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Li Ka-shing

Li Ka-shing still Hong Kong’s richest man, but which mainlander is snapping at his heels?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 January, 2016, 7:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 January, 2016, 1:58pm

Li Ka-shing retains the crown as Hong Kong’s richest man in Forbes, for the 18th straight year.

But the 87-year-old tycoon’s net worth edged down US$2.2 billion to US$31.3 billion this year from last year, shows Forbes’ latest Hong Kong rich list, narrowing the gap with Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin. Wang, the richest man in mainland China, has a net worth of US$28.3 billion.

READ MORE: Accept your fall from grace, Chinese state-run paper tells Li Ka-shing after he rebukes critics

Li last year restructured his property-to-port empire into CK Hutchison and Cheung Kong Property while his proposed merger of Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings were voted down by shareholders.

This year’s Top 10 are almost entirely occupied by the city’s real estate moguls, with the top three remaining unchanged from the previous year. Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau Kee ranks No 2 with a net worth of US$23.9 billion while New World Development and Chow Tai Fook Jewellery founder Cheng Yu-tung takes the third place with US$15 billion.

A notable entrant into the Top 10 list this year is Pan Sutong, who jumped to the sixth position from 11th last year as his net worth doubled to US$12.2 billion within a year. The Guangdong-born Hong Kong businessman’s Goldin Properties and Goldin Financial Holdings soared in the first half and at one point reached a total market capitalisation of over HK$300 billion. Both stocks subsequently plunged before ending the year on a high note.

The Securities and Futures Commission last year found Goldin Properties and Goldin Financial to have a high concentration of shareholder, with Pan and a small number of investors holding more than 95 per cent of the shares.

The 52-year old Pan is building China’s tallest building, Goldin Finance 117, which will be the landmark construction of his multibillion-dollar Goldin Metropolitan project in Tianjin.

Pan started out with a trading business handling Japanese brand Panasonic. His Goldin Group now also includes consumer electronics brand Matsunichi, which makes karaoke TV monitors and MP3 players, tablets and modems.

Tracking the broader market, gaming tycoons’ wealth have shrunk substantially. Galaxy Entertainment owner Lui Che Woo has dropped to No 7 from No 5 last year, with his net worth cut by 40 per cent to US$8 billion as casino stocks continue to slide.

The Hang Seng Index fell 8.9 per cent last year, pulling down the net worth of 15 tycoons in this year’s Hong Kong Top 50 list.

Pansy Ho,daughter of Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho and co-chair of MGM China, saw her fortune plunge 28 per cent and ranking drop to No 19 from No 12 last year.