Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 431 Francis Choi $5.84B

Random fact: Dubbed "King of Toys" in Hong Kong.


Choi is founder and chairman of Early Light International, a closely held conglomerate with interests ranging from real estate to toy manufacturing and health care. The Hong Kong-based company owns commercial buildings and residential property in China. It also sells watches, repairs cars and runs kindergartens.

As of :
Last change -$3.86k ( 0%)
YTD change -$5.84M ( -0.1%)
Biggest asset Hong Kong Property
Country / Region Hong Kong
Age 78
Industry Real Estate
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Francis Choi's net worth of $5.84B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Choi's fortune is derived from real estate holdings in Hong Kong, mainland China and Australia that are part of closely held Early Light International. 

The company doesn't disclose details about its financial results or ownership. All values in the analysis are based on information provided in the summer of 2016 by people familiar with the company who asked not to be identified because the information was private, adjusted by real estate price indices to reflect current value.

Those assets include at least two commercial buildings, dozens of residential properties and a shopping mall in Hong Kong, as well as commercial and residential real estate in Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. The properties in Hong Kong are valued at $2.8 billion, while the buildings in China are valued at $2.3 billion.

Early Light also owns toy-making and retail operations. The companies aren't valued in the analysis because financial information about them isn't available. Choi owns a 10.4% stake in publicly traded medical service provider Town Hall International Medical Group, as well as 5.6% of hotel operator Regal Hotel, according to annual reports and Hong Kong Stock Exchange filings for both companies.


Family: Married, 3 children

Choi Chee-ming, or Francis Choi, was born in 1945 in China's southern province of Guangdong. After graduating from junior school in Hong Kong, Choi started working as a salesperson in a toy company in 1969. He founded Early Light with two machines and 12 workers in a small warehouse three years later. The company built its reputation and success after it won a contract to make Snoopy dolls.

Early Light started to receive regular contracts from American toy giants in the 1970s. To save manufacturing and labor costs, Choi moved his factory to Shenzhen, the Chinese city across the border from the then-British colony in 1984. The company established another plant in the city of Shaoguan in 2006 and started to move its production base from Shenzhen to Shaoguan, where it was able to save as much as 15% in labor and production costs. Early Light supplies toys for companies including Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

Choi entered the real estate business in 1988 and gradually shifted his focus to property investment because of declining profits from toy manufacturing. Since the 1997 financial crisis, Choi has snapped up dozens of properties including car parks, retail shops, office blocks and luxury residential apartments. The company has developed into a conglomerate spanning manufacturing, property, watch retail and healthcare.

Choi received a doctoral degree of business management from Harbin Institute of Technology in 2001. He lives in Hong Kong with his family.

  • 1945 Francis Choi is born in Guangdong, China.
  • 1969 Works as a salesperson at a toy company.
  • 1972 Founds toy maker Early Light in a Hong Kong warehouse.
  • 1984 Relocates manufacturing to Shenzhen, China.
  • 1994 Acquires a U.S. electronic toy car maker.
  • 1997 Founds E. Lite Property, the group's real estate unit.
  • 2006 Moves manufacturing to Shaoguan, China.
  • 2010 Acquires Halewinner Watches, a luxury watch retailer in Hong Kong.