When we started the construction of our first mall in 1983, the Philippines was in the midst of a debt moratorium and experienced hyper inflation.
The economy decline was further aggravated by the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.
It is a rags to riches story that even myself did not realize until I went to trace his roots in China.
Many shoe manufacturers at that time could not understand why they had to listen to this shoe retailer who had very definite ideas on what he wanted to sell.
They did not cooperate by providing him with the volume he needed, and because of that limitation, he gradually shifted to apparel – and thereafter other merchandise – with the help of my mother.
Many bankers predicted our demise because my dad came from nowhere – he may had a few department stores and shoe stores at that time, but he was not one of the financial heavy-weights at that time.
Unaffected by criticism, and armed with sheer determination and optimism, he persisted and opened in 1985 with our department store and supermarket and a few tenants.
We opened our first department store in 1972, two months after Martial Law was declared.
The business had a slow start, but progressed steadily.
Many things in life grow out of needs, and to meet the needs, you become determined.
With determination you will take extra challenges and do things differently – which will most likely bring success.
Today, I’m now going to feature the life story of the richest man in the Philippines.
He is no other than Henry Sy, the retail magnate who owns all established 33 SM Malls and also a banking magnate who owns Banco De Oro-EPCI Bank and majority share in China Bank.
At one time, he was hit by shrapnel while selling, and quite fortunately was brought to the hospital by his good friend in a kariton. He treasured that friendship and later expressed his gratitude after the war by making that friend his partner in a shoe store.