BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : JUNE 14, 1999 ISSUE
INTERNATIONAL -- ASIAN COVER STORY

Henry Sy, Founder, SM Prime Holdings, Philippines (int'l edition)


HENRY SY KEEPS A STUFFED EAGLE WITH 3-INCH TALONS IN HIS MANILA OFFICE. ''I believe eagles have a very strong character and a sharp eye,'' he says. The comparison is clear. Using such skills, Sy has made himself the retailing king of the Philippines. At 74, he presides over a conglomerate that relies on sales of low-priced consumer goods to prosper even in recession. His air-conditioned Megamalls have turned traditional Sunday afternoon family time into shopping expeditions. As a result, SM Prime revenues rose 19% last year, to $115 million, and 17% growth is expected this year.

The tycoon is a long way from his humble start. His impoverished family left China when Sy was 12 and opened a corner grocery in Manila. Sy later sold shoes, traveling 40 hours by propeller plane to New York to get them. He picked up retailing ideas in the U.S. and started his own store. By 1985, Sy had expanded, opening a department store. He has been expanding ever since. ''I make things happen,'' he says.



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Henry Sy, Founder, SM Prime Holdings, Philippines (int'l edition)

ONLINE ORIGINAL: ``If I Make Good Today, I Want to Make Better Tomorrow'' (int'l edition)



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