Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#180 Joseph Lau $8.31B

Random fact: Often dines at Fook Lam Moon, a dim sum eatery in Hong Kong.

Overview

Lau is the controlling shareholder of Chinese Estates Holdings, a Hong Kong property developer. He controls 75 percent of the publicly traded company, which builds offices, shopping malls and housing projects in the city's main commercial districts. The company reported revenue of HK$1.5 billion ($194 million) in 2017.

As of June 20, 2018:
Last change -$2.11M (-0.0%)
YTD change -$362M (-4.2%)
Industry Real Estate
Biggest asset Hong Kong Property
Citizenship Hong Kong
Age 66
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Joseph Lau's net worth of $8.31B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Lau's fortune is derived from property in Hong Kong that he holds privately and through publicly traded Chinese Estates Holdings. 

He's collected HK$40 billion ($5.1 billion) in dividends from Chinese Estates through December 2017, according to company filings and an analysis of Bloomberg data. Lau uses the proceeds to purchase properties from the publicly traded company, which he then holds privately. Those properties -- the most valuable of which are Hong Kong's Silvercord and Windsor House -- are valued using the price he paid for them and adjusted to reflect market movement recorded by Hong Kong's Rating and Valuation Department.

He also controls 75 percent of Chinese Estates, according to an August 2017 Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing. Shares held by his wife and children, following a March 1, 2017 restructuring, remain attributed to him to reflect his status as founder. Lau is also credited with stakes held by his wife in publicly-traded China Evergrande and Shengjing Bank.

The billionaire owns two Gulfstream G650 jets, residential and commercial properties in London and Hong Kong, and has investments in art and jewelry. His collection of paintings includes Andy Warhol's "Mao" and Paul Gauguin's "Te Poipoi." He bought five diamonds for $128 million between 2009 and 2015 that are valued according to their purchase prices.

Peggy Wan, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Chinese Estates, declined to comment on Lau's net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 7/21/1951
Family: Married, 6 children
Education: Science, University of Windsor, Bachelor's Degree

Born in Hong Kong in 1951, Joseph Lau attended the University of Windsor in Canada before returning to the city to join his family's business making electric fans. He renamed the company Evergo Industrial Enterprise, which held an initial public offering in Hong Kong in 1983. Two years later, Lau switched Evergo's business focus to investment holding and property management services.

Lau became the majority shareholder of Chinese Estates when he acquired a 43 percent stake in the company through Evergo, according to a 1986 Hong Kong stock exchange filing. Since then, he's expanded his real estate investments through a series of acquisitions. Chinese Estates finished building The ONE, Hong Kong's tallest retail complex, in 2010.

Lau was charged with bribery and money laundering in Macau in 2012 in connection with a land purchase by Chinese Estates, prosecutors said. In March 2014, Lau resigned from his positions as chairman and CEO after a Macau court sentenced him to five years and three months imprisonment. He's appealed the verdict and his conviction order is suspended pending a final ruling, the company said.

Milestones
  • 1951 Joseph Lau Luen Hung is born in Hong Kong.
  • 1974 Starts working for family's electric fan business.
  • 1978 Renames the company Evergo Industrial Enterprise.
  • 1983 Evergo sells shares through an initial public offering in Hong Kong.
  • 1986 Buys majority stake in Chinese Estates.
  • 1992 Expands Chinese Estates property business into China.
  • 2000 Acquires 67 percent stake in Chi Cheung Investment.
  • 2010 Completes The ONE, the tallest retail complex in Hong Kong.
  • 2012 Charged with bribery and money laundering in Macau.
  • 2015 Agreed to sell tower in Hong Kong to China Evergrande Group for $1.6 billion.