Philippine Real Estate Developers on Forbes’ 2020 World’s Billionaires List

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Despite the economic challenges faced by the world due to the COVID-19 crisis, this year, Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List includes 12 real estate developers from the Philippines.  Let’s take a look at the names who made it to the list: 

Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr., Vista Land & Lifescapes

Former senate president and 2010 presidential candidate Manny Villar is the chairman of the Villar Group of Companies. Starting out as an accountant for SGV & Co., Villar resigned to start his first business delivering seafood in Makati. He then became a financial analyst for the Private Development Corporation of the Philippines where he sold World Bank loans. Villar decided he wanted to have a business of his own, so he resigned from his job and bought one of the loans that offered attractive rates. He started a business that supplies and delivers sand and gravel for construction companies in Las Piñas.

With a net worth of US$ 5.6 billion, Villar has developed over 200,000 housing units under Vista Land, the development arm of his conglomerate Villar Group of Companies. Vista Land is present in over 132 cities and municipalities and 46 provinces in the Philippines. 

Enrique Razon Jr., Bloomberry Resort Corporation

Belonging to the third generation of a family affiliated with the marine cargo handling industry, Enrique Razon Jr. is well known as the chairman of the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), a port business started by the Razon family in 1916. ICTSI has subsidiaries and spans its operations in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Americas. 

Other than helming and globalizing his family’s port business, Razon is also the chairman of Bloomberry Resorts Corporation (BRC), a holding company involved in amusement, tourist facilities, gaming and entertainment, and hotel businesses. BRC is the developer of the upscale Solaire Resort and Casino, a sprawling hotel and resort complex in the Bay City area of Parañaque, and the Jeju Sun Hotel and Casino in Jeju Island, South Korea. As of May 2020, Razon’s net worth is US$ 3.4 billion.

Hans Sy, SM Prime Holdings

The fourth child of the late Henry Sy, founder of SM Investments, Hans Sy bests his siblings on the Forbes 2020 list of billionaires. He remains the director of SM Prime, one of the country’s top property developers, after stepping down as president in 2016.

His net worth is currently at US$ 2.3 billion, and he also serves as an adviser for SM Investments, and as chairman of both National University and the China Banking Corporation.

Herbert Sy, SM Prime Holdings

Yet another member of the Sy family, Herbert Sy currently serves as one of SM Investments’ advisors and a director of SM Prime Holdings. He is a son of the late Henry Sy and is the second youngest of the six Sy siblings. 

With a net worth currently amounting to US$ 2.3 billion, Herbert Sy, along with his three brothers and two sisters, is also actively involved in SM Group’s supermarket operations and its investment sector.

Harley Sy, SM Investments Corporation

Harley Sy, the fourth son and the youngest of the Sy siblings, is currently the executive director of SM Investments, which has interests in retail, banking, equity, and property. Harley Sy currently serves as an adviser of BDO Private Bank and a director of the China Banking Corporation. His current net worth is at US$ 1.9 billion.

Henry Sy Jr., SM Prime Holdings

The eldest son of the late Henry Sy, Henry Sy Jr. is currently the co-vice chairman of SM Investments, the investment arm of SM Group.

With a net worth of US$ 2.1 billion, Henry Sy Jr. is also the chairman of SM Prime Holdings, which owns the SM Development Corporation (SMDC). Some of SMDC’s most notable developments include Berkeley Residences, Cheer Residences, Light Residences, S Residences, and the mixed-use development Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas. 

Andrew Tan, Megaworld Corporation

Originally from Fujian province, China, Andrew Tan is the chairman and CEO of the Alliance Global Group Inc (AGI)., a holding company involved in real estate, liquor, and fast food. Tan is also the founder and chairman of Megaworld Corporation, the real estate development arm of AGI. 

Some of the most notable developments under Megaworld are Eastwood City, Uptown Bonifacio, McKinley Hill, and Forbes Town Center. Andrew Tan’s current net worth is US$ 1.8 billion.

Teresita Sy-Coson, SM Investments Corporation

Henry Sy’s eldest daughter Teresita Sy-Coson co-chairs SM Investments along with her brother Henry Sy Jr. With a net worth of over US$ 2 billion, Teresita Sy-Coson has years of experience in her family’s business, particularly in retail merchandising, banking, and mall development. She is also the chairperson of BDO Unibank.

Roberto Ongpin, Alphaland

Born in January 1937, Roberto V. Ongpin is the current chairman and CEO of Alphaland, a property developer known for their upscale and posh developments such as the luxury villas in Balesin Island and an international airport in Patnanungan Island, Quezon province. 

Ongpin is the great-grandson of Roman T. Ongpin, a Filipino-Chinese businessman and philanthropist who supported Filipino revolutionaries during the Spanish and American colonial periods. Before becoming the chairman of Alphaland, Ongpin served as the Minister of Trade and Industry during the Marcos administration. His net worth currently stands at US$ 1.8 billion.

Lucio Tan Sr., ETON Properties Philippines

Born in Xiamen in Fujian, China, Lucio Tan and his parents moved to Cebu City when he was just a child. Before having a net worth of US$ 1.7 billion, Lucio used to go to school barefoot and also worked by tying cargo with ropes made with abaca. According to Forbes, Lucio Tan worked as a janitor in a tobacco company where he mopped floors to pay for his schooling.

Lucio Tan is currently the chairman and CEO of Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier of the Philippines, and the Chairman of the Board of the LT Groups, Inc. Lucio Tan also chairs ETON Properties Philippines, the real estate development arm of LT Groups, Inc.

Tony Tan Caktiong, DoubleDragon Properties

Perhaps famous for being the founder and chairman of the Jollibee Foods Corporation, Tony Tan Caktiong is also the co-chair of DoubleDragon Properties, a real estate development company founded in 2009.

Tan Caktiong invested in Injap Land Corporation in 2012 and with his business partner, the company was renamed to DoubleDragon Properties Corporation. CityMall is a chain of shopping malls under this development corporation. Tan Caktiong’s net worth is currently at US$ 1.9 billion.

Elizabeth Sy, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation

Since 2012, Elizabeth Sy has served as an adviser of SM Investments. Along with her older sister and four brothers, Elizabeth Sy is actively involved in SM Group’s tourism, leisure, and hospitality operations. 

Elizabeth Sy’s journey in their family business started in the 1970s where she served as an assistant at her late father’s first business, the Manila Royal Hotel. She is currently the chairperson and president of SM Hotels and Conventions. Her net worth is US$ 1.8 billion.

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