CEO Series

Here Are 4 Extremely Successful Filipino Businessmen Who Are Also Self-Made Billionaires

There are two ways in which you can become a successful billionaire – either you are born with a silver spoon and continue your ancestral lineage, or you strive hard towards fulfilling your vision.

For the silver-spooned individuals, it is indeed much easier for them to kickstart their own venture and bring their business ideas to live.

But for those who fall in the latter group, they mostly come from humble backgrounds and it’s definitely more of a struggle for them to bootstrap their idea and make it big.

And in Philippines, there has been a lot of case studies highlighting those who have become zero to hero in the business world, climbing the pinnacles of success with sheer hard work and determination.

Today, these individuals’ net worth total up to billions, and their business ventures are globally recognised. Here’s a list of four successful Filipino entrepreneurs who have built their successful business empires from scratch.

1. Lucio Tan

Image Credit: supermanmanila.com

Age: 83

Net worth: US$4.2 billion

Company:  Lucio Tan Group of Companies        

Image Credit: Philippine Airlines

Lucio Tan is the founder and chairman of LT group, which largely deals in tobacco, brewery, real estate, airlines, and banking.

In his early days, Tan studied chemical engineering and mopped floors at a tobacco factory to fund his college fees. Eventually, he dropped out of college and started working at a tobacco company.

At the same time, Tan began dabbling in scrap selling and over time, he established his own cigarette brand under the name Fortune Tobacco and went on to form a small brewery in 1982. This brewery has brand equity worth over $1.1 billion today.

Currently, Tan is ranked the fourth richest man in the Philippines; but he prefers to maintain a low-profile amongst his contemporaries in the country. This humility is exactly what gets his business going.

2. Henry T. Sy Sr.

Image Credit: asiabc.com

Age: 92

Net worth: US$17.8 billion

Company: SM Investments (SMIC)        

Henry T. Sy Sr. is a business tycoon and a philanthropist; and his ventures largely revolve around real estate, the banking sector, mining and engineering, education and the health care domain.

His notable investments include SM Malls, along with Shoemart Departmental Store and a supermarket.

One interesting thing to note: Henry began assisting his father at their family-run departmental store before saving up money to start his first footwear outlet.

From residing in a thatched hut and working in his father’s small “sari sari” store, to selling odd items after his store was burnt to ashes during the World War II, Henry has indeed come a long way.

Post WWII, he identified the demand for American shoes and started selling them.

After managing over three stores selling shoes, he widened his offerings and began his first venture – Shoe Mart (SM). Although it was an air-conditioned mart, it did not gain foothold initially due to poor economy and financial crisis.

Image Credit: bitlanders.com

Currently, SM Investments is one of the largest conglomerates here with a brand equity of over $6.7 billion as of 2016.

Additionally, Henry has made the cut for Forbes Philippines Rich List for over a decade now.

3. Tony Tan Caktiong

Image Credit: entrepreneur.com.ph

Age: 64

Net worth: US$3.6 billion

Company: Jollibee Foods Cooperation     

Tony Tan Caktiong is an entrepreneur of the Chinese-Filipino origin, and the founder and chairman of the popular Filipino fast food chain Jollibee.

As the third eldest amongst his seven siblings, Tony was introduced to the F&B business at an early age and soon seized the opportunity of franchising Magnolia Dairy Ice Cream.

What began as a humble ice cream parlour in Manila in 1978, Jollibee soon became one of Asia’s largest family-run restaurant organisation.

Tony was quick to notice an opportunity in the fast food scene, and worked on increasing his menu offerings. The start was initially crude, but sales soon surged thanks to good marketing techniques.

Image Credit: vffranchiseconsulting.com

To date, there are over 2,581 Jollibees and some fast-food joints under varying brand names forming a cluster.

The red and white bumblebee logo is a very common sight in the Philippines and has a control of over 18% of the Metro market in Manila.

Its popularity and simple cooking have racked up a rough market estimate of $1.3 billion, and 2016 reports read brand equity worth $2.2 billion.

The chain has also since expanded to some parts of the United States of America, and largely sells oriental and American street food adapted for a quick-serve format.

4. Andrew Tan

Image Credit: philstar.com

Age: 65

Net worth: US$2.6 billion

Company: Megaworld

Andrew Tan is another entrepreneurial billionaire of a Chinese-Filipino origin; and his business interest largely revolves around property investment, food and beverages industry and spirits and liquor.

Forbes has ranked him as the fourth richest man in the Philippines amidst a long list of 39 other individuals, with an estimated net worth of $2 billion.

Image Credit: Megaworld

Andrew was actually born in an average family, and his father worked as a factory worker.

His early days were rough too as his business went through a lot of financial ups and downs. His business was greatly affected by the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, and it was also subjected to a political coup by the Cory Aquino administration.

Currently, Andrew has his stakes in a lot of companies including Alliance Global, which owns the entire gamut of McDonald’s franchise in the Philippines.

Andrew’s parent company is called Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI), which further comprises of four different companies in the field of food and beverage, real estate, distilleries and McDonald’s franchise.

Traits Of A Successful Businessman

A common trait that binds these four Filipino individuals is strong will.

Amidst financial breakdowns and massive hardships, these individuals persevered through their struggles to be the successful men they are today. What began as a humble beginning eventually gave way to success and recognition.

With focus and a solid business idea as the initial form of capital, they have monetized their ideas into tangible assets.

Featured Image Credit: supermanmanila.com / asiabc.com / entrepreneur.com.ph / philstar.com

Subscribe to Vulcan Post Newsletter

Stay updated with our weekly curated news and updates.