Henry Sy(Chinese: ??? ; pinyin: Shi Zhi cheng; born October 25, 1924 in Xiamen,china ), he is a Chinese Filipino businessman and the founder of SM Group and chairman of SM Prime Holdings, the largest retailer and shopping mall operator in the Philippines. He is married to Felicidad Tan Sy, They have 6 children namely Elizabeth T. Sy, Harley T. Sy, Herbert T. Sy , Hans T. Sy , Henry T. Sy, Jr. , Teresita Sy-Coson. He came to the Philippines at the young age of 12, and worked in his father’s small sari-sari store more than 12 hours everyday to help him.
It was located on Echague St. , which is now Carlos Palanca Sr. St. in Quiapo, Manila. There, he devised ways to increase his income by developing small portions of products – much like the sachets we see today in the supermarkets. He was able to make multiple sales in order to make extra income, spending so much time in the store that he had no time to go out and play with friends in the neighborhood. It did not take a long time for him to realize, however, that he can only do so much in a sari-sari store environment. WWII came and the sari-sari store was looted and burned.
He did a lot of buying and selling of odd things during the war to enable the family to survive. At one time, he was hit by shrapnel while selling, and quite fortunately was brought to the hospital by his good friend in a kariton. Without that friend, he could have bled to death. He treasured that friendship and later expressed his gratitude after the war by making that friend his partner in a shoe store. The partnership lasted for more than 40 years until the shoe store had to give away to the building renovations of the lessor. After the war ended in 1945, he ventured into selling American shoes imported by enterprising.
He later saw the opportunities of opening a shoe store, and not long after he was managing three shoe store in partnership with friends. Then he was able to save his money, so he pursuing studies at FEU in the early 50s, he sought more ways to augment his income. For a time, he was selling a lot of shoes, accessories, and leather goods, hoping to change the way shoe manufacturers look at the industry. Sensing a lot of opportunities, he decided to open SHOE MART – “SM” – the first air-conditioned shoe store that merchandised shoes in a very inviting and classy format.
With the success of that store, he went on to open more shoe stores, but he could not get enough suppliers. He was continuously learning from his customers, suppliers, and employees. This on-the-job research gave him enough confidence to expand to a department store chain. When they opened their first department store in 1972, two months after Martial Law was declared. The business had a slow start, but progressed steadily. As the many years past by. When they started the construction of their first mall in 1983, the Philippines was in the midst of a debt moratorium and experienced hyper inflation.
The economy decline was further aggravated by the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Later, they expanded, slowly building malls. The expansion was not without difficulties. When constructing Sta. Mesa and Megamall, they were faced with delays in construction due to cement shortages and the 1989 coups. they have also expanded othier retail business beyond department stores to include supermarkets, hardware stores, appliance superstores, and other retail formats. So they continue to expand their business until they reach this business venture.