Lui Che-Woo

Macau's casino boom propels Lui Che-woo to No 2 on Hong Kong's rich list

Galaxy boss overtakes Lee Shau-kee after more than doubling his wealth but trails Li Ka-shing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 January, 2014, 3:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 4:55am

Galaxy Entertainment chairman Lui Che-woo has ridden Macau's casino boom to become Hong Kong's second-richest person, according to Forbes magazine.

The 84-year-old tycoon saw his net worth rise US$11.5 billion last year, the magazine said in its Forbes Hong Kong Rich list released yesterday.

"His new net worth at US$21 billion, against US$9.5 billion previously, catapulted him from the fifth-richest man in Hong Kong last year to second on this year's list," it said.

Lui more than doubled his wealth for a second year but still trails Asia's richest person, Li Ka-shing, according to Forbes. Li retained the top spot on the list with a net worth of US$32 billion, up US$2 billion from a year ago.

Li, 85, has interests in ports, real estate, utilities and telecommunications through Cheung Kong, Hutchison Whampoa and Husky Energy, and received dividends of US$1.7 billion over the past two years.

Forbes attributed the increase in Lui's wealth to Macau's casino boom.

"Macau is presently the world's biggest gaming centre, and casinos there took in 18.6 per cent more cash in 2013 than the year before," it said.

Lui began his career in the car-parts industry in the early 1950s and founded his first company, which went on to become KWah Group, in 1955, with businesses ranging from construction materials to property.

He set up Galaxy in 2002 at the age of 73. The company opened a casino and resort complex on the Cotai strip in 2011 and is now one of the three biggest operators in Macau.

Shares of Galaxy closed down 2.5 per cent yesterday at HK$76.15, but they have soared 143 per cent from HK$31.30 on their first trading day on January 2 last year. Sister company KWah International, also chaired by Lui, dropped 1.7 per cent to HK$5.20.

Lee Shau-kee, the 85-year-old chairman of Henderson Land Development, Hong Kong and China Gas and Miramar Hotel and Investment, slipped to No3 on the list, with his wealth unchanged at US$20 billion.

The family of another Macau casino tycoon, Stanley Ho Hung-sun, saw their fortunes and rankings surge.

Ho's daughter and Hong Kong's richest woman, Pansy Ho Chiu-king, ranked No9 on the list with a net worth of US$6.8 billion, up from US$3.9 billion last year. She was previously ranked No11.

Her brother, Lawrence Ho Yau-lung, ranked No12, with a fortune of US$3.4 billion. He is the richest newcomer on this year's list, thanks to a surge in the share price of Melco International Development.

There are seven new faces on this year's list. Among them is Joseph Tsai, vice-chairman of the mainland's e-commerce giant Alibaba, who debuted at No14 with a net worth of US$3.2 billion after his firm's valuation soared.

Others include property tycoon Samuel Tak Lee, ranked 18th with wealth of US$2.9 billion. He heads Prudential Enterprise and owns properties in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and Geneva.