Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#168 Joseph Lau $8.61B

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


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, including Causeway Bay and Wanchai. The company had revenue of $199 million in 2015.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change +$43.0M (+0.5%)
YTD change +$631M (+7.9%)
Industry Real Estate
Biggest asset Hong Kong Property
Citizenship Hong Kong
Age 65
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Joseph Lau's net worth of $8.61B 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 Lau's fortune is derived from property in Hong Kong, including his stake in Chinese Estates. He owns 75 percent of the publicly traded property developer, according to Hong Kong Stock Exchange filings as of December 2016. The billionaire remains credited with shares held by his wife and children following a March 1, 2017 restructuring to reflect his status as founder.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of market performance, dividends and taxes.

Lau owns two Gulfstream G650 jets, residential and commercial properties in London and Hong Kong. He also invests 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.

Lau also owns stakes in publicly traded companies, such as Ping An Insurance, Beijing Capital Land and Emperor International and these are valued based on disclosed shareholdings. 

The valuation of his Hong Kong property in this analysis was increased by $500 million on March 10, 2017 to better reflect its underlying value.

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


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 intial 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.

  • 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.
  • 2006 Eldest son, Lau Ming-wai, is appointed as executive director.
  • 2010 Completes The ONE, the tallest retail complex in Hong Kong.
  • 2012 Charged with bribery and money laundering in Macau.