Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong empire amasses a wealth of $32bn, making him the richest man in Asia and the wealthiest man in Hong Kong for the 17th year in a row. The real estate tycoon is increasingly diversifying his portfolio and reach, investing heavily into transportation, technology and retail sectors around the world. In January, the billionaire bought Britain’s Eversholt Rail for $3.8bn and also announced plans to buy Telefonica’s O2 enterprise. Together with Three Mobile’s current market share, this purchase will rank his firm as the biggest mobile operator in the UK.
Lee Shau Kee
Another real estate mogul and Hong Kong resident, owner of Henderson Land, Lee Shau Kee, boasts a fortune of $26.5bn. Dr Lee, together with his two sons, runs an empire of hotels and energy groups, which include Miramar Hotel and the Hong Kong & China Gas Company. As well as multiple investments in various areas, philanthropist Lee has helped to implement a number of community initiatives in China and provides scholarships and building funds through the Lee Shau Kee Foundation.
Coming up close behind the number two spot is solar energy magnate Li Hejun with a wealth of $26bn. Hanergy Holding Group Ltd is the largest solar power group in China and has been heralded for its revolutionary technology. Despite its growing success, the company has recently come under scrutiny for unconventional dealings between its subsidiary companies, namely by moving profits around in order to bolster the profits of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd.
Wang Jianlin and family
Fourth in China’s rich list are Wang Jianlin and his family, owners of Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd. In spite of recent losses as a result of devaluating commercial real estate in China, Wang’s $25bn wealth has allowed him to expand into new areas, such as the entertainment industry. In January, he purchased 20 percent of Spanish football club Atlético Madrid for €45mil, while in 2013 the group bought US-based AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc for $2.6bn. Currently, Dalian Wang is a majority stakeholder in Wanda Cinema Line Corp, the largest theatre chain in China and plans to invest into the film industry and theme parks.
Jack Ma and family
Despite ranking ahead of Li Hejun and Wang Jianlin last year, Jack Ma and family are down to the fifth spot with a fortune of $24bn. Founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Ma is currently contending with poor quarterly results and a drop in the company’s stock price by more than 13 percent in the past week. A dispute with a Chinese regulator has contributed to the group’s recent disappointing performance. Ma started Alibaba with a small group of friends in his one bedroom apartment in 1999; the directory website now boasts 600 million users and has opened up the global market for small businesses across China.