Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 136 Thomas Kwok $11.0B

Random fact: Built a Noah's Ark replica and insisted it follow specs from the Bible.

Overview

Kwok is a former chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong's largest real estate developer. He was sentenced to five years in jail in 2014 for conspiring to corrupt a Hong Kong government official. Kwok owns about 18 percent of the company, which had revenue of HK$86 billion ($10.9 billion) in the year to June 30, 2018.

As of :
Last change -$610M ( -5.3%)
YTD change +$11.7M ( +0.1%)
Industry Real Estate
Biggest asset 16 HK Equity
Citizenship Hong Kong
Age 68
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Thomas Kwok's net worth of $11.0B can buy ...

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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of U.S. existing home sales
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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
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Confidence rating:

The majority of Kwok's net worth is derived from Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong's largest property developer. The publicly traded business was founded by his father, Kwok Tak-seng, who died in 1990. 

Kwok Tak-Seng's heirs control 26% of the developer through trusts created by his widow, Kwong Siu-hing. Her net worth isn't calculated because she's already divided her share of the wealth equally among her three sons according to a January 2014 email statement from the company. 

Thomas Kwok is credited with 17% of the company, including one-third of his mother's share and about 7% held with his son through HSBC Trustee (Guernsey), according to a December 2018 filing with the Hong Kong exchange. Another 4.8% is held in a trust for his son, Adam, and nephews, Edward and Christopher. A portion of that stake is included in the net worth calculation. 

The billionaire has collected more than $1.3 billion in dividends based on an analysis of company filings and Bloomberg data as of December 2018. The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of these proceeds as well as insider transactions, taxes, charitable contributions and market performance.

Chris Liu, a spokesman for Sun Hung Kai, declined to comment on the billionaire’s net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 10/6/1951
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: London Business School, West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, Open University of Hong Kong

Father Kwok Tak-seng, a grocery wholesaler from Guangdong, China, immigrated to Hong Kong after World War II. He joined Fung King Hey and Lee Shau Kee to create Sun Hung Kai Properties in 1963. The company sold shares in an initial public offering in Hong Kong in August 1972, and eventually became one of the world's largest real estate developers by market value.

Sun Hung Kai built and runs the 118-floor International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong’s tallest building at 1,588 feet. The group founded SmarTone, the first GSM mobile phone operator in Hong Kong, in 1993. The carrier listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange three years later.

Kwok's three sons -- Walter, Thomas and Raymond -- took over the company, after he died from a heart attack in 1990. Walter ran the company until 2008, when a high-profile intra-family squabble gripped the family, leading to the ouster of Walter as chairman by his two younger brothers. Walter said that Thomas and Raymond tried to remove him because he was suffering from mental illness, which he denied. He later sued his siblings for libel.

Thomas and Raymond won the boardroom battle and became co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai after their mother, Kwong Siu-hing, took charge briefly. Walter applied to the High Court in 2008 to prevent the board from removing him from his post, alleging that his brothers opposed his questioning of the way the company awarded construction contracts, and other corporate governance issues. Walter and the family settled their dispute amicably in January 2014.

Thomas and Raymond were arrested in March 2012 by Hong Kong's anti-graft agency, and were charged with bribery and misconduct in public office with Rafael Hui, Hong Kong's then No. 2 government official four months after. Thomas was convicted of conspiring with the official to commit misconduct involving HK$8.5 million worth of illegal payments. He was sentenced to five years in jail and a fine, while Raymond was cleared of all charges.

Thomas pled not guilty and his second appeal of the conviction was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in February 2016. According to South China Morning Post, the same legal team would help Kwok fight the final appeal.

Thomas resigned as chairman and managing director after the verdicts were delivered. The company later named Adam Kwok, Thomas's son, and Edward Kwok, Raymond's son, as alternate directors.

Milestones
  • 1951 Thomas Kwok is born in Hong Kong.
  • 1963 Father Kwok Tak-seng co-founds Sun Hung Kai.
  • 1972 Sun Hung Kai sells shares in a Hong Kong initial public offering.
  • 1990 Founder Kwok passes away; the next generation takes over.
  • 1992 Kwok family founds mobile phone operator SmarTone.
  • 2005 Opens Four Seasons Hotel, biggest six-star hotel in Hong Kong.
  • 2008 Family matriarch Kwong Siu-hing heads Sun Hung Kai.
  • 2011 Thomas, Raymond take over as Sun Hung Kai co-chairmen.
  • 2012 Thomas and Raymond are charged with bribery by anti-graft agency.
  • 2014 Given five-year jail term for conspiring to corrupt Hong Kong official.