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IN People ON 01 Feb, 2015
Failure is a dish that's served on every man's plate, but success is a delicacy that only a few people get to taste. How true is that! But as much true as it is, so is the fact that success only presents itself to those who dare to try, and who're smart enough to take the challenges when required.
We often hear of people who have seen great heights and relished immeasurable. Their story inspires us from within. The story of this man inspires you, never to give up. And tells you that rewards are in plenty, but only for those who fight to earn it.
This is the life-cum-success story of billionaire business magnate, Stanley Ho, the man who built the world's biggest gambling town.
Stanley Ho was born into China's popular and powerful Hotung family in 1921. However, his father went bankrupt during his childhood days, and two of his brothers committed suicide.
Ho received a scholarship to attend the University of Hong Kong but didn't finish his degree.He dropped out when his family was forced to flee Hong Kong for Macau. This was during the Second World War, when the Japanese invaded.
He made partner at an import-export firm in Macau by the age of 22. His fortune first came from running luxury goods into China during the war, and he later started a kerosene company.
His casino empire started when he, along with some other investors, won a gambling monopoly in 1982. From there, he ventured into other branches of business in Macau, including department stores, hotels, banks, real estate and a high-speed ferry service. The island wasn't open to foreign gaming firms until 2001.
Today Ho's company runs 18 casinos in Macau. Ho's firm Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macao (STDM) owns and operates his casino business Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM Holdings). His 19th casino, the Lisboa Palace, is set to open in 2017.
At one time, Ho controlled over half of Macau's economy. STDM is the city's biggest commercial employer. Ho also controls the city's airport, ferries and helicopter service.
The billionaire sits on the boards of numerous companies and organizations. These include Macau International Airport, Seng Heng Bank, Macau Horse Racing Co., Real Estate Developers Association in Hong Kong and University of Hong Kong Foundation for Educational Development and Research.
During his down time he watches his award-winning racehorse, Viva Pataca. He also once spent $8.84 million on a Qing dynasty bronze sculpture of a horse's head, which he later donated to the Chinese government.
He loves to buy expensive Fungi. He's spent over $500,000 on white truffles at charity auctions. He won two years in a row, bidding $330,000 in 2007 and $200,000 in 2008.
Ho has 17 children from four different wives. And although they are recognized as Ho's wives, it is unclear if the women are actually legally married to him. One of his 17 children died in 2004 and two of his children are in the casino business.
Three of them have become rich and famous - Ho's daughter Pansy Ho is the co-chair of MGM China. Pansy Ho is Hong Kong's richest woman, with a net worth of $5 billion. She owns 50% of MGM Macau.
His son Lawrence Ho is the CEO of another Macau casino company, Melco Crown Entertainment. Lawrence runs three casinos in Macau with his partner, Australian casino businessman James Packer.
Another daughter, Josie Ho, is a Hong Kong pop star. Josie has released several albums and won an acting award at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2004.
His nephew Alan Ho was recently arrested in a prostitution ring bust. Police also arrested 96 prostitutes that night who operated in Alan Ho's hotel. Alan Ho is the executive director of Hotel Lisboa.
Ho withdrew from the business after he fell ill. Ho underwent brain surgery in 2009. He currently has almost no stake in SJM Holdings, but his casinos continue to be a large and influential part of Macau.
Ho is rumored to have ties to the Chinese mafia. But he has denied any links to the organized crime groups known as Chinese triads. "'These reports only say that I know some triad members. Well, maybe you have come across some. To be associated with or to know someone is completely different [from being one]," Ho said in response to the allegations.
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