On November 23 in the year 1943, the man considered as the juice king of the Philippines was born in Manila. His name is Alfredo Yao, the founder of Zest-O Corporation and Philippine Business Bank. As of November, 2020, his net worth is $210 million ranking 35th in the Forbes list of richest Filipinos.
Alfredo Yao was the eldest of six children of an ethnic Chinese couple who peddled household goods in the streets of Manila right after the Second World War. His father died when he was only 12 years old. He enrolled at the Mapua Institute of Technology but quit on his sophomore year. At age 17, he was able to get a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines and set up a printing business focusing on printed cellophane wrappers for candies and other products. After 20 years, he travelled to Europe to attend an industrial exhibit. There, he was introduced to Doypack packaging machine. He brought it to the Philippines but cannot find buyers so he thought of using it himself. Thus, he set up Zest-O Corporation to produce juice drinks in doypack pouch. That was in 1979.
Focused on selling the juice to school children as the part of their daily meal, the fruit juice company became the leader in its category. This enabled Mr. Yao to expand into other businesses such as softdrinks (Asiawide Refreshments Corp. – producer of RC Cola), real estate (SMI Development Corp. and Arthaland Corp.), Banking (Philippine Business Bank), and resort development (Boracay’s Sol Marina Bay). He also got involved in airlines when he established Asian Spirit which was later renamed Zest Airways.
In 2013, Alfredo Yao listed his juice and beverage company at the Philippine Stock Exchange. The transaction was made through a backdoor listing with the purchased of Maybank ATR Kim Eng Financial Corporation (MAKE) which was later renamed Macay Holdings.
Alfredo Yao is married with three children. In 2005, he was conferred the Master Entrepreneur Award by Ernst and Young. He was also elected as president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.