Poor HK Billionaires
Most of the billionaires in HK lost more than half of their wealth last year. Half is no joke, think of the charitable causes it could have gone to, well maybe not all of the losses, even if it was just 10% it would have made a load of difference and done a tonne of good. The financial tsunami has swept away half the value of stocks and Hong Kong's 40 richest people saw their wealth fall to US$82 billion (HK$639.6 billion) from US$179 billion last year.
"Superman" Li Ka-shing of Cheung Kong still occupies the top spot, although his fortune dived from US$32 billion to US$16.2 billion, as of January 23. The number of Hong Kong billionaires (in USD) fell from more than 40 to 19 in the past year. The net worth of Hong Kong's wealthiest people is down an average 50 percent. No one had a higher net worth than in 2008.
The Kwok family - brothers Walter, Raymond and Thomas and their mother Kwong Siu-hing - of Sun Hung Kai Properties remained at No2 on the list, with a net worth of US$10.8 billion. However, their wealth was eroded by 55 percent.
Investment guru Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land Development, saw his wealth fall to US$9 billion from US$23 billion, after the stock market setback, although he remains Hong Kong's third-richest person. Investment guru also lose so much, sigh...
New World Development (0017) chairman Cheng Yu-tung lost 59.6 percent of his fortune and now has US$3.8 billion. "Superboy" Richard Li Tzar-kai, who on Wednesday won shareholder approval to privatize PCCW, jumped to 16th from 24th, with a net worth of US$1.1 billion.
Casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun suffered the biggest drop, losing 89 percent of his wealth. It dropped from US$9 billion to US$1 billion. This was largely because of an ill-timed public offering of his Macau gaming company SJM Holdings.
However, there were some new blood in the rich list. The chairman of fast food chain Cafe de Coral, Michael Chan Yue- kwong, made his debut on the list, taking 35th place with US$560 million. Another newcomer is Kenneth Lo Lok-fung, the founder of Crystal Group, which makes garments for such retailers as Uniqlo, H&M and Wal-Mart. Lo comes in at No38 with US$500 million.
When there are new blood, it also meant that some people have been dropped from the rich list. The family of Henry Fok Ying-tung, Payson Cha and his family and Thomas Lau Luen-hung were among those who failed to make the list.