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Yes! Henry Sy started SM with only 10 centavos

This is the story of how Henry Sy, Sr. started SM, the biggest mall chains in the Philippines, with only 10 centavos.

Henry Sy
Photo source: Entrepreneur Philippines

The Philippines’ business world was shocked upon the news that Sy passed away just recently at the age of 94.

He is considered a legacy in the field of business in the country. From the time he started SM until he is declared as the richest man in the Philippines for 11 years in a row, his life is truly a ‘rags to riches’ story.

Photo source: Town&Country

Before he became a very successful businessman, he also went through a lot of struggles. Many might not believe but he started his journey to success with just 10 centavos to his name.

The road to success for the young entrepreneur was not that easy. He had to work hard while he was studying and learning English and Filipino at the same time.

After getting a degree in commercial studies from Far Eastern University, Henry Sy started his shoe business and sold surplus G.I. boots. This eventually led to the opening of his first Shoemart.

Photo source: Town&Country

Later on, he ventured into selling other products such childrenswear when he married his wife, Felicidad Tan, a lace vendor.

That was also the same time when Shoemart was changed to SM Department Store.

The 1990s was considered to be the golden age of SM because in that decade it opened several malls consecutively. SM City Sta. Mesa opened in 1990, SM Megamall in 1991, and SM City Cebu in 1993. A year after that, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. was incorporated and became public.

Photo source: Town&Country

These all began when SM North Edsa was built back in 1985.

SM also reached to China. As of June 2018, SM Prime has six malls in Xiamen, Jinjiang, Chengdu, Suzhou, Chongqing, and Zibo.

Henry Sy also ventured into the business of banking. He bought Acme Savings Bank (Banco de Oro) in 1967 and in 2006, SM acquired and merged Equitable PCI Bank with BDO.

Photo source: Town&Country

It does not stop there because the company of Henry Sy also entered the residential market with SMDC. The Chateau Elysee condominium was its first project in Paranaque in 2003, according to Town & Country.

Photo source: @theofficialsmdc IG

Indeed, the success of Sy is so remarkable which started from only 10 centavos.

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