A dozen tycoons from the Philippines, led by Henry Sy Sr. who founded the storied SM group, are among the wealthiest people on the planet, based on the 2018 Forbes World’s Billionaires list.
Sy, who is turning 94 this year, has an estimated net worth of $20 billion, surging from $12.7 billion last year. His family leads three of the most valuable companies in the Philippines: SM Investments, SM Prime Holdings and BDO Unibank. SM Investments and SM Prime have breached the P1-trillion market capitalization mark, the first Philippine Stock Exchange-listed companies to do so.
Globally, Sy is ranked 52th richest, slightly ahead of young business magnate Elon Musk, founder of Space X and Tesla, who is valued at $19.9 billion.
JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr. is the second wealthiest person from the Philippines with an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion, ranking 305th globally. Regional industrial powerhouse Universal Robina Corp., budget carrier Cebu Pacific and property developer Robinsons Land Corp. are among his group’s crown jewels.
Enrique Razon Jr. – who has established a global footprint through International Container Terminal Services Inc. and is now building an integrated gaming empire through Bloomberry Resorts Corp. – was valued by Forbes at $4.9 billion, earning him the 404th slot in the global ranking.
Tobacco magnate Lucio Tan ranked 441st on the global list with a net worth of $4.7 billion, followed by Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong who is valued at $4 billion and who ranked 550th globally.
George Ty – founder of the Metrobank group and who also built a market-leading automotive business in the Philippines in partnership with Toyota Corp. of Japan – is also on the elite roster with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion. He ranked 572nd globally.
The “brown” taipan Manny Villar, who focused on growing his real estate empire after losing the 2010 presidential elections, is now valued at $3 billion. He ranked 791st globally.
Property tycoon Andrew Tan, founder of the Megaworld group, ranked 887th globally with an estimated fortune of $2.7 billion. He also leads conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc. and integrated gaming resort operator Travellers International Hotel Group.
San Miguel Corp. (SMC) president and controlling stockholder Ramon S. Ang, who also chairs newly-listed Eagle Cement Corp., has an estimated value of $2.5 billion and ranked 965th globally.
Insurance and car dealership mogul Robert Coyiuto Jr., who also has a stake in electricity superhighway National Grid and Oriental Petroleum & Minerals, has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion and ranked 1,650th globally.
Even after selling a big chunk of SMC to Ang in 2012, mapping out the succession in this conglomerate, SMC chair Eduardo Cojuangco is still among the world’s richest with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.
Even after being “struck by lightning” during this term of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, businessman Roberto Ongpin – who has sold out of gaming technology firm Philweb Corp. – still keeps a formidable fortune estimated at $1.1 billion. He chairs privately-held upscale property developer Alphaland Corp.
There were fewer Philippine representatives in this year’s list compared to last year, when 14 made it to the roster. The late construction magnate David Consunji, founder of DMCI group, was stricken off the list along with young tycoon Edgar Sia II, co-founder of DoubleDragon Properties Corp. A minimum fortune of $1-billion is needed to qualify to this roster.
Amazon founder tops global list
A record 2,208 billionaires made it to Forbes’ 32 annual ranking of the world’s billionaires. Altogether they are worth a record $9.1 trillion, up 18 percent from a year ago, based on the March 6 article posted by the magazine.
Jeff Bezos was the richest person on the planet with his $112-billion fortune. As shares of his e-commerce giant Amazon surged by 59 percent in the last 12 months, his fortune grew by $39.2 billion, the biggest gain seen a single year since Forbes started tracking billionaires in 1987.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the second richest in the world with an estimated value of $90 billion, ceding the top spot for only the sixth time since 1995.
Legendary investor Warren Buffet of Berhshire Hathaway is the third richest with a fortune worth $84 billion while Bernard Arnault, CEO of the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate LVMH ranked fourth with a fortune of $72 billion and is the highest-ranking French person on this list.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s fifth richest, with an estimated net worth of $71 billion.
Two tech entrepreneurs from mainland China climbed into the top 20 for the first time. Ma Huateng (also known as Pony Ma) is Asia’s wealthiest person, ranking number 17 in the world, attributed to the success of Tencent’s WeChat, a social-messaging app with nearly a billion active users. Tencent also has stakes in Tesla, Snapchat parent Snap and music-streaming service Spotify.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the 20th richest person, has an estimated worth of $39 billion.
Altogether the U.S. has more billionaires than any country in the world with 585, while greater China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) has 476.
While the vast majority of the world’s billionaires added to their fortunes in the past 12 months, 16 percent had fortunes that slipped. Forbes said one notable loser was President Donald Trump, whose fortune fell by $400 million since March 2017 to a current $3.1 billion, now ranking 766 in the world, down from 544.
The Forbes World’s Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from February 9, 2018. Forbes lists individuals rather than multigenerational families who share large fortunes, though it includes wealth belonging to a billionaire’s spouse and children if that person is the founder of the fortune.