Feb 4, 2010

HK tycoons' wealth soars

HONG KONG - HONG Kong's tycoons are worth a combined US$135 billion (S$191 billion), with many of the city's wealthiest people having boosted their fortunes with investments on the Chinese mainland, Forbes said on Thursday.

The city's top 40 richest people have added US$82 billion to their wealth over the past year, much of it due to a recovering stock market and the rapid rise in property prices in Hong Kong and China.

Li Ka-shing, the 81-year-old head of Cheung Kong Holdings, was once again the financial hub's richest person with a US$21.3 billion fortune, according to the annual list compiled by Forbes business magazine. Mr Li's son Richard made the list in 26th place with a US$1.3 billion net worth.

Henderson Land chief Lee Shau-kee, 82, grabbed second place with US$19 billion owing to his company's soaring share price, the magazine said. Following were property giants the Kwok family at US$17 billion, developer Cheng Yu-tung with US$7 billion, and real estate magnate Joseph Lau at US$6 billion dollars, the magazine said. Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, 88, took 17th spot with a US$2.1 billion fortune, Forbes said.

Twenty-four people on the list bumped their net worth by at least 50 per cent from a year ago and not one grew poorer, Forbes said. No women were listed although there was at least one heiress to a top 40 fortune.

Forbes said it compiled its list based on shareholding and financial information gleaned from stock exchanges, analysts and the tycoons themselves. The combined wealth of all 40 tycoons falls short of the record US$179 billion treasure chest the magazine recorded in 2008. -- AFP