The quote, “Work until your idols become your rivals”, has inspired a lot of people to work hard. For a certain promdi entrepreneur, however, that saying is falling short.
Mang Inasal Founder Edgar Sia II did not stop even when he was already equal with his idol. Instead, he surpassed all expectations and made his number one rival, Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC) Founder and Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong, his mentor and partner – and he is not even stopping there.
Injap (Sia’s nickname denoting “Intsik” and “Japanese”) was an Architecture student at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo when he decided to drop out of college to put up a laundry business and a photo-developing center, according to a feature written by Babe G. Romualdez for the Philippine Star.
At 26, he borrowed P2.4 million from his father to establish Mang Inasal, a chicken barbecue restaurant located at the parking of Robinson’s Mall in Iloilo City. He knew that his fast food will be successful because there was no other business like it existed then. True enough, Mang Inasal became a household name in Visayas and Mindanao, and later in Manila.
Mang Inasal was boasting of 338 branches when Tan Caktiong bought 70 percent stake for P3 billion in 2010. In 2016, JFC acquired the remaining 30 percent for P2 billion.
As he was turning over his restaurant business, Sia began setting his sights to the real estate industry. In 2009, he established the Injap Land Corporation, which, three years later, would become DoubleDragon Properties Corporation (DD) because of his partnership with his once rival, Tan Caktiong.
The two giants, both born in the Year of the Dragon, aim to develop a total of one million square meters of leasable space by the year 2020, as stated in the DD website. DD’s subsidiary “CityMall”, a partnership with SM Investments Corporation, is eyeing to become the largest independently branded community mall chain in the country.
In the first quarter of 2018, the first 28 community malls of DoubleDragon were about 95 percent leased out. The company is expected to have 22 more malls completed by the end of this year, which boosts its shopping mall portfolio to 50.
Currently, DD is one of the top 5 listed companies on the Philippine Stock Exchange in terms of market capitalization
Aside from the successes of the companies he developed, Sia is also gaining accolades for himself. The Forbes named him as the Philippine’s youngest dollar billionaire. Meanwhile, the PeopleAsia magazine awarded him as one of the People of the Year in 2017.
How does he do all of these? He says through overthinking. “Sitting in one corner and think and think. Thinking is relaxing for me. I do it all the time for many, many years. When you over think, you see both the problems and the solutions,” Sia told Bum Tenorio, Jr. of the Philippine Star. “Business is a total package of imagination, execution, and the ability to repel distraction.”
Sia, however, does not take all the credit in his success. He believes that it is God’s blessing to him to, in turn, be a blessing to thousands of Filipinos and provide them with livelihood. “I cannot explain it but it’s so clear to me that there’s an intervention… I am just used as an instrument to that specific mission to create responsible businesses that uplift the lives of many.”
Amid all his success, the now 41-year-old business mogul is still described as simple, humble, approachable, and friendly by mostly all of the articles written about him.