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The Yap Family

The Yap Family

In 2016, the Yap family ranked 21st in Forbes magazines’ “Philippines’ 50 Richest,’ with an estimated net worth amounting to $1.1 billion.

The family’s businesses span across different industries that Emilio T. Yap began acquiring early on in his life.

Born in Fujian province in mainland China, he went to the Philippines and started working as a trader at a shop in Dumaguete City. During World War II, he moved from Cebu to Manila and became a master cutter in a T-shirt factory, which he eventually managed. By selling white T-shirts to Japanese soldiers, he earned enough capital to start his own business. He became a trader of threads, ballpoint pens, and watches.

After World War II, Yap ventured into buying and selling surplus vehicles like wartime US trucks and military jeeps. In 1947, he established U.S. Automotive Company—now a real estate lessor—and became one of the biggest buyers of surplus vehicles in the world.

In 1960, Emilio went into shipping and established the Philippine President Lines. In 1961, Swiss-Jewish tycoon Hans Menzi invited him to invest in Bulletin Publishing Corporation. He became its chairman in 1984.

In 1978, he acquired majority interest in Philippine Trust Company (Philtrust Bank) from the Archdiocese of Manila. In 1988, his family established Euro-Med Laboratories.

In 1997, Yap took over Manila Hotel, thanks to a controversial Supreme Court ruling that cited the constitutional provision on national patrimony as basis for ordering the government to award the sale of the hotel of the local taipan even after he had lost in the bidding against a Malaysian company.  Yap later offered to equal the higher bid of the Malaysian firm.

In 2002, the Yap family acquired shares from Centro Escolar University.

When Yap died in April 2014, his family took over his businesses.  

His son, Basilio, replaced him as chairman of the Board of Manila Bulletin. Basilio is also the chairman of U.S. Automotive Company, Manila Bulletin’s major stockholder, and its subsidiaries—Cocusphil Development Corporation, Philtrust Realty Corporation, U.N. Properties Development Corporation, and Centro Escolar University. Moreover, he is the chairman of US Auto co, Inc. and its subsidiary, Manila Prince Hotel Corporation.

Other members of the Yap family, meanwhile, are listed in these companies’ board members and major stockholders.

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