Who is the richest woman in Hong Kong?
Some people say it is the wife of Lucy Liu Gambi, and some say it is Li Ka-shing’s confidante Zhou Kaixuan.
But in fact, the perennial richest woman in Hong Kong, is hidden behind the Sun Hung Kai Properties (hereinafter referred to as Sun Hung Kai) ninety-year-old Mrs. Kwong Siu Hing.
How rich is Kwong Siu Hing in the end? Some media have statistics, Sun Hung Kai land reserves in Hong Kong, up to 8,000 acres. If calculated at 50 million yuan per mu, the value of these sites is up to 400 billion yuan.
In Hong Kong and the mainland, Sun Hung Kai has a total of more than 20 commercial centers and office buildings. Among them, the rental income of IFC in Hong Kong, alone, amounts to about RMB 9 billion a year, which is currently the most profitable office building in the world.
With these properties, Sun Hung Kai can collect about RMB 20 billion in rent a year.
According to the 2021 Hong Kong Rich List published by Forbes, 92-year-old Kwong Siu Hing, with a wealth value of $13.4 billion (about RMB 86 billion), once again holds the throne as the richest woman in Hong Kong.
Currently, Sun Hung Kai is the largest real estate company in Hong Kong. As of May 28, its market capitalization was HK$351.2 billion (about RMB 288.2 billion).
As the largest shareholder of Sun Hung Kai, Kwong Siu Hing has the highest decision-making power, and is known as the “needle in the sea”. For decades, no matter how stormy the outside world is, Sun Hung Kai has grown under the support of Phyllis Quek, and is on par with Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Holdings.
Through the shadow of time, what is the story between Phyllis Quek and Sun Hung Kai?
Hidden behind the scenes
In 1929, Phyllis Kwong was born in Huacheng Village, Huashan Town, Guangzhou. At that time, his family was well-off, not only had a large amount of land, but also had a dyeing workshop. So much so that as soon as he was born, he received a gift of real estate from his father.
However, the good times did not last long. When she was seven years old, her father was killed in Vietnam while doing business there, and in 1940, the Japanese invaded Huaxian County and the situation was so turbulent that her family of five took refuge in Guangzhou City. As the eldest daughter, Quang Xiaoqing ran around for a living and helped her mother with household chores since she was a child.
It was the hardships of her early life that enabled her to master the essentials of being the “head of the family”.
In 1949, at the age of 20, she was married to 37-year-old Kwok Tak-sing. Kwok ran a grocery store in Hong Kong called “Hong Cheong Hop Kee”. At that time, I’m afraid she didn’t expect this to be the start of a $300 billion empire.
Within three years of her marriage, she gave birth to her eldest son, Kwok Ping Sheung, her second son, Kwok Ping Kong, and her third son, Kwok Ping Luen.
At the same time, Kwok’s career took off, and in 1952, Kwok specialised in the wholesale of foreign goods, trying to develop the Southeast Asian market and gaining a reputation as the king of “foreign groceries”.
What made Guo Desheng’s career free of worries was the ability of Kuang Xiaoqing, who kept the family in order. When her second son, Guo Bingjiang, grew up weak and sickly, he went to Japan for treatment, where she stayed for nine months in a country where she did not speak the language.
As his three sons grew up rapidly, Kwok’s business flourished, and in the late 1950s, he became a multi-millionaire in Hong Kong by virtue of his distributorship of nylon products.
In 1958, after establishing “Wing Yip Enterprises” with Fung King Hei and Lee Shau Kee, Kwok entered the real estate industry. The business model of Wing Yip Enterprises was to buy old buildings, renovate them and then sell them again.
At that time, the “Three Musketeers” changed the traditional way of doing business in the real estate industry and introduced the model of “selling in layers and paying in installments for ten years”, which led to a booming business and sold out all the buildings they built.
From 1965 to 1972, Sun Hung Kai’s sales were approximately HK$567 million, averaging HK$70 million per year. By this time, Wing Yip Enterprises had already established a firm foothold in the real estate industry, and was reorganized as “Sun Hung Kai Enterprises Limited”, with 40% of the shares owned by Kwok Tak-sing as the group’s chairman.
In 1972, Sun Hung Kai shares were officially listed, and the “Three Musketeers”, who had worked together for more than ten years, broke up at this time, and Sun Hung Kai became the exclusive brand of Kwok. For a long time, Sun Hung Kai was like a building manufacturing factory, constantly processing “raw materials” into buildings and bringing them to market.
While Kwok Tak-sing was busy with his business, Kwong Siu-hing taught his sons to become successful. Kwok Ping Sheung and Kwok Ping Kong both graduated from the University of London, and Kwok Ping Luen graduated with a double master’s degree from Cambridge University and Harvard University. After graduating, all three brothers returned to work for the family business, Sun Hung Kai.
This situation continued until the end of 1988, when Kwok Tak-sing’s health deteriorated and he resigned as general manager of Sun Hung Kai, retaining only the position of chairman of the board. The eldest son, Kwok Ping Sheung, formally took over as General Manager, while the second and third sons, Kwok Ping Kong and Kwok Ping Luen, respectively, became Deputy General Managers and the youngest daughter, Kwok Yuen Yee, became Deputy Manager of the Finance Department.
In 1990, Kwok Tak-sing died suddenly after a short illness, leaving behind a large property group with a market value of HK$25.4 billion.
In the early days of their succession, the second generation did live up to their mission, and during the time they joined forces to run the business, Sun Hung Kai’s total assets doubled 12-fold to over HK$300 billion on top of Kwok’s.
However, just a few years later, a kidnapping case created cracks in the walls.
The Past of Hong Kong
After Kwok Tak-sing’s passing, under Kwong Siu-hing’s strategizing, Sun Hung Kai successfully completed the transition of the old and the new, and there was no battle between the old and the new when the gentry inherited the estate.
Had it not been for the kidnapping case, Kwong might have stolen a half-day of leisure and remained behind the scenes; the three Kwok brothers might still be the most successful example of their sons taking over their father’s business.
On September 29, 1997, the bandit Cheung Tze Keung kidnapped Kwok Ping Sheung, who was driving home alone, in the Tai Ping Shan Tunnel. Zhang demanded a ransom of HK$2 billion from the Kwok family.
However, when it was proposed that the money be taken out of the family fund to save the lives of the people, Kwok and Kwok thought that the ransom was so high that it should not be taken out of the family fund. As the head of the family, Kwong Siu Hing did not make a decision for a while.
The Kuo family’s attitude angered Zhang Ziqiang, who could not get the money and began to torture Guo Bingxiang to vent his anger. According to public reports, “Zhang Ziqiang sometimes beat and kicked Guo Bingxiang, and sometimes stuffed him into a wooden box with only one ventilation hole, and did not even allow him to urinate or defecate”.
In the end, it was Guo Bingxiang’s wife, Li Tianying, who was eager to save her husband and went to negotiate with Zhang Ziqiang alone. After the ransom was pressed to HK$600 million, Kwok was finally rescued.
The kidnapping case left Walter Kwok physically and mentally damaged. Not only was he tortured, but he was also chilled by the family’s “failure to save him”. He became suspicious and became more and more estranged from his family, and became inseparable from a woman named Tang Jinxin.
Kwok also began to cultivate his own power in Sun Hung Kai, gradually weakening the power of his two brothers. The one who was frequently involved in Sun Hung Kai’s affairs and took on the role of “mistress” was not his wife, Li Tianying, but an outsider named Tang Jinxin.
This not only caused strong resentment among his younger brothers, but also angered his mother, Kwong Siu Hing.
In order to make Guo Bingxiang return to the right path, she set up 11 family rules, such as forbidding Guo Bingxiang and Li Tianying to divorce, forbidding Tang Jinxin and her family to interfere in the company’s affairs, etc. The family rules also stated that Guo Bingxiang was not allowed to divorce Li Tianying. The paper also says: “Mom is not here, the above is as valid.”
In 2007, he decided to put Tang Jinxin on the board of directors, perhaps because of the kidnapping. This undoubtedly upset the balance of power in the Kwok family, and it completely annoyed Kwong.
In February 2008, Kwok and Kwok issued a statement saying that Kwok was mentally ill and no longer fit for the company, and that Kwok had a diagnosis of manic depression.
Angered, Kwok took his two brothers to court and brought in a doctor to prove that he was not sick at all.
In 2010, disappointed with his older son, Kwong decided to divide the family fortune between his two younger sons, Kwok Ping Luen and Kwok Ping Kong, while his older son, Kwok Ping Sheung, was completely out of the picture.
(Right: Kwong Siu Hing)
The isolated Kwok Ping Sheung did not sit still and backhandedly reported his two younger brothers for alleged corruption and bribery. Two years later, the second brother, Kwok Ping Luen, was sentenced to five years in prison.
This feud caused Sun Hung Kai’s share price to plummet. In order to fight this lawsuit, Sun Hung Kai spent nearly 1 billion Hong Kong dollars, a record high in Hong Kong lawyer fees.
In the midst of Sun Hung Kai’s stormy times, Kwong Siu Hing, who was hospitalized due to illness, realized that endless internal conflict would do no good, and in 2012, under the auspices of Kwong Siu Hing, the family fund was reorganized and the family assets were redistributed, with one share for each of the three brothers. The three brothers were given a share of the family’s assets, while Phyllis Kwong, herself, still held an absolute stake and the right to make decisions in Sun Hung Kai.
After getting his share of the family’s assets, Kwok Ping Sheung quit Sun Hung Kai, clearing the line with the Kwok family and setting up his own “Empire Group”, focusing on the mainland real estate industry. At this point, the battle for property really came to an end.
In 2018, 68-year-old Walter Kwok was ranked 10th on Forbes’ list of Hong Kong’s richest people, with a fortune of $8.7 billion. However, in August of that year, Walter Kwok collapsed at home due to a heart attack. After 55 days in a coma in the hospital, Kwok passed away.
As he died intestate, Kwok’s estate of nearly HK$60 billion was split in two: one to his wife, Lee Tin Ying, and the other to his mother, Kwong Siu Hing.
With the inheritance left by her eldest son, Kwok Ping Sheung, and the assets owned by Sun Hung Kai, Phyllis Kwong has since become the perennial richest woman in Hong Kong.
In 2019, she was ranked fifth on Forbes’ list of the top 50 richest women, with a wealth of $15 billion, and seventh on the same list in 2020, with a wealth of $13.7 billion.
In fact, after the family’s split and jail sentence, despite Sun Hung Kai’s great strength, in addition to Phyllis Quek’s own assets, the Kwok family’s children and grandchildren, such as Kwok Ping Luen, also have a place on the list of the richest. From this level, the Kwok family is still a veritable gigantic family in Hong Kong.
Three generations take over
When the second generation of the Kwok family’s infighting and power struggles ended, power slowly moved to the third generation of family members, and Kwong Siu Hing once again retired to the background.
In September 2018, after Kwok Bing Sheung was admitted to hospital, his eldest son Kwok Kei Chun began to serve as a director of Imperial Group and Imperial Development. After graduating from university, Kwok Kei-chun joined Sun Hung Kai from the grassroots level and was once considered to be Sun Hung Kai’s successor.
However, with the death of Anthony Kwok, who had set up his own business and passed away unexpectedly, Kwok took over the Empire Group. The 7.29% of Sun Hung Kai shares held by Anthony Kwok was also transferred to Kwok Kei Chun.
On the other hand, at Sun Hung Kai, in response to the chaotic situation, Kwok Kei Fai was officially pushed to the forefront as the third generation executive director. Born in 1983, Kwok Kei Fai, son of Kwok Ping Kong, not only entered Harvard University, but also obtained an MBA, making him a veritable returnee high achiever.
After working at Morgan Stanley for 3 years, Kee Fai Kwok joined Sun Hung Kai in 2008. After taking up the post, Kuo Kee Fai did not disappoint his father’s generation, as he was responsible for the projects Guangzhou Hongcheng and Hunters Thousand Seals, both of which were quite successful. Currently, Kwok is in charge of Sun Hung Kai’s residential development business, including the conversion of agricultural land and “building development, design and construction management”.
The third generation of Kwok family members on Sun Hung Kai’s board of directors, in addition to Kwok Kei Fai, include Kwok Kei Hong and Roy Kwok, sons of Kwok Ping Luen.
Kwok joined Sun Hung Kai in 2011 and is currently in charge of the group’s leasing business. Roy Kwok has been rotating through Sun Hung Kai’s planning and leasing departments since 2010. He is currently the Sales and Project Manager for Sun Hung Kai, responsible for the feasibility study, marketing and planning of Sun Hung Kai’s new residential projects.
History is surprisingly similar, Sun Hung Kai once again “Guo’s three brothers”.
Looking back at Sun Hung Kai’s infighting past, it is because of the failure to timely adjust the three Kwok brothers in charge of the business, resulting in the three can not be in different areas of their respective strengths, Sun Hung Kai ultimately due to conflicting interests into the inheritance of confusion in the quagmire.
Now, three generations of the “three Kwok brothers” how to continue Sun Hung Kai’s century-old foundation?
In an interview with the media, Sun Hung Kai’s public relations department has given this answer: “three brothers” will play in different jobs, through teamwork to lead the “Sun Hung Kai” sustainable development.
“The family wants to solve the problem in a peaceful way.” Kwok Ping Luen also replied to the media in this way.
The veteran support has become a powerful tool for the three generations to take up the big responsibility. Since 2012, two veterans who have worked for Sun Hung Kai for more than 30 years – executive directors Wong Chik Wing and Lui Ting – have served as deputy managing directors of the company, while retaining the Kwok family’s control over the overall situation.
(Wong Chik Wing)
In addition, Sun Hung Kai also has an internal executive committee, which includes members of the Kwok family and senior officials. The new “three brothers” are also members of the committee, other members are “Sun Hung Kai” executive directors such as Wong Chik Wing, Thunder, Tung Chi Ho, Fung Yuk Lun, Kwong Chun, the core of the people basically gathered here.
With the support of veterans, although Sun Hung Kai took the usual Hong Kong real estate developers “low suction high dump delayed development” mode of operation was once allegedly hoarded by outsiders, its development projects such as the Shanghai Binjiang Arcades was once caught in the “land hoarding” whirlpool, but it is undeniable that But it is undeniable that Sun Hung Kai, which has been succeeded by three generations, has been moving forward in both the Mainland and Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, Sun Hung Kai has a large portfolio of investment properties, the vast majority of which are leased or invested, holding more than 30 million square feet of property, with an overall occupancy rate of about 95% high and annual rent collection of more than $10 billion.
On the Mainland, Sun Hung Kai holds over 16.3 million square feet of completed investment properties. Total rental income rose 15% year-on-year to $2.486 billion in the second half of 2020.
(Shanghai, Lujiazui Financial Circle, Sun Hung Kai Properties )
In 2020, Sun Hung Kai’s total rental income in Hong Kong fell despite the New Crown epidemic, but overall, Sun Hung Kai’s revenue still grew steadily and its market capitalization remained stable at over HK$300 billion.
However, in the last year or so, there have been changes in Sun Hung Kai’s management structure. 2020 In January, Sun Hung Kai announced that Kwok Ping-kong would become a senior director of Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, from January 2020, focusing on long-term land planning and project development strategies, and would not be involved in the Group’s day-to-day operations.
In September, Sun Hung Kai announced that Lee Shau Kee and Leung Beech King would not seek re-election at the annual general meeting and would retire as non-executive directors and independent non-executive directors of Sun Hung Kai.
On April 9 this year, the board of directors of Sun Hung Kai announced that Kwong Chun had resigned as an executive director of the company due to his advanced age so that he could devote more time to his family, and on May 7, Kwong Chun passed away at the age of 91.
In fact, no matter how Sun Hung Kai’s management structure is adjusted, it is always the will of the Kwok family that stands in the C-suite. With Kwong in his 90s, the proposition of “whether the three generations of the Kwoks can continue to be harmonious for a long time” will have to be verified by time.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/hong-kongs-richest-womans-past-in-hong-kong/
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