The Richest Men in Hong Kong

Although a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong is one of the leading international financial centers of the world. It has a major capitalist service economy characterized by low taxation and free trade – conditions which have catapulted many a Hong Kong businessman into the club of the super rich. Based upon Forbes 2012 List of World Billionaires1, here are some of the richest men in Hong Kong.

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Sir Ka-shing Li

The richest Hong Kong individual is Sir Ka-shing Li who has $25.5 billion worth of assets and ranks as the ninth richest billionaire in the world. According to Forbes, this also makes him Asia's richest person for the first time since 2004, despite a $500 million drop in net worth. Currently serving as the Chairman of Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd, Ka-Shing Li actually has vast diversified interests. Li's businesses employ 270,000 people around the world in 53 countries – in fact the extent of his influence can be gauged from the estimate that one out of every 7 residences in Hong Kong has been built by a company belonging to him. Also his Hutchison Port Holdings handles about 13% of the world's container traffic while his recently acquired Northumbrian Water supplies clean drinking water to 4.5 million people in England and sewerage services to another 2.7 million. That Li is always looking for expansion is underlined by the fact that he also has personal investments in tech start-ups like Facebook and Spotify. The extent of such achievement seems incredible considering that Li is actually a school dropout who quit school at age 12 to help support his family. A decade later he started his own business making toys, plastic flowers and the rest, as is said, was history.

The 82 year old empire builder is widowed and has two children. He lives in Hong Kong and is one of Asia's most generous individuals. Li’s charity foundation has donated more than $1.6 billion to date, mostly to educational organizations and medical research – all initiatives for which he was knighted in 2000.

Raymond Kwok

Along with his family, Raymond Kwok has a net worth of $18.3 billion, making him the second richest man in Hong Kong and 27th wealthiest billionaire in the world. The source of the Kwok fortune is real estate as Raymond and his brother Thomas Kwok are the joint chairmen of Hong Kong's biggest real estate developer, SHKP. Even though the two have been pitted against older brother Walter, the family feud does not seem to have impacted their business since the value of SHKP shares have soared since the brother took over as chairmen on signs of credit easing by China. The family also owns interests in SmarTone-Vodafone and city bus operator KMB.

Both brothers are residents of Hong Kong and are believed to be deeply religious. In May 2009, they opened a replica of Noah's Ark in Hong Kong as a tourist attraction.

Lee Shau Kee

With net worth of $18 billion, Lee Shau Kee is not only the third richest man in Hong Kong but also figures at the 29th position on Forbes 2012 List of World Billionaires. Lee Shau Kee is head of Henderson Land Development, one of Hong Kong's largest real estate developers. In fact the property baron upped his stake in his Henderson Land Development last year, by 7 percentage points taking advantage of a falling market. Though Kee made his fortune in real estate, currently Kee has been diversifying his interests. He has expanded his energy business through a subsidiary, Hong Kong & China Gas. Apart from this, his Miramar Group has made inroads into China's hot luxury retail market with DKNY Jeans venture. He is also a director of Hong Kong Ferry and the Bank of East Asia.

Chen Yung Tung

With a net worth of $16 billion, Chen Yung Tung is ranked at 39th position among the 2012 billionaires of the world. According to Forbes, this despite a $7 billion jolt last year, primarily due to the IPO of Tung’s clan's jewelry business, Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group. However the loss doesn’t seemed to have stopped Cheng and family of Hong Kong bought five luxury hotels, including Manhattan's Carlyle.

Married with four children, the 86-year-old self-made billionaire announced In February this year that he was retiring and that his son Henry would be taking over the family's real estate conglomerate, New World Development.

Michael Kadoorie

Along with his family Michael Kadoorie is one of the richest men in Hong Kong, thanks to a net worth of $6.6 billion. Michael Kadoorie is chairman of CLP Holdings, the largest supplier of electricity in Hong Kong, which lately has been looking for growth opportunities beyond the former British colony. The Kadoories also have stakes in international hotel chain, Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels, which however lost a third of its value in the past year due to uncertainties in the global economy. Nevertheless the clan has significant assets in the form of Kadoorie Estates – a prime residential property jewel in Kowloon which was acquired by the family in 1931 when it was a barren rock site.

Joseph Lau

Another real estate baron to figure among the richest men of Hong Kong is Joseph Lau who has a net worth of $6.5 billion. Lau heads Chinese Estates which is one of the biggest landowners of Hong Kong. Other than this, he also owns a home in London's Tony Eaton Square. However Lau seems to be working on handing over some of his responsibilities to the next generation as was evident when he made his son Ming-wai, the vice chairman at the end of 2010.

Lau is well-known as much for his impressive wine and art collections as for his business success. He is said to have at least 10,000 bottles of red wine. He once spent $16.7 million for 2 incense burners and another time paid $39 million for Paul Gauguin's "Te Poipoi" ("The Morning"). The 60 year old billionaire is divorced and lives in Hong Kong when he is not flying across the world to add on to his business or art collections.

Lui Che Woo

With a net worth of $5.7 billion, Lui Che Woo owes his fortunes to a vast gaming empire based in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal. Woo is the owner of casino outfit Galaxy  which now has the second-largest market share among the enclave's six casino operators. The only major casino to open in the former Portuguese colony last year was Woo’s new $2 billion resort on the Cotai Strip. Other business interest owned by Woo include the Hong Kong-listed property firm K. Wah International and San Francisco-based Stanford Hotels. Woo’s eldest son Francis Lui, 55, manages the gambling business as Galaxy's vice-chairman while his four other children also work in the family's business empire.


  1. Forbes - The World's Billionaires - Hong Kong