Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#382 Francis Choi $4.77B

Random fact: Raises peacocks and garden fish at his home.


Choi is founder and chairman of Early Light International, a closely-held conglomerate whose interests range from real estate to toy manufacturing to healthcare. The Hong Kong-based company owns more than 1.5 million square feet of residential and commercial property in Hong Kong and China. It also retails watches and runs kindergartens.

As of July 23, 2017:
Last change -$1.15M (-0.0%)
YTD change -$48.0M (-1.0%)
Industry Real Estate
Biggest asset Hong Kong Property
Citizenship Hong Kong
Age 71
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Francis Choi's net worth of $4.77B 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 Early Light's real estate holdings in Hong Kong and mainland China. He owns more than four commercial buildings, dozens of residential properties and a shopping mall in Hong Kong, as well as commercial properties in Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Zhongshan.

His properties in Hong Kong are valued at $2.9 billion while his buildings in China are valued at $1.7 billion, according to people familiar with the company who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Closely held Early Light doesn't disclose financial information about its toy making and retail operations and they're not valued separately.

Choi also owns a nine percent stake in medical service provider Town Hall International Medical Group, as well as a 5.4 percent in hotel operator Regal Hotel, according to their annual reports.

The billionaire declined to comment on his net worth.


Birthdate: 1945
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: Newport University, MBA Sussex College of Technology, Business Administration, Bachelor's Degree Harbin Institute of Technology, PhD

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 twelve 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 factory 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 percent in labor and production costs. With 20 million square feet of manufacturing space, the toy-maker now employs about 40,000 workers and supplies more than 30 toy lines for companies including Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

Choi entered the real estate business in 1988 and gradually shifted his business 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.