mr. Sy to suggest to him that Philam Life [Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company, of which Mr. Cuisia was once president] and the SM Group purchase the Benguet Corp.’s headquarters building, which was about to be foreclosed by the banks.

He just laughed and told me that he had already agreed to purchase the building for the SM Group [before].”
Past triumphs thanks to Mr. Sy’s foresight have prompted competitors to follow suit. “When others found out that he was buying the property, they also wanted to buy it when, earlier, they had not indicated any interest,” said Mr. Cuisia.
“He would sometimes surprise me with his aggressive stance in acquiring certain real estate even in the midst of an economic slowdown,” the director also said. For example, fear and doubt clouded the local business climate after the People Power Revolution of 1986, so most Filipinos avoided property investments.

Yet at the time, Mr. Sy thought strategically and bought the land where SM Megamall stands today.
“He has inspired me in my own career because I have learned from him many things, such as patience in acquiring properties or shares in a company that you want to eventually control... I believe his patience, humility and insistence on being low-key enabled him to achieve success,” Mr. Cuisia added.
SM Prime executive vice-president, chief finance officer, and corporate information officer Jeffrey Lim, who joined the firm in 1994, shared his own first impression of Mr. Sy.

“He was modest and approachable, despite his many achievements,” said Mr. Lim in an e-mail.
“I admire him for his work ethics. He is very fair in dealings with tenants, suppliers and contractors. He sets his goals clearly and takes action to achieve his goals. His charm in dealing with people is extraordinary.

His passion, determination and focus to be the best in what he does is an inspiration to me, and no doubt to thousands of others who have had the chance to work with him as well,” Mr. Lim added.
According to the EVP, a favorite lesson he received from Mr. Sy was to know when to save and when to spend one’s riches, no matter the amount: “He once said that we should save a peso, if needed, and spend a million, if necessary, to grow the business.”
Mr. Lim also described Mr. Sy as a visionary who introduced the one-stop shopping, dinning and entertainment concept to Filipinos through the SM Supermalls.
“Mr. Sy, together with his family, offer products that give customers good value for their money that they keep coming back,” Mr.
Cuisia said.
Since the opening of the first SM mall, SM City North EDSA, in 1985, Mr. Sy has also given countless retailers and suppliers great chances to thrive. “Some of them are now the big players in the retail landscape,” said Mr. Lim.
Even direct competitors admire Mr. Sy for his dedication to varied industries. “Philippine consumers benefit from the expansion of the SM Group.

The country is fortunate to have someone like him build his business empire,” said Frederick Go, president of Robinsons Land Corp. as well as the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), where Mr. Sy sits as honorary chairman.

“I don’t get to interact with him very much in terms of business, but I certainly have utmost respect for him and what he’s accomplished.”
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Are "Legal Monopolies" the safest way to Huge, huge wealth?


Frisby's Bulls and Bears is still going strong - and here's an interesting recent interview from 2017



image.jpg?w=500&h=500 : 51PRa2GIupL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Sam Wilkin: Wealth Secrets of the One Percent

Wealth Secrets of the One Percent sounds like one of the self-help books what will show you how to unleash your inner potential. Actually, it tells the story of some of history's richest - from Crassus of Rome to John D Rockefeller to Bill Gates - and shows how they earned their vast fortunes by, simply, eliminating competition so they enjoyed vast monopolies.

Its author is economist Sam Wilkin and he joins me on today's programme.


> https://www.acast.com/bullsandbears/samwilkin-wealthsecretsoftheonepercent


Are there Monopoly features in NY City real estate? (used by Donald Trump)

Do they apply also in the Philippines?

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SY WEALTH is rising as China ties improved


How 6 Filipino billionaire heirs are rising with Duterte shift to China - Business News, SI, pg5


"SEVEN DECADES ago in Manila, one of Henry Sy's first bonanzas was buying cigarettes off American soldiers and selling them in the city plaza at a markup. Now heirs may have found a bonanza of their own..."


POSITIVE ECONOMIC News - all seems rosy (for now)
. . .

+ PH Stock index closed above 8,000-mark for the first time this year.

Closed at 8,001.38 up 93.72, or 1.19% higher, with robust trading volume of 1.09 billion shares. The Property sub-index was up 0.92 percent to 3,740.42

+ SM Prime is first PH listed firm to reach P 1-trillion Market Cap

SM Prime's finance chief, John Ong, added the success of hitting this valuation mark was due the integration, of all of its business units within SMPH, "increasing efficiencies in operation" and higher group revenues. Overall operating income increased in 2016 by 14 percent to P 9.6 billion from P 8.4 billion... "due to rental revenues from mall expansions in the least two years as well as higher real estate sales"

ph:SMPH / SM Prime ... all-data : 5-yrs : Last P 34.60 -- P/E Ratio: 40.25 / Yield: 0.76%


The heirs collectively have direct stakes of around 44% of SM, which has holdings in retail, property development, banking and logistics, The siblings - Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley - have a combined net worth of $10.7 billion, according to the index. Henry Sy Sr is credited with the remainder of the clan's share of the conglomerate, held directly with his wife and through family owned holding companies.


The family's $17.6 billion fortunate amounts to 5% of the island nation's annual GDP and has risen more than $3 billion since Duterte's victory, more than any in Southeast Asia, according to the Bloomberg index.


The conglomerate is viewed by investors as a proxy for the fast-growing Philippines economy...


Teresita and her brother Hans have been in delegations that went with Mr Duterte to China for talks with President Xi Jinping...


Seven of the group's more than 60 malls are in China... A supernall in the works for Tianjin would have more than 500,000 sqm of floor space


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MAIN Newspapers available in Manila PH


Manila Bulletin ---------- : "Nation's Leading Newspaper" - Basilio Yap, Chairnan., was founded in 1900

The Manila Times ------ : "Trusted since 1898" - Dante Ang, Chairman Emeritas, Dante F. M. Ang, 2nd, Exec. Editor

The Philippines Star --- : "Truth shall prevail" - Ray Espinosa,Chmn., Betty Go-Belmonte, Founding Chmn, (1986-1994)

Philippine Daily Inquirer : Balanced news,Fearless views - Marixi Prieto, Chmn.; Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, Pres./CEO

Business World --------- : Business newspaper of 2014-6 - Raul Locsin, Mging Editor; Roby Alampay, Editor-in-chief

Business Insight -------- : "Most read, best source:" - Amado Macaset, publisher; Allen Macaset, Pres./CEO


Ang in talks to buy Inquirer - Tuesday July 18, 2017

The Prieto family may sell its controlling stake in the Inquirer media conglomerate to businessman Ramon S Ang:

+ Would end a quarter-of-a-century stewardship by Marixi Prieto and her family
+ Inquirer Group is expected to benefit from Ang's investments and business expertise, as head of San Miguel Corp
+ Traditional print advertising revenues have not kept pace with operating costs
+ Ang to maintain jobs and employment contracts
+ Talks between Ang and Prieto family began back in 2014
+ Terms not yet announced, pending a due dilligence review
+ Ang to buy 85%, while Manuel V. Pangilinan already holds 15%

The Inquirer's first printing was Dec. 9, 1985

Ramon S Ang

He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc. (PSE: TFHI), the largest shareholder of San Miguel Corporation (PSE: SMC). He is also the Vice-Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer of SMC and the Chairman of Cyber Bay Corporation (PSE: CYBR) and Eagle Cement Corporation (PSE: EAGLE).


> wiki : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramon_S._Ang

PH : SMC ... all-data :


How Ramon Ang paid for Cojuangco's shares in San Miguel

Ang finally revealed that 5/6 of the funds for the large stake of shares were borrowed from foreign banks and the remaining 1/6 came largely from his cement business

By Katherine Visconti Published Tue, Sep 11, 2012

STRAIGHT ANSWERS. 58-year-old businessman Ramon Ang sat down for an exclusive interview with Esquire, finally revealing how he funded his large purchase of San Miguel shares in June. Photo of Esquire article by Adrian Portugal.

MANILA, Philippines - How did Ramon Ang afford to buy a block of shares in the country's biggest business group?

That was a nagging question when the top executive bought the majority of Eduardo "Danding" Cojangco's 14.7% stake in San Miguel Corp.

The two are allies for decades, with Ang rising from the ranks at San Miguel, eventually becoming company president, a position Ang has held for nearly a decade.

The San Miguel shares were sold to Ang at a discount, bring the total stake to P37 billion ($879 million), still a substantial sum. Ang ended up with 11% of the company's shares and majority shareholder Top Frontier Investment Holdings Inc. took the remaining 3.7%.

In an exclusive interview published by Esquire magazine, Ang disclosed that, of the over $600 million he paid for the shares, $500 million was borrowed from foreign banks. "I expect to repay the banks from the appreciation of the value of my San Miguel shareholdings later," Ang told the author, business journalist Roel Landingin.

The remaining $100 million came from Ang's own funds, mainly from his cement business, he explained


> http://www.rappler.com/business/12158-how-ramon-ang-paid-for-cojuangco-s-shares-in-san-miguel

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TOP by Real Estate Wealth - per Lamudi, Q2-2017

The top 15 richest in Philippines, and their rank in the World are:


PH : #W :

#1 : 094 : Henry Sy; US$12.7 billion, via SM Investments; SMPH is largest property conglomerate in PH

#2 : 250 : John Gokongwei Jr.; $5.8 billion, JG Summit Holdings > Robinsons Land

#3 : 501 : Lucio Tan; $3.7 billion, LT Group > Eton Properties

#4 : 544 : George Ty; $3.5 billion. Metrobank and GT Capital Holdings > Federal Land

#5 : 564 : Enrique Razon Jr.; $3.4 billion, chmn of Int'l Container Svcs, PH's largest port operator; Bloomsbury > Solaire Resorts

#5 & #12: Tony Tan Caktiong; $3.4 billion / Edgar Sia; Jollybee Foods, Injap Land > renamed: Double Dragon

#6 : 630 : David Consunji; $3.1 billion; DMCI Holdings

#7 : 814 : Andrew Tan; $2.5 billion; Emperador Distillers / Alliance Global > Megaworld, Empire East

#8 : 1376 : Manny Villar; $1.5 Billion; Vista Land and Camella Homes

#8 : 1376 : Robert Coyiuto Jr., $1.5 Billion Oriental Petroleum & Minerals; 30% of National Grid

#9 : 1468 : Ramon Ang, $1.4 Billion; San Miguel Corp > San Miguel Properties > Legacy Homes, Excel Unified Land

10 : 1678 : Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., $1.2 Billion; former majority owner San Miguel Corp.,

11 : 1795 : Roberto Ongpin, $1.1 Billion; developed Tagaytay Highlands; Chmn. of Alphaland Corp

Other list

3) Aboitiz family; $5 billion

7) Jaime Zobel de Ayala & family; $4.1 billion

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MVP/ PLDT's Media interests go beyond the 15% stake in the Inquirer

On 7/18/2017 at 3:40 PM, DrBubb said:

MAIN Newspapers available in Manila PH


Manila Bulletin ---------- : "Nation's Leading Newspaper" - Basilio Yap, Chairnan., was founded in 1900

The Manila Times ------ : "Trusted since 1898" - Dante Ang, Chairman Emeritas, Dante F. M. Ang, 2nd, Exec. Editor

The Philippines Star *-- : "Truth shall prevail" - Ray Espinosa,Chmn., Betty Go-Belmonte, Founding Chmn, (1986-1994)

Philippine Daily Inquirer : Balanced news,Fearless views - Marixi Prieto, Chmn.; Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez, Pres./CEO

Business World *-------- : Business newspaper of 2014-6 - Raul Locsin, Mging Editor; Roby Alampay, Editor-in-chief

Business Insight -------- : "Most read, best source:" - Amado Macaset, publisher; Allen Macaset, Pres./CEO


* both are majority owned by MediaQuest, a subsidiary of PLDT, where MVP is chairman

Ang in talks to buy Inquirer - Tuesday July 18, 2017

The Prieto family may sell its controlling stake in the Inquirer media conglomerate to businessman Ramon S Ang:

+ Would end a quarter-of-a-century stewardship by Marixi Prieto and her family
. . .
+ Ang to buy 85%, while Manuel V. Pangilinan already holds 15%

The Inquirer's first printing was Dec. 9, 1985

MVP declined to buy Inquirer - Prieto / The Manila Times, pg.B3, July 24, 2017

"Businessman Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) ... declined due to competitive concerns"

Pangilinan is chairman of PLDT, and through a PLDT subsidiary, MediaQuest:

+ owns 70% of Business World

+ owns 51% of The Philippines Star


+ owns TV5

Pangilinan is willing to sell his 15% stake, and some feel it likely that Ang will eventually buy the full 100%


Some History of PLDT

+ Founded in 1928 by American owners, with strong cable connections to the USA

+ 1968: a consortium of Filipino businessmen led by Ramon Cojuangco took control, & expanded its landline business

+ 1987: PLDT set up the first cellular network

+ 1998: First Pacific, led by MVP invested in PLDT, and forged an alliance with NTT

+ Acquired Smart Communications Inc, and Digital Telecommunications

"The world first went mobile, and then digital"

PLDT is moving "beyond access... We're now offering digital content and services"

- says MVP in a supplement in today's Business World

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Henry Sy and SM Investments Corporation

Here's what every consumer should know about SM Investments Corporation, the conglomerate of the Philippines' richest man

 June 28, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – It took the Sy family almost 60 years to get to where they are now. Starting off with 10 centavos in his pocket, Henry Sy Sr is now the Philippines' richest man with an estimated $12.7-billion personal fortune as of end-2016.

But it was not an easy feat for the Chinese migrant. The Sy family's businesses underwent difficult economic and political upheavals over the years, from World War II up to the global financial crisis in 2008.

Classic rags-to-riches story

SM group founder Henry Sy Sr was only 12 years old with 10 centavos in his pocket and no knowledge of English when he followed his father to the Philippines. Sy thought his father, a migrant from China, was well-off. But it turned out his father just owned a sari-sari store along Echague St in Manila's bustling Quiapo district.

'TATANG.' 92-year-old Henry Sy Sr during the 2016 annual stockholders' meeting of SM Investments Corporation. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

'TATANG.' 92-year-old Henry Sy Sr during the 2016 annual stockholders' meeting of SM Investments Corporation. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

During World War II, the Sy family's sari-sari stores were burned. His father went back to China, while Sy started looking for other business ventures.

It was in 1958 when Sy first ventured into the shoe business, selling surplus GI boots and eventually opening his first shoe store in Carriedo.

With no more local shoes to sell, Sy started to look overseas for broken sizes, mainly for Filipino women. This made Shoe Mart the most efficient shoe business at the time.

In 1967, Sy bought Acme Savings Bank, which he then renamed to Banco de Oro. He ventured into banking to provide cash management to suppliers. He was competing versus Good Earth, COD, Remson, and Isetann back then. With a bank in his portfolio, he was able to outgrow all of them and became the last man standing.

Married to a vendor of lace, Sy thought of branching out and selling other products like children's wear. It was in 1972 when he transformed Shoe Mart to SM Department Store.

In 1983, Sy opened his first shopping mall after he saw the emergence of the mall business in the United States. SM City North EDSA, then a 125,000-square-meter mall, opened at a time when the country was plunged into one of the most turbulent periods in political history. Interest rates were at 50%. Today, SM City North EDSA is now over 400,000 square meters (sqm).

From malls and banking, the SM group has since branched out to property, gaming, and mining.

As of 2016, the 92-year-old Sy has $12.7 billion in assets, making him the richest person in Southeast Asia, according to US magazine Forbes. His conglomerate, SM Investments Corporation, ended 2016 with P31.2 billion in net income.

From retail to education

Most, if not all, Filipino consumers are familiar with malls and condominiums developed by the SM group. Its 63rd mall, SM Cherry Antipolo, is the latest addition to its malls all over the Philippines. As of end-2016, it also has 7 malls in China, 43 residential projects, 6 office buildings, and 6 hotels.

In addition to that, SM Investments owns 44.3% of the largest domestic bank in terms of assets – BDO Unibank Incorporated. It also owns 19.9% of China Banking Corporation.

Aside from banking, the group has investments in gaming through Belle Corporation (28%). Belle controls 78.74% of Premium Leisure Corporation, which in turn owns 100% of Premium Leisure and Amusement Incorporated – owner of the license for Entertainment City.

> https://www.rappler.com/business/170638-fast-facts-sm-investments-corporation-henry-sy-malls

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The WEALTH pyramid explained

The Wealth Triangle | Should Regular People Be Able To Buy Homes?

Some comments included about

- Should only those who are smart & work hard able to buy property in prime cities?

- Do the Rich deserve their Wealth?

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DAVID LEECHUI - not the richest, but successful at a young age

> https://www.entrepreneur.com.ph/business-ideas/david-leechiu-the-making-of-a-property-wunderkind-a1673-20180529-lfrm3#comments

David Leechiu: The Making of a Property Wunderkind

Only 45, he now leads the country’s biggest property brokerage founded only two years ago


Leechiu attended CRC from 1990 to 1994, pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurial Management. In those four years, he learned so much from respected mentors, including the CRC founder Bernardo Villegas, one of the country’s most brilliant economists. “It was a fantastic school. I would always, always, always encourage people to go to that school,” he said.

He credits CRC for giving him a well-rounded education as well as meaningful interactions with the business world that gave him an uncanny ability to make a coherent sense of what’s happening around him and spot emerging trends. “My strengths were never accounting or finance. I have a very short attention span. But my mom and my dad exposed me to the world of sales and marketing, and then CRC exposed me to the world of big corporates,” he said.

By the time he graduated, the 21-year-old Leechiu already had a good idea of what his options were. He said that in the 1990s, the main drivers of the economy were the stock market and the property sector, which were growing much faster than other industries. “This is what I keep telling people—you have to grow with the economy, if not faster. You have to find the industries that would allow you to ride that wave.”

. . . “It was a very good environment, fantastic training,” Leechiu recalled. Cuervo Appraisers partnered with foreign company Richard Ellis (now CBRE) during that time. “I saw two worlds exist and, you know, sometimes they would clash. But they existed quite well and that's where you saw the need for competence, information and relationship,” he said.

After three years, Leechiu left Cuervo Associates to join another property brokerage firm—the Philippine unit of international property brokerage Savills, which at that time was under First Pacific Ltd. of Hong Kong, the parent firm of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. The timing was inauspicious as it was just the year after the Asian financial crisis erupted in 1997. He was just 25 years old. The company survived the regional currency crisis even though the peso-dollar rate fell sharply from Php29.5/$1 to Php51/$1 between 1997 and 2001. By then, Leechiu was even appointed general manager of Savills' Philippine unit.

. . . In 2003, Savills made the decision to exit the Philippine market and sell the entire business to Leechiu. “Our (Savills’) revenues were climbing but the currency was falling so fast. We were making money but the moment you convert everything back to dollars, they were losing money,” he explained.

It was an exciting time, but it was not easy. From Savills’ original employee count of 50, Leechiu had to reduce the staff to 17. They also went from a 350-square-meter office to a 75-square-meter workspace. “We had to cut everything. Cut all the costs, cut to the bare minimum and then maximize the margins. We tried to make that stretch as much as we can,” he recounted.

Through such painful cost-cutting, the company began to make money. The company’s cash flow turned positive by the sixth month, and they were already giving dividends by the 18th month.

“I was lucky enough to service the first call center here in the Philippines,” he recalled. “Nobody knew what this call center thing was. No company was asking for 24/7 operations, air conditioning, all night. Who does that, right? No company would say 'I need 100-percent back-up power when there's a blackout that within five seconds I can get all my power back on.’”

Leechiu’s first client in the call center industry was a company called Sykes, working closely with the company’s Regional Vice President Michael Henderson. “I helped him get half a floor. Six months later, he said he needed the other half. 'Oh I need the floor above and then the floor below. You know what, I need two more floors. We need space across the building,'” he recalled Sykes’ rapid expansion. “This guy went from 500 square meters to 5,000 square meters in a few years.”

. . . From annual demand of around 90,000 square meters of office space in 2000, it has since grown to 775,000 square meters today. Leechiu said this growth has been continuous and unbroken. “In fact we were the only country in the world that didn't contract in demand,” he added. He said Metro Manila is, in fact, one of the top four markets in the world in terms of real estate demand volume after Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Even the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 didn’t dampen demand for commercial property in the Philippines, which continued to grow as US companies located some functions offshore in a bid to cut costs and remain viable. Though American companies were downsizing in the US itself, the BPO industry boomed in the Philippines and other countries.

. . . In a sign that the global financial crisis didn’t hurt the country’s outlook at all, international property brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL) offered to acquire all the shares of Leechiu & Associates from Leechiu and two other partners in 2008. The offer was too good to pass up, and so Leechiu, his father-in-law and another partner agreed to accept JLL’s acquisition offer. In addition, they also agreed to stay with the company and run its operations.

. . . Today, the 45-year-old businessman is now doing his own thing again. He put up Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) shortly after leaving JLL in 2016.

“First of all, it's not a midlife crisis phase in my life,” he joked, explaining why he left JLL. “(It’s) because, okay, I've got another maybe 15 years left in my fast-paced, long hours kind of career and I have to make the most out of it. By moving out and being independent, I can then build another business that hopefully somebody will find a value later, whether I sell a portion or 100 percent. It depends. But I know that if you did it right, it will be of value to somebody later. So that's what we're doing.”

. . . Leechiu is not leaving things to chance. Already, he is investing in an AI company that is developing a technology that makes it possible for Philippine-based call center agents to work with AI algorithms and take on higher value jobs. Though he is sparing with the details of the investment, he confirmed he is entering the space in part to learn how AI will impact businesses in the Philippines.

It all fits well with his view that only three industries will shape Philippine economy and business in the next three decades or so. These are today’s counterparts of the stock market and property sector that were on the rise when he graduated from college in the 1990s.

“I keep telling my children the future is all about infrastructure, technology and environment. Those three industries. Everything else is going to be peripheral,” he said. “The next 30 years will be crucial in the lifetime of my children, they have to find the tides that will accelerate them further.”

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