Philippines' richest man Henry Sy dies at 94
SEE ALSO :Philippines wins Miss Universe again!Forbes said he was the 52nd richest person in the world last year, beating out bold name tycoons like Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch and George Soros. "Henry Sy... passed away peacefully in his sleep early Saturday morning. There are no further details at the moment," his SM group said in a statement to AFP. Sy put up his first shoe store in downtown Manila in 1956, a business which later grew into a diversified empire. He stepped down as chairman of his holding firm in 2017, assuming the title of "chairman emeritus" and leaving trusted allies as well as his children in charge of his empire. It was a long journey for a man who came to the Philippines as a boy to work in his immigrant father's variety store.
SEE ALSO :Philippine storm death toll rises to 22"Our store was so small it had no back or second floor, we just slept on the counter late at night after the store was closed," he told the Philippine Star newspaper in 2006. - Shoe store to supermalls - After their shop was destroyed during World War II, Sy's father returned to China but Henry chose to stay in the Philippines. He got a commerce degree from a Manila university and started selling shoes in a shop which would later grow into a chain named "ShoeMart". By 1972, his shops had branched out into selling all manner of goods, prompting the name to be changed to SM Department Store.
SEE ALSO :Twin blast kills 21 in a church serviceBy 2018, SM said it had 70 malls in the Philippines and seven in China as well as six hotels and eight office buildings. Sy's empire has earned its share of criticism from labour groups, who say it uses thousands of contractual hires to avoid paying higher wages and benefits that permanent workers are entitled to. SM officials have insisted that they do not engage in so-called "contractualisation", but say they hire "seasonal" workers for peak periods like Christmas, back-to-school and even weekends.