Today, this blog proudly features the success story of the Philippine's richest man Shopping mall tycoon Henry Sy, He is now at top but he started from bottom, According to Forbes as per march 2013 Henry Sy holds Philipines 1st position, world 68th with net worth $13.2 Billion.
Interview with Philippine's Richest Man Henry Sy A Inspirational Success Story
Henry Sy Biography
Henry Sy, Sr. was born on December 25, 1924 to a poor family in Xiamen, china and migrated to the Philipines at the age of 12. Then he started selling rejected and overrun shoes. In 1958 he established a small shoe store that was mark of starting of SM Prime Holding. Due to his persistence, hard working and never give up nature his small shoe store became SM Quiapo a department store in 1972.
At the young life, when others were attending higher education in universities, Henry Sy was researching and studying live in the market. He was studying market practically.
In the business world, Henry sy is a good example of rags to riches story. Due to his persistent and optimistic characteristics even in the financial crisis his SM Mall continuously made steady growth, that helped to establish him one of the respective business man in the world.
SM = ShoeMart
What We Learn From Henry Sy ?
Dream Big and remember big success factor is being persistence, you have to be persistence because without it you will easily quite in the face of pressure.
(You may also like Interview With Thailand's Richest Man Dhanin Chearavanont)
Interview with Henry Sy
(Excerpt from The Philippine Star and millionaireinthephilippines.blogspot.com)
Philippine Star: Congratulations on the success of the SM Mall of Asia. What did your competitors say about your biggest shopping mall project yet?
Henry Sy : I called Robinsons mall boss John Gokongwei, Jr. to personally invite him to the blessing of the SM Mall of Asia, but he said he couldn't make it. Even though we are competitors, I do not think Gokongwei has any complaints about me.
Philippine Star: Your executives tell me that one million people came to the SM Mall of Asia on your first day, May 21, then 400,000 came the next day, Monday. Why are people coming here, when this location is not along a highway like SM Megamall or at a crossroads like SM North Edsa ?
Henry Sy : A lot of the customers to this mall came from the provinces and they enjoy touring the place. It is not only constructing the place that creates a good mall, we at SM create destinations using continuous research, studies and new ideas to match the needs and wants of the people. Doing a mall is not only construction of the physical place, what's important is the merchandising mix. We strive to serve the convenience of the public. We want shopping at our malls to be a unique and an enjoyable experience.
Philippine Star: Why did you build an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink in this mall?
Henry Sy : Very few people know this: I love skating and bowling. I used to roller skate a lot in my youth on Taft Avenue, Manila. That's the reason why there's always a skating area in all my SM malls. I want more people to share my love for skating.
Philippine Star:When you were a kid, what was your original ambition?
Henry Sy : I have always wanted to be a businessman. No other ambitions. I just wanted to be in business, even when I was a child in Fujian province, South China .
Philippine Star: Why did you invest P7 billion in Mall of Asia's 500 outlets, 180 restaurants and other facilities, at a time when the Philippine economy is not that strong?
Henry Sy : It's investment that manifests my strong confidence in the Philippine future. I hope this biggest mall project will have a positive impact on the Philippine economy and I hope to encourage other business people to invest, too. Not everything I do is purely for money. Of course, as a businessman and as head of publicly listed companies, we have to earn, but at this point in my life, there are other considerations more important besides just money. I took a risk and invested in SM Mall of Asia because I wanted to create something that could contribute to Philippine tourism growth. If I am only after profits, the easiest way is for me to construct high-rise condominiums here along the seashore facing Manila Bay, or I could just develop high-end subdivisions here and subdivide the lots to cash in quickly with big profits. But constructing this mall is a long-term investment; it is proof of my faith in the future of the Philippine economy. I wanted to build a beautiful destination for shopping, wholesome family-oriented entertainment and leisure. That church outside this mall, I donated it to everything from the structure, the land, to the interior furnishings and decor and it's not for profit.
Philippine Star: What else do you wish to achieve after the SM Mall of Asia? What other big projects can we expect from you?
Henry Sy : My biggest wish is for government, the private sector and all of us to work together to make the Philippines the best tourism destination in Southeast Asia. This is the reason I am always optimistic that the Philippines is not a hopeless case, contrary to what a lot of cynics claim. What Thailand can offer in tourism places and services, we in the Philippines can match, except for our past reputation in peace-and-order problems. That's what has held back our tourism growth. Philippine economic prospects are very good; we just have some problems in the investment environment which the government is now rectifying. Other export industries often rely on imported raw materials and the Philippines often only earns the labor input, but in the tourism industry, the Philippines can earn as much as 80 percent for every dollar spent here on food, shopping, entertainment, hotels, transport, etc., while 20 percent probably goes to imported liquor and other luxury goods. I am into tourism with Tagaytay Highlands, & Taal Vista Hotel. We shall keep investing in new tourist-friendly malls, we are now master-planning a new 5,700-hectare seaside tourism project called Hamilo Coastal in Batangas, and many others.
Philippine Star: What are your suggestions on how to build up Philippine tourism?
Henry Sy : I have a very simple formula based on common sense that will help accelerate Philippine tourism growth: the government should improve the
peace-and-order situation as well as the international image of the Philippines on this crucial issue. The government should upgrade
infrastructure, there should be a strong information campaign worldwide to promote the Philippines as an ideal tourism destination. In a recent
event of HSBC, a TV talk show host of CNN asked for my advice to politicians and I shared only a few words of advice: work more, talk less.
Government every year claims over two million tourist arrivals.
Philippine Star:What do you think should be the ideal number of tourists coming to the Philippines annually?
Henry Sy : Our target should first be to attract five million tourists in the first five years, then go for over 10 million in 10 years. Every time I meet
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, I always tell her this dream of mine and my excitement about Philippine tourism potentials because I know she really wants a better Philippine economy.
Philippine Star: In this era of globalization, SM is also going international like the western multinationals Walmart, Carrefour, Metro, and others. What are your plans in China ?
Henry Sy : We have four major projects in China. In August or September this year, we shall inaugurate our new mall in Chengdu City, the capital of the
100-million- people Sichuan province. China is a dynamic place, it is amazing in progress.
Philippine Star: Why is it that your children did not grow up spoiled, and seem to have imbibed your work ethic and business acumen? How did you train them?
Henry Sy : I think it's their innate natural drive. I also trained them in the importance of hard work. Even while they were in high school, my children used to spend their free time working at our SM Department Store in Makati.
Philippine Star:A billionaire asked me recently who is richer, you or Lucio Tan?
Henry Sy : How can I know for sure who is bigger in net worth when each person has his own strengths that not everyone fully appreciates? I don't like to say this guy is the biggest in wealth, because some people have wealth which is hidden and isn't that a fair point of view?
Philippine Star:John Gokongwei Jr. told me that when he first applied for a loan with PBCom it was not approved, and it was China Bank's Dee K. Chiong and Dr. Albino SyCip who approved his first loan of P500,000 in 1950. What about your first loan?
Henry Sy : I don't usually like to get loans. In fact, the reason why we did well and completed our first mall project, SM North Edsa, even after the 1983 economic crisis and after the Ninoy Aquino assassination, was because we had very little loans then. I got my first credit line in 1949, it was from China Bank and they lent me P1 million. My credit line was approved by Mr. Yap Tian Siang in their head office before at Juan Luna Street, corner Dasmarinas Street.
Philippine Star: Did you ever imagine in 1949 that you would someday own more than 70 percent of China Bank, and that you would have Banco de Oro and soon, possibly, Equitable PCIBank?
Henry Sy : No, I never imagined then that I would own banks. You know, despite our many shareholdings in China Bank, the Dee family of the original founder has managed the institution so professionally and profitably, we never attempted to change the incumbent chairman Gilbert Dee or president Peter Dee. We are not that greedy, it's not good. I don't believe in wanting both power and financial gain. Even those executives who have been with China Bank for many years, they are still there. If a venerable institution like China Bank is doing so well, why make changes?
Philippine Star: Is it true you already own 11 percent of San Miguel Corporation?
Henry Sy : I have invested a lot in that well-managed company, but I do not want to mention figures.
Philippine Star: What are the business principles or strategies that made you successful?
Henry Sy : I would not classify this as a secret to success, but one of my lifelong practices is to pay my obligations on time, especially my suppliers. Even in my early years as retailer, I didn't delay my payments to suppliers, because I tell my kids that we have to be considerate to suppliers and think of their own "hinyong" or how they have to protect their sense of trustworthiness with others. If it's time to pay others on Monday, we would already deposit the money in their bank accounts on Friday, so they need not even come to our office to collect.
Philippine Star: Why did you cry when you first saw your father in his store?
Henry Sy : I cried because I saw how hard the life of my father was as a small shopkeeper. He worked from early morning to late at night every day. He would go to "chay-chi-khaw" area or Divisoria to buy goods, carrying them himself on his back in order to resell in the store. I learned the importance of honest hard work, frugality, and discipline from his example.
Philippine Star: Where did you and your father sleep at night, on the second floor or at the back of the store?
Henry Sy :Our sari-sari store was so small it had no back or second floor, we just slept on the counter late at night after the store was closed.
Philippine Star: When you were a kid and you saw your father struggling with his sari-sari store, did that motivate you to aspire to become Southeast Asia's Shopping Mall King ?
Henry Sy : As a kid, I had the will to strive for excellence and to overcome the hard environment, but I never imagined attaining big success. Whatever I have achieved did not happen overnight; ever since my teen years I have devoted many, many years of my life to non-stop studying, diligent work, and dreaming of a better future.