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Top 10 Chinoy Entrepreneurs

It must have been luck, it must have been hard work, or maybe both that made these mortals into taipans.

By: Entrepreneur Staff | Feb 03, 2011 15:00 pm

It’s difficult to think of the country’s growing entrepreneurial scene and not think about the Filipino-Chinese businessmen (and women) who helped shaped it—taipans, as some of the more established ones are called. These are the people who began with almost nothing, and grew to manage almost everything. It’s a story we know all too well, but never really get tired of telling. And over the years, others have joined their ranks, but one thing binds them all together: they are Chinoys.

1.    Henry Sy
Top 10 Chinoy EntrepreneursThere’s a lot to say about the man popularly known as the “father of Philippine retail.” As the chairman of the SM Group of Companies, Henry Sy heads one of the biggest conglomerates in the Asia-Pacific region with a reach that extends to industries such as retail, real estate, banking and finance, and—let’s not forget—mall operations.

In 2010, listed the 85-year-old Sy among the world’s billionaires with an estimated net worth of $4.2 billiion, rubbing elbows with publishing tycoon William Hearst III ($1.8 billion), Richard Marriott ($1.3 billion) of the world-famous hotel chain, and network-owner and television host Oprah Winfrey ($2.4 billion). Definitely a far cry from his early beginnings as a young immigrant from Fujian, China with his father in the 1930s.

Tycoon? Of course he is. But what else can you really say about the man ranked as one of the wealthiest people in the world? `Nuff said.

2.    Lucio Tan
Top 10 Chinoy EntrepreneursPerhaps there is no other personality in the country’s Filipino-Chinese business directory that is more polarizing than Lucio Tan. The captain of an industry worth $1.7 billion and the once Chinese immigrant from Fujian province in south China has become a towering figure in local business circles heading Philippine Airlines, the country’s largest carrier; the Philippine National Bank; the 156-year-old Tanduay Distillers, the country’s largest rum producer; Asia Brewery; Fortune Tobacco Corp., the biggest player in the country’s tobacco and cigarette industry; and many more.

He’s perhaps the only entrepreneur that has worked with four Philippine presidents: Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, and Joseph Estrada. And that’s perhaps one reason why Tan has his fair share of supporters and detractors.

Be that as it may, one can’t deny the Tan’s talent for business. He has played with the big boys and has become one in the process.

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