Hong Kong’s 40 wealthiest tycoons are all billionaires again, according to the latest Forbes Asia Hong Kong 40 Richest list. In 2010, only 34 boasted a ten-figure net worth. The last time all on the list were billionaires was in 2008.
Leading the rankings is Li Ka-shing, head of Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa. Now worth $24 billion compared with $21.3 billion last year, the 82-year old has held the top position since the inaugural list was published in 2008. Li is still the richest person in all of Greater China.
Slipping one notch to No. 3 is Lee Shau Kee with $19.5 billion. His main property firm, Henderson Land Development, lost value over the year but other investments helped him gain $500 million over the previous year.
The collective wealth of the 40 richest this year is US$163 billion, compared with $135 billion last year but still below the 2008 peak of $178 billion, just before the global financial crisis.
Explaining the rise in net worths, Russell Flannery, Senior Editor, Forbes, said: “There is no doubt that most of Hong Kong’s wealthiest are riding the China wave. Much has changed in China in the past few decades, but Hong Kong’s role as an important conduit between foreign businesses and mainland’s economy hasn’t, and that’s very apparent in this year’s Hong Kong list.”
There were four newcomers to the list this year. William E. Connor II at No. 22 is the highest ranking with $2 billion. The 61-year old American has been in Hong Kong for a quarter of a century and runs a sourcing logistics firm. Also making his debut is Choy Kam Lok at No. 27 with a fortune of $1.73 billion. His firm United Laboratories International Holdings is one of the biggest makers of generic antibiotics for the China Market.
Rounding off the new faces are Albert Yeung of Emperor Watch & Jewelry at No.31 with $1.3 billion, and husband and wife team, Simon and Eleanor Kwok of cosmetics chain Sa Sa International, at No.34 with $1.19 billion.
Exiting the list from last year’s batch are Jonathan Choi of diversified Sunwah Group, Gordon Wu who runs infrastructure outfit Hopewell, and Tan Hsiang Chien, founder of printed-circuit board maker Meadville. They missed the cut-off mark of $1 billion needed to make the list this year.