Henry Sy, Sr. (born December 25, 1924) is a Chinese Filipino businessman with interests in retailing, real estate, hospitality, banking, mining, education including healthcare services. He pioneered the establishment of SM Malls, anchored by Shoemart Department Store and Supermarket earning him the title; the Philippines' Retail King. He is the chairman of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., the holding corporation for all his business interests in his vast business empire. In 2011, Forbes Magazine listed him as the no. 1 billionaire in the Philippines.
Have you ever wondered why there is no Mercury Drug in SM Malls here in Philippines? Well… here’s the story...
In his youth Mr. Sy was a very ambitious man. He wanted to get rich ever since. He tried many businesses to get enough income but failed. After trying so hard to make both ends meet; he finally have earned enough money to start a small business.
Something crossed to his mind. He will build a small shoe store. He thought how could he get some customers.
An idea popped out.
He noticed that Mercury Drug, which is a big drug store and has been in the business for so many years, has many loyal customers coming to them. He approached the owner and asked if he can rent and place his small shoe store there even with a very small portion. He was not allowed and got embarrassed even though he asked politely.
Mr. Sy then promised to himself that Mercury Drug will never step in his life when he gets rich. So in 1958, Mr. Sy established his shoe store in Quiapo, Manila, which became SM Quiapo, the first SM Mall, in November 1972.
Now, Mr. Sy is the richest man in the Philippines because of his own will and determination, gaining $5 billion in 2010, amid the global financial crisis. He is also the owner of Chinabank and operator of BDO. Aside from his numerous malls, supermalls and supermarkets in the Philippines, he also owns 6 SM Malls in Mainland China, and 1 SM Mall in Guam.
Now he never lets a single Mercury Drug do business in any of his SM malls. Instead he franchised Watson's from Hong Kong which became the substitute for Mercury Drug.