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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wan Tsai Tsai, one of the richest people in Taiwan, once served as a legislator for the country. However, serving in government was not to be his final calling. In 1961, Wan established the Fubon Group, which would later on become the country’s largest conglomerates. The company would branch out into construction, telecommunications, and media.

Today, the Fubon group is run as a family business. Fubon Financial, the holding company, is managed by his sons and is reported to have a market capitalization of $12.7 billion. The brothers Richard and Daniel, both educated in the United States, greatly contributed to the success of the company as they managed to build their client base to more than 6 million clients.

They are also behind the company’s success in purchasing shares of company based in mainland China. The company became the first Taiwanese company to own stake in a Chinese bank when it purchased an 80% share of the First Sino Bank of China.

Poverty is not a hindrance to success but a mere hurdle and one man has proven this. Born into poverty, Henry Sy, a Filipino-Chinese, was able to cross the big divide between poverty and wealth to become the richest person in the Philippines.

Now almost 90 years old, it would be hard to tell that Sy once belonged to the poorest of the poor. Sy was bon in Xiamen, China in 1923. Being from a poor family, he decided to find his fortunes in another land and migrated to the Philippines where he started a small business selling rejected shoes.

His shoe store would become a major success and a few decades later a mall was built at the same location called Shoemart. He would now become one of the major forces in the retail industry. Starting with one mall in central Manila, he would build several malls in the neighboring cities and later all throughout the country.

However, Sy would not just stick to the retail industry. Today, together with his family, Sy has investments in banking, education, hospitality, healthcare, and real estate. His well known companies are SM Prime Holdings, SM Investments Corporation, Banco De Oro, CBC, Belle Corporation, and Highlands Prime Incorporated.

He also once owned a stake in one of Southeast Asia’s largest food and beverage conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation. However, he sold these in 2007 for a reported $680 million.

Forbes estimates his total net worth to be around $13 billion, though many believe that it could be much more.

Being a successful entrepreneur and a well-known philanthropist have earned him several prestigious awards including, Forbes Magazine’s Heroes of Philanthropy in 2009; Management Man of the Year by the Makati Business Club in 1999; First Filipino Chinese recipient of the PRA President’s Award in 2005, and many more.

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is one of the largest private conglomerates in India and Anil Ambani sits as the chairman of the business. Business India awarded him the “Businessman of the Year Award” in 1997. With a net worth of $6.2 billion, he sits as the 233rd richest man in the world.

Born Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, he is the brother of Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries. His family is considered as the richest family in India and one of the richest in the world. Their wealth came from Dhirubhai Ambani, the largest Indian conglomerate. The business has interests in power, telecommunications, petrochemicals, textiles and petroleum. He made his own fortune by joining his father’s business as Co-Chief Executive Officer in 1983. He is given credit for numerous financial innovations in the Indian capital markets.

Together with his brother Mukesh, they steered the Reliance Group to the #1 spot in India’s economy. He currently sits as the 11th richest man in India, while his brother ranks #1. With his help in their family business he was branded by people as a financial wizard.

Born on September 1, 1923 in North Bay, Ontario, Kenneth  Thomson is the son of the late Roy Thomson, the founder of the Thomson Corporation. He is a Canadian businessman and art collector who at the time of his death in 2006 was considered as the richest man in Canada.

Referred to as Kenneth Thomson, 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet, he was valued at $17.9 billion during his death on June 12, 2006 making him the 9th richest man in the world as listed by Forbes. Though he succeeded his father, he never used his noble title in Canada and never took up his noble seat in the House of Lords. He had not just inherited the noble title, but also the business empire that his father created. This media empire was made up of television holdings and extensive newspaper. Some of the names they hold include The Times and Sunday Times in Britain, The Jerusalem Post in Israel and Globe and Mail in Toronto.

In one of the interviews he graced, he was quoted for saying he referred to as Lord Thomson in London and just Ken in Toronto. By being Lord Thomson, he is honoring the promise he made to his father. Under his leadership, he disposed the businesses he inherited and continued to become one of the world’s most powerful information services and academic publishing companies. The Thomson Corporation is now considered as a financial data services giant after he made the move of letting go of all the publication and TV holdings they have.

Off business, Kenneth Thomson served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and earned his degree in Economics and Law at ST. John’s College of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. After World War II, he joined the family business and made his fortune. He has three children: David, Peter and Lynne from his wife Nora Marilyn Lavis whom he married in 1956.

Not only is Ted Waitt an American billionaire, he is also a true blooded philanthropist and co-founder of Gateway, Inc and the Waitt Foundation. According to Business Week, Waitt is one of the 50 Most Generous philanthropists in the country.

His business which he co-founded with Mike Hammond started in 1985 as Gateway 2000. They got the $10,000 capital from his grandmother which she loaned. This billion dollar business started in the cattle ranch of his father in Sioux City, Iowa. They later on moved their venture to South Dakota where they develop their “down-home” branding, complete with computer boxes patterned with cow spots. The business is now a leading name in developing, manufacturing and marketing a wide range of personal computers, accessories, servers and computer monitors.

With Waitt’s entrepreneurial skills, he was able to garner citations and awards like one of the 40 Wealthiest Self-Made Americans under 40. After he sold his business to Acer, Inc. he created another venture and named it Avalon Capital Group, Inc. He is also the brains behind the Waitt Institute and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention.

Perhaps one of the most influential and powerful Hongkonger in the politics of China is Henry Fok. Since March of 1993, he sat as the vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Before the turnover of Hong Kong back to China in 1997, he played vital roles in politics and the entire economy. He was Standing Committee member of the 7th National People’s Congress, a member of the Drafting Committee for the Basic Law of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), vice-chairman of the Preparatory Committee of Hong Kong SAR and the vice-chairman of the Preliminary Working Committee of Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong SAR. He is also best known for helping out Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive and President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, out of bankruptcy which created his strong ties with the public figure.

When he died on October 28, 2006 he already amassed billions from his businesses. His life though was not one that’s devoid of challenges and showered with wealth. It was rather a story of rags to riches that is now seen as a reflection of how China dramatically changes its global position.  His family never had much and his schooling at Queen’s College was even interrupted because of the Japanese invasion in 1941.

His business interests lie in real estate, casinos, petroleum and restaurants. Rumors had it that he made his fortune by circumventing United Nations arms embargo in the 1950s. This he denied but admitted violating sanctions by smuggling steel and rubber and other items. He sat as chairman in his companies Yau Wing Co of Hong Kong and the Henry Fok Estates Ltd. He also served as the President of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong.

Henry Fok died of cancer at the age of 83. His family traces their roots in Nansha District, Guangzhou, Guangdong.

Garrett Camp is one that can be called a serial entrepreneur. The San Francisco-based business leader is known for founding Expa, a start-up focused on the development of new consumer products, systems, and services. He also established other companies including Uber, StumbleUpon, and BlackJet.

Within the last decade, Camp has been creating new products. In 2002, while still in graduate school, he co-founded StumbleUpon, a web discovery platform that he was able to grew to over 25 million registered users. in 2009, he founded Uber, the first ever on-demand car service that can be accessed through a mobile application. The company now has operations in 35 cities in the US and internationally. In April 2013, Camp established Expa, integrating his ten years’ worth of experience into one system that will allow him to build new companies and businesses.

Expa creates new systems, products, and services, and then organizes teams that will be later on made into independent entities.

Todd R. Wagner is known for co-founding Broadcast.com with Mark Cuban. Born on August 2, 1960, he now also co-owns 2929 Entertainment together with other entertainment entities. Aside from entrepreneurship, he also practices philanthropy through the Todd Wagner Foundation.

Wagner attended Merrillville High School and then went to Indiana University where he joined the Kappa Sigma Fraternity Beta Theta Chapter. He then went to University of Virginia to acquire a law degree. Later on, he moved to Dallas, Texas where he got his CPA license. He began his legal career with national firms Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and Hopkins & Sutter.

In 1995, he teamed up with fellow Indiana University alumni Mark Cuban. They launched AudioNet which broadcast live sporting events and radio stations over the Internet. At first, they operated using only a Packard Bell 486 PC and a single ISDN line. Wagner served as CEO and under his leadership, the company grew and eventually, the services expanded to include corporate events and other business services. In 1998, the two founders changed their company’s name to Broadcast.com and decided to take the company public during the dot-com boom. In 1999, Broadcast.com was sold to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion. Wagner continued to lead the Yahoo! Broadcast division until May 2000. He declined an offer to become Yahoo!’s COO to allow him to focus on other business interests.

Using the success of Broadcast.com, Wagner established the Wagner/Cuban Companies that include 2929 Productions. The company has helped produce award-winning films such as Good Night, and Good Luck, and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Wagner has his own charitable organization called the Todd Wagner Foundation. In 2001, the foundation’s first children’s program, the Dallas chapter of the After-School All-Stars, was launched. He also developed a Minority Technology Fund that aims to provide funding and resources to technology-focused minority-owned businesses based in Dallas.

Neil Patel is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and analytics expert based in Seattle. He is popularly known for his contribution and work in the industry of digital marketing and as the cofounder of analytics companies Crazy Egg and KISSmatrics.

Born on April 24, 1985, Patel’s first try at entrepreneurship was in high school, when he launched his first online venture, Advice Monkey, a job board. When he was starting with the business, he hired several marketing companies to handle the needed tactics and strategies. After they failed to obtain any traction for the company, Neil decided to learn driving traffic to his website himself. This paved the way for his promising career in search engine marketing. By 2009, he was able to implement his search engine optimization and marketing tactics on about 30 of the top 100 Technorati blogs. He was then named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top influencers on the World Wide Web.