Money & Power

Henry Sy Sr. Is Biggest Billionaire Not Just in the Philippines But in Southeast Asia

The SM Group founder is richer than the heads of Japan’s Uniqlo and of South Korea’s Samsung.
IMAGE SM PRIME/PATRICK ROQUE/WIKIEMDIA COMMONS
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Henry Sy Sr., 93, remains the country’s richest Filipino for the 11th year in a row as he leads the 12 Filipinos who made it to the exclusive 2018 Forbes World’s Billionaires List, released on March 6, Tuesday.

Sy ranked at 52nd place among the 2,208 billionaires who made it to the global list, beating the likes of SpaceX and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk who was at 54th place. Sy is the richest billionaire from Southeast Asia and one of the wealthiest in East Asia, beating even Uniqlo founder and CEO Tadashi Yanai who ranked as the 56th richest billionaire in the world and Samsung’s Lee Kun-Hee who ranked 61st.

The SM Group founder’s ranking jumped 42 places from last year with his net worth now at $20 billion from $12.7 billion in 2017.

But the rest of the Filipinos who made it on the list saw their rankings drop despite the increase of their net worth from last year. Of the 12 on the list, nine saw their net worth increase.

Second richest Filipino billionaire John Gokongwei Jr. maintained his net worth at $5.8 billion but his ranking dropped to 305th place from 250th last year. He was followed by International Container Terminal Services, Inc. CEO Enrique Razon Jr. at 404th place and LT Group Inc.’s Lucio Tan at 441st place. Jollibee Foods Corp. CEO Tony Tan Caktiong placed 550th, completed the top five Filipino billionaires this year.

Only Prudential Guarantee and Assurance CEO Robert Coyiuto saw his earnings slightly decrease from $1.5 billion last year to $1.4 billion in 2018. Alphaland Chairman Roberto Ongpin also maintained his net worth at $1.1 billion.

The late construction magnate David Consunji and DoubleDragon Properties Corp. CEO Edgar “Injap” Sia II were the only tycoons who failed to return to the list this year after their inclusion in the record number of 14 Filipinos on the list in 2017.

Though fewer than last year, the 12 Filipinos on Forbes’ billionaire list this year chalked up a total net worth of $55.3 billion, up 21 percent from last year’s total of $45.8 billion. Their average wealth also rose 41 percent to $4.6 billion from $3.3 billion last year.

Globally, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos displaced Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world’s richest billionaire with his net worth at $112 billion. He is the first “centi-billionaire” to ever top the list. Gates is now at second place, which Forbes noted is only the sixth time he ever ceded the top rank while Warren Buffett is back in third place.

The richest French billionaire and Louis Vuitton Chairman Bernard Arnault ranked fourth while Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg completed the top five.

*****

Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Entrepreneur PH. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz

*This story originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.ph.
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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