When asked to rate his new daughter-in-law this week, Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee gave her full marks: '100 points!'
People might think he was just being diplomatic, but a source close to both the Lees and Cathy Chui Chi-kei's family says he might have meant it literally.
There have been the usual biases among the prying public about the zillion-dollar marriage last month. The cliched view is that the actress-model got lucky by marrying into one of the world's richest families, while the tycoon's younger son and heir apparent, Martin Lee Ka-shing, has got himself a trophy wife who, if rumours are true, is already pregnant. But the source said the elderly Lee greatly admires Chui's intellect - and her younger sister's, both of whom are accomplished scholars.
Cathy Chui graduated from University College London with a first-class honours degree in economics. This would make her a schoolmate of Chinese Estates Holdings tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung's girlfriend, Yvonne Lui Lai-kwan, who is pursuing a doctorate in chemistry at the prestigious university. As we have observed before, tycoons are very demanding on the women they associate with these days. Chui's younger sister, the source said, recently scored up to nine As in her Form Five public exams, making her one of a handful of the year's top young scholars. The Chuis' father is a senior engineer with CLP Power.
The source said the tycoon has a 'realistic' view of his two sons' abilities, so Chui is being groomed to be the brains behind the heir, with the possibility of her taking up senior positions in Henderson's group of companies down the road.
So, if you own shares in Henderson Land or Hong Kong and China Gas, keep an eye on the new wife.