John L. Gokongwei
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John L. Gokongwei, Jr. was born August 11, 1926 in Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China is a Chinese Filipino businessman with holdings in telecommunications, financial services, petrochemicals, power generation, aviation and livestock farming. As of 2012, Gokongwei is the third richest entrepreneur in the Philippines with a networth of $3.2 billion, ranking behind only to Henry Sy and Lucio Tan. His parents are Juanita Marquez Lim and John Gokongwei Sr. Gokongwei being the eldest child among six children he is the breadwinner of the family. Having lost his father at an early age and being the eldest child in the family, little John had to assume responsibility and be the man of the house. At a tender age of fifteen, he decided to become an entrepreneur where he bought and sold grocery items. He learned how to sell food and other goods in the streets of Cebu, competing with men and women who were at least twice his age.
This was during World War II. Their business prospered since people did not have anywhere to buy their goods. So, after the war, they started manufacturing starch that became the basic staple for their food and cosmetics companies. By the age of 13, Gokongwei bought his own bicycle so he can go to nearby towns and barrios to sell soap, thread, Candles and other things that people need. He would wake up early so he can start selling early on. By sunset, he would be on his way home to bring food and money back to his family. In 1956 gokongwei started contacting banks to get loans that could finance his foray into manufacturing sector when the top brass of chinabank, D.K. Chiong (Bank Pres.) and Dr. Albino Sycip(chairman of the board), saw him, they give him the loan dr sycip said that he knows a good man when he saw one.
The qualities that Gokongwei possesses made him a successful business tycoon. He is a type of person who is a risk-taker; he was never afraid to take the next steps for his empire to grow. He is an optimistic person, failures and mistakes were never a barrier for him, he always try to have a healthy attitude towards failure, it’s a part of being an entrepreneur which is clearly stated in his quote: “Success is not necessarily about Connection, Cutting Corners, or “Chamba” – the three C’s of Bad Business. Call it trite. but believe me, success can be achieved through Hardwork, Frugality, Integrity, Responsiveness to Change, and most of all, boldness to Dream.“ On 1954, He founded the URC (Universal Robina Corporation) and has been the Chairman Emeritus of URC effective January 1, 2002. He had been Chairman of the Board of Directors until his retirement and resignation from this position effective December 31, 2001. He continues to be a member of URC’s Board and is the Chairman Emeritus of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries.
He also continues to be a member of the Executive Committee of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. He is currently the Chairman of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, Inc., Deputy Chairman and Director of United Industrial Corporation Limited and Singapore Land Limited, and a director of Cebu Air, Inc., JG Summit Capital Markets Corporation and Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corporation. He is also a non-executive director of A. Soriano Corporation. Mr. Gokongwei received a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the De La Salle University and attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Gokongwei started his own company and the current chairman of JG Summit Holdings Inc in 1957. JG Summit Holdings, Inc is one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with business interests in air transportation, banking, food manufacturing, hotels, petrochemicals, power generation, publishing, real estate and property development, and telecommunications. Companies that JG Summit Holdings has major holdings in include Digital Telecommunications Philippines and Cebu Pacific. From 2003 up to the present his telecom company Digital Telecommunications Philippines spent nearly $800 million for its mobile carrier, Sun Cellular which is the 3rd largest mobile operator in the Philippines as of 2008.
He attempted a $1 billion takeover of UIC, a property giant from Singapore of which he owned in excess of 30%. In 1954 JG Summit Holdings spent $700 million of internally generated funds which was used to buy new aircraft for his airline, Cebu Pacific Air. JG Summit’s place in Philippine business has for its cornerstone a business portfolio of market leaders, a solid financial position, a formidable management team, and a vision of leading the country to global competitiveness and making life better for every Filipino. Soon, Gokongwei donated P200-million to the undergraduate school of management. He also gave donations to University of San Carlos, Xavier School, De La Salle University, Sacred Heart School and Immaculate Conception Academy. Gokongwei also donate his entire personal shareholdings in JG Summit Holdings equivalent to 25 percent of the listed conglomerate, or about P10.25 billion to charities.