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August 11, 1926 |
Gulangyu, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China
John L. Gokongwei, Jr. (traditional Chinese: 吳奕輝; simplified Chinese: 吴奕辉; pinyin: Wú Yìhuī; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Gô͘ E̍k-hui; 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 live stock farming. As of 2012, Gokongwei is the third richest entrepreneur in the Philippines with a networth of $4.2 billion, ranking behind only to Henry Sy and Lucio Tan.
He is the chairman of JG Summit Holdings, one of largest conglomerates in the Philippines. In 2005, his company spent $700 million of internally generated funds which was used to buy new aircraft for his airline, Cebu Pacific Air. 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%. UIC controls Singapore Land, one of the biggest property landlord in Singapore. Gokongwei also owns Universal Robina Corporation, one of the largest manufacturer of snacks in the Philippines. He also controls Robinsons Land one of the biggest property developers in the Philippines which also operates a chain of malls.
He was born into a wealthy Cebu-based family, originally from China's Fujian province. The family fortune was lost when his affluent father died. He started his business career during World War II, buying and selling rice, clothing and scrap metal. He is married, and has six children. His only son, Lance Gokongwei, is now in charge of the Gokongwei Empire, serving as president and COO while his father serves as Chairman Emeritus.
On August 29, 2007, at the Ateneo de Manila University, Gokongwei’s biography, “John L. Gokongwei Jr.: The Path of Entrepreneurship” by the University’s Dr. Marites A. Khanser, was launched, and it narrated the “riches-to-rags-to-riches” story of the tai-pan. Gokongwei stated that entrepreneurship is a way out of poverty. Khanser's book also enumerated the Nine Rules of business success that Gokongwei followed since he was still a young businessman. In 2002 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.
On February, 2008, Forbes Asia magazine’s first Heroes of Philanthropy list included 4 Filipinos – Jaime Zobel de Ayala, John Gokongwei, Ramón del Rosario Jr., and Óscar López.The list is composed of 4 philanthropists each from 13 selected countries and territories in Asia.
- "The Philippine' 40 Riches". Forbes.com. July 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- Gokongwei's Nine Rules of Business Success
- Inquirer.net, A way out of poverty, according to ‘Mr. John’
- www.abs-cbnnews.com, 4 Filipinos in New Forbes Heroes List
- "SGV boys stir up KPMG kerfuffle". Manila Standard Today. January 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-04.[dead link]