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The life story of Henry Sy from ‘rags to riches’

Here is the life story of Henry Sy, Sr. from ‘rags to riches’, the richest man in the Philippines for 11 years in a row.

The Sy family is known as the owner of the most popular chain of malls in the Philippines, the SM.

However, before SM became one of the leading malls in the country, Henry also started from a humble beginning.

Henry Sy
Photo source: Entrepreneur Philippines

He was born Xiamen, China in November 1924 and he did not belong to a rich family.

Henry decided to follow his father to the Philippines for his aim to improve his life financially.

However, when he was already in the country he experienced a lot of difficulties which brought him miserable years in his youth.

The fact also that he was living in a foreign land as an immigrant added to his struggle.

Behind those trying times, Henry Sy was determined to be successful in life.

Through a small sari-sari store, he provided for his personal needs and for his family. Eventually, all his perseverance, together with his father, gave them success in their business.

Henry Sy Sr.
Photo from SM Investment Corporation Website

However, during World War II, the Philippine economy collapsed and their store was burned down. Because of what happened, Henry’s father was forced to go back to China but he chose to remain in the country.

He built his own shoe business in Marikina after that. Before his business become stable, he had to go through a lot of things such as enroll himself in school, change legal names, sell rejected and overrun shoes, plus many other setbacks that he had to face early in life, based on Philippine Primer’s report.

In spite of all the failures he went through, Henry Sy continued to pursue his dreams.

Henry Sy
Photo source: Esquire Philippines

Now, he has three of the most valuable companies in the Philippines: SM Investments Corp. and SM Prime Holdings Inc., valued at over Php 1 trillion each, and BDO Unibank, valued at around Php635 million.

With his death at the age of 94, Henry Sy is considered to be a business legacy in the Philippines.

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How Henry Sy Started SM With Only 10 Centavos?

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