Excerpted from Geoff Hiscock's "Asia's Wealth Club"
Tan Yu, Fuga Internationale Group, Philippines ( $3.2 billion US) Chairman: Fuga Internationale Group:
Born: 1935, Bico region of Luzon, Philippines
Marital status; Married, eldest daughter Emilia, eldest son Elton.
Tna Yu, born into a copra-trading family in the Philippines, has built up a textile, retailing, hotel and property-development operation which extends to China and the United States. But Taiwan is the major facus, where his flagship is Asia Trust & Investment Corp., and his other interests include the Asiaworld Department Store and the Asiaworld Hotel in Taipei, and Asiaworld Investment Corp.
Tan Yu has hotel and property interests in China, mainly in Jujian province. In the United States he has banking and real-estate interests in Californa, Nevada and Texas, including a sizeable land bank outside Houston. His eldest son, Elton Tan See, runs the family's hotels in Taiwan while daughter Tan Bien-Bien, known in the Philippines as Emilia Roxas runs the main company, Asia Internationale Group.
Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala and family, Philippines Ayala Corp. ($2.8 billion US) Outside of Japan and Korea, the Ayala family of the Philippines is one of the few non-Chinese clans that rank among Asia's super-rich. Founded in 1834 by Spanish settler Don Antonio de Ayala, the Ayala group has grown into a conglomerate with annual revenues of US$1 billion on the strenght of its trade in sugar, coffee plantations, other agribusiness, financial services, property development, telecommunications and aviation.
A huge land bank in the Makati area of Metro Manila has been central to the Ayala group's fortunes, with sales from its development generating as much as 60 percent of annual revenue. Other key companies in the group include 43-percent owned Bank of the Philippines Islands, 75 percent owned Pure Foods Corp and 38 percent owned Globe Telecom, where its major partner is Singapore Telecom.
George TY and family,(from Fujian Province, China) Metrobank, Philippines ($2.8 billion US) George TY Siao Kian and his family hold a 65 percent interest in Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co (known as Metrobank), which is the Philippines largest bank ranked by assets and profits, and the largest overall financial conglomerate in the country.
Ty, born in China's Fujian province, began his business career in foodstuffs, establishing the Wellington Flour Mills in the mid-1950's. With money from his successful flour-milling venture, he set up Metrobank in 1962 with some associates, and determined to target the ethnic Chinese business community.
The bank's progress was steady enough for the first two decades, but then burst of spectacular growth in the mid-1990's lifted Metrobank out of the ruck and allowed it to overtake Philippines National Bank and Bank of the Philippine Islands for the top spot. By 1996 Metrobank had more than 430 branches, including offices in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and the United States.
Manuel Villar, C&P Homes, Philippines ($2.4 billion US) Born in Manila, Philippines. Congressman Manuel Villar and his wife Cynthia control the listed company C&P Homes, a developer of low-income housing that has proved immensely popular with both its customers and investors. Foreign investors snapped up more than 60 percent of the 566 million shares on offer in June 1995 when Villar took the company to the market with an initial public offering of 20 percent of the stdock for about US$320 million.
Henry Sy, (from Fujian Province, China) SM Prime Holdings, Philippines ($1.9 billion US) Born in Fujian province China. Henry Sy is the Philippines' retail king. It is a position reached from a simple strategy: build a shopping mall, pack it with entertainment like cinemas, video games and restuarants, and the shoppers will come. It has been a winning formulas, with Sy acknowledged as the pioneer of megamalls. He built his first, SM City, in 1985 in Metro Manila's suburban Quezon City and followed with three more in Metro Manila and one in Cebu City, in the central Philippines.
The story of Henry Sy, whose Chines name is Si Tsi Xing, starts in China's Fujian province, where he was born in Long Hu Hong Xi in 1925. While still in his teens, Sy migrated with his parents to the Philippines, where his family opened a small drygoods store in the Quiapo commercial district of Manila. Sy studied at Far Eastern University in Manila and worked after hours buying and selling shoes as a middleman for shoe stores. In 1948 he opened his first shoe store and through the 1950s was able to set up a string of similar stores, finally forming Shoemart in 1960.
From shoes, Sy ventured into department stores and then into the bigger arean of shopping malls. By the end of 1996, his retail SM chain numbered nine department stores and five malls, including the massive SM Megamall in Metro Manila's Mandaluyong city.
Lucio Tan, (from Fujian Province, China) Philippine Airlines, Fortune Tobacco, Philippines ($1.7 billion US) Born in Xiamen, China. Beer, tobacco, banking, property, an airline- these are just the most visible pieces of the empire that Lucio Tan has built in the Philippines, Hong Kong and North America in the past three decades. Apart from Philippine Airlines, none of his companies is listed and Tan likes to keep it that way. No stranger to controversy on his way to great wealth, Tan sees no reason to go public if he can avoid it.
For many years Tan was regarded as the wealthiest ethnic Chinese in the Philippines until it appeared that banking tycoon George Ty had surged past him in the mid 1990's. Then again, Lucio and his brothers may have other assets that are not in the public eye. Tan, born in Xiamen, in China's Fujian province, moved to Cebu with his parents while still a boy, labouring away at different jobs until he found his corporate career in the Philippines when he set up his Fortune Tobacco Corp in 1966. In the next three decades, despite his love of privacy, his name was never far from the headlines. He was regarded as a crony of the late Ferdinand Marcos, and was alleged to have won tax concessions in return for campaign funds during the Marsos era. In the 1980's and 1990's, he faced a flurry of courtroom jousts- first with Corazon Aquino's government over whether his companies were secretly held for the Marcos family, and later with the Fidel Ramos administration over allegations of tax evasion by Fortune Tobacco. In September 1996, Tan finally onw the prize he had been seeking since 1992- control of Philippine Airlines.
Andrew Gotianun Sr. and family, Filinvest Group, Philippines ($1.5 billion US) Born in 1927. Andrew Gotianun and his family control the Philippines seventh largest listed company, Filinvest Development Corp (FDC), which in turn holds 70 per cent of property developer Filinvest Land. The two listed companies which had respective market capitalizations of US$1.8 billion and US$1.2 billion in early 1997, are among the biggest real-estate companies in the Philippines, exceeded only by the Ayala family's giant Ayala Land Inc.
Eugenio (Geny) Lopez Jr., Benpres Holdings, ABS-CBN Broadcasting, Philippines, educated at Harvard University ($1.4 billion US) The Lopez name is synonymous with big business in the Philippines a legacy of the empire built up in media, banking and power generation by the late Eugenio Lopez I. Lopez, regarded as the Philippines' wealthiest business figure of the 1960s, died in 1975 in the United States, a bitter and broken man after a close relationship with the lat President Ferdinand Marcos turned soar in the early 1970's.
Today, his son Eugenio (Geny) Lopez Jr. who spent five years in a military jail during the Marcos era before escaping in November 1977 to the United States, guides the family's rebuilt US$1.4 billion fortune through its flagship company, Benpress Holdings. Geny Lopez Jr., who returned to the Philippines after the overthrow of Marcos in 1986, is president and chief executive of Benpres, chairman of ABS-CBN Broadcasting (where his sone Eugenio Lopez III is president) and chairman of 17 percent held Philippine Commercial International Bank.
John Gokongwei, JG Summit, Philippines ($1.0 billion US) Born 1927, Cebu City, Philippines. John Gokongwei was born into a wealthy Cebu based trading family originally from China's Fujian province. His grandfather, Pedro Gotiaoco, set up Gotiaoco Hermanos in the nineteenth century and built it inot one of the biggest enterprises in Cebu. But the family fortune was lost during the Second World War and it was Gokongwei's responsibility to put food on the table during the difficult years of the Japanese occupation.
He started his business career during the war, buying and selling rice, cloth and scrap metal. After the war, he set up a cornstarch factory called Universal Corn Products with his brothers. From there he ventured into textile production, property development, retailing and, later, banking, aviation, petrochemicals, infrastructure and telecommunications.
In the turbulent days after the fall of President Ferndinand Marcos in 1986, real estate in the Philippines was cheap. Gokongwei saw the potential and bought land in the now-booming Ortigas business district, where he built his Robinson's Galleria mall in 1987.
Other major companies are listed food company Universal Robina Corp., property company Robisnson's Land Corp, PCI Bank (fifth largest bank in ght Philippines) and in financial services through PCI insurance brokers, PCI Capital Corp and Philippines Commercial Credit Card Inc.
Gokongwei is president and holds a controlling 57 percent stake in the new phone company Digital Telecom, which he aims to make the nation's second largest carrier after Philippine Long distance Telephone(PLDT). His power and oil interests are through 20 percent stakes respectively in First Philippine Power Corp and Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corp.
Gokongwei's latest property developments include Robinsons Tower, a 30,000 square metre block in Makati, and the 81,000 square meter PCIB Tower in Ortigas. His ambitions have also taken wing with Cebu Pacific Air, an airline he set up in March 1996 to compete with Lucio Tan's Philippine Airlines on the busy Manila-Cebu route.
Alfonso T. Yuchengco, (from Fujian Province, China) House of Investments, Philippines ($1.0 billion US) Born 1923, Manila. Board Chairman industrialist, diplomat and Chief Taipan of the Filipino-Chinese, Alfonso Yuchengco is one of the five most important leaders of the international Chinese business community in Asia. An MBA graduate from Columbia University, a former ambassador to China and current ambassador to Japan, Yuchengco's influence is extraordinarily broad. Alfonso joined his father in business in 1950 and today chairs 15 companies, with 42 percent owned listed House of Investments and 16 percent owned Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. as the flagship vehicles. Rizal Commercial Bank is the Philippines' eighth largest bank, with assets of US$2.5 billion. Through its many subsidiaries, House of Investments is involved in banking, consumer finance, construction, power, infrastructure, agribusiness, real estate, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and services.
Edwardo Cojuangco Jr. and family, UCP Bank, San Miguel Corp. Philippines ($1.0 billion US) One part of the Cojuangco name is synonymous with the powerful business elite who supported the late President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines during the 1970's and 1980's. When Marcos fell in the April 1986 "People Power" revolt, Edwardo fled Manila and spent1986-98 in exile in the United States. But Cojuangco, who is godfather to Marcos's son Bong Bong, returned in 1989, regained three seats on the board of the United Coconut Planters Bank that he cofounded in 1975, and made an unsuccessful run for the vice-presidency in 1992.
Before the downfall of Marcos, Cojuangco had monopoly control of the Philippines' coconut industry. In addition to SMC and the United Coconut Planters Bank, his business interests today include agribusiness, mining, shipping, plantations, beverage distribution and a stake in the Mudgee wine-growing district of Australia, where he also runs a horse stud.
Andres Soriano III San Miguel Corporation (US$1.0 billion) Born Manila. Educated at the Wharton School, USA. Andres is Chairman and Chief executive of the largest non-oil company in the Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, which had 1995 revenue of US$2.6 billion and profits of US$456 million. The Soriano family, who have been major shareholders in SMC for decades, have been long-time business rivals of the Cojuangco clan which rose to prominence in SMC during the Marcos era.
With 33,000 employees, SMC is the Philippines' largest private employer. It had a market capitalization, including A and B shares, of around US$5.7 billion in early 1997. Apart from their stake in SMC, the Sorianos have their own listed business group, A. Soriano Corporation, which acts as an investment and management company. They also have a stake in Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp.