Li Ka-shing is no longer Hong Kong’s wealthiest man. Who is the new No 1?
The business magnate, who has claimed the top spot on the Forbes Hong Kong Rich List for 12 years, has been surpassed by a property tycoon.
According to the 2020 Forbes Hong Kong Rich List, the prolonged protests and US-China trade tensions over the past year resulted in mixed fortunes for the city’s tycoons. While 24 listees added to their wealth, 22 saw their net worth decline.
Notably, Li Ka-shing, who held the No 1 spot as Hong Kong’s richest man since the list’s inception 12 years ago, has been by surpassed by property tycoon Lee Shau Kee. With a net worth of US$30.4 billion (S$42.1 billion), Lee edged out Li by just US$1 billion, or 3 per cent. Li is now at No 2 with a net worth of US$29.4 billion.
Lee, who is 92, is the founder of Henderson Land, a property conglomerate with interests in property, hotels, restaurants and internet services. He started the company in 1976 and built it into one of Hong Kong’s largest real estate groups.
Although Lee stepped down as chairman and managing director of the company last year, handing over the reins to his two sons, shares in the company make up the bulk of Lee’s wealth. Lee is also a dedicated philanthropist. According to Forbes, he has donated more than US$400 million toward education over the years.
Claiming the No 3 spot is the family of the late Cheng Yu-tung, represented by son Henry Cheng. The family’s collective wealth is worth US$20.7 billion, with valuable assets in Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group and property firm New World Development.
Joseph Lau of Chinese Estates Holdings remains at No 4 with a net worth of US$16.9 billion. Wrapping up the top 5 spot is Lui Che Woo, founder of Galaxy Entertainment Group, with a net worth of US$15.4 billion.
The Top 10 richest in Hong Kong are:
1) Lee Shau Kee; US$30.4 billion
2) Li Ka-shing; US$29.4 billion
3) Henry Cheng & Family; US$20.7 billion
4) Joseph Lau; US$16.9 billion
5) Lui Che Woo; US$15.4 billion
6) Lee Man Tat; US$15.2 billion
7) Kwong Siu-hing; US$13.7 billion
8) Peter Woo; US$11.6 billion
9) Joseph Tsai; US$11.5 billion
10) Yeung Kin-man & Lam Wai Ying; US$8 billion
BIGGEST GAINERS & NEW ENTRANTS
This year’s biggest gainers included husband and wife duo Yeung Kin-man and Lam Wai Ying of glass maker Biel Crystal. After shedding more than half their fortune in 2019, the couple’s wealth rose 70 per cent to US$8 billion. The pair have edged up nine spots to No 10. Biel Crystal, which supplies to smartphone makers such as Apple, Huawei and Samsung, benefited from an uptick in demand for its 3D glass casings for 5G devices.
Among others who added to their wealth was Wong Man Li (No 39), whose net worth climbed 65 per cent as shares in his furniture company Man Wah soared on strong mainland sales and a production shift to Vietnam. The net worth of Horst Julius Pudwill of Techtronic Industries leapt by 45 per cent on rising sales of his company’s power tools.
This year’s new entrant is Zhuo Jun of Shenzhen Kinwong Electronics. She made her debut at No 46 with US$1.6 billion after shares in her company, which makes printed circuit boards, jumped on news of the firm’s capacity expansion in anticipation of the global 5G rollout.
REAL ESTATE LOSSES
Of the 22 tycoons whose net worth took a hit, 14 were real estate tycoons, including Fong Yun Wah (No 40) of Hip Shing Hong and Thomas Lau (No 49) of Lifestyle International, known for its Sogo malls. As commercial property cooled and hotel occupancies fell, their wealth declined 30 per cent to US$1.95 billion and 24 per cent to US$1.4 billion respectively.
The Forbes Hong Kong Rich List was compiled using information from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, private databases, government agencies and other sources. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on January 24.
Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar companies that are publicly traded. The estimates include a spouse’s wealth and, where the person is the company founder, also include the wealth of sons and daughters that is derived from that company.