You have to have a dream, whether big or small. Then plan, focus, work hard and be very determined to achieve your goals. There is no substitute for hard work.
Henry Sy was born to a poor family in Ankhue Village, Jinjiang City Fujian, Province of China on October 25, 1924. He is the son of Henry H. Sy and Domini Magdaraog.
He completed his secondary education in a school now known as Chiang Kai Shek College and earned his Associate of Arts degree in Commercial Studies at Far Eastern University in 1950.
In 1956, Sy established a small shoe store in Quiapo, Manila that marked the establishment of SM Prime Holdings. In November 1972, the small shoe store became SM Quiapo, SM's first stand alone department store.
On November 8, 1985, he established his first SM Supermall, SM City North EDSA.
In August 2005, Sy's stake in the San Miguel Corporation, Southeast Asia's largest food and beverage conglomerate, reached 11%. He sold that stake in October 2007 for $680 million.
Sy is considered a tai-pan. The Sy group is the operator of Banco de Oro and owner of Chinabank. In 2006, he bought the remaining 66% of Equitable PCI Bank which is merged with BDO today, the Philippines' third largest lender, in which he already had a 34% stake, and merged it with Banco de Oro in 2007. The merger created the Philippines' second largest financial institution with resources of close to $17 billion.
He is the Philippines' richest man, gaining $5 billion in 2010, amid the global financial crisis. The huge gain was due to his holding company, SM Investments Corporation, which has interests in Banco de Oro, inter alia. Forbes magazine's 2008 list of 40 wealthiest Filipinos revealed the Sy family's net worth was $6.2 billion. Earlier, he was the second-wealthiest individual in the Philippines, next to Lucio Tan, and (as of 2010) 201st-wealthiest in the world.
In 2017, Sy stepped down as chairman of SM Investments Corporation.