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#138 Walter Kwok $10.8B

Random fact: Family settled dispute with brother Walter amicably in January 2014.

Overview

Kwok is the oldest son of Kwok Tak-Seng, co-founder of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong’s largest developer. He was chairman and chief executive of the publicly traded company until 2008, when he was ousted by his family, who said he suffered from mental illness. His 16 percent stake was transferred back to him in 2014.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change +$48.2M (+0.5%)
YTD change +$2.17B (+25.3%)
Industry Real Estate
Biggest asset 16 HK Equity
Citizenship Hong Kong
Age 66
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Walter Kwok's net worth of $10.8B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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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 Kwok's net worth is derived from 16 percent of Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong's largest property developer by market value, according to a March 2017 Bloomberg News report. The publicly traded real estate company was founded by his father Kwok Tak-seng, who died in 1990. The wealth is valued as a family fortune held through trusts that are shared equally by the billionaire and his two brothers, according to a January 2014 email statement from the company.

Most of the family's stake in the business -- 26.2 percent -- is held in the name of Kwok Tak-seng's widow, Kwong Siu-hing, whose shares are credited equally to her three sons. He owns another 7.4 percent through a trust he founded, according to the company's 2016 annual report.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividend income, passive investments, insider transactions, local 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: 1950
Family: Married, No children
Education: Engineering, University of London, Master's Degree

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 became one of the world's largest real estate developers by market value.

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. He was kidnapped in 1996 by a Hong Kong gang leader nicknamed "Big Spender," who also held Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's son Victor Li for ransom.

A public family squabble led to Walter's extended leave and, subsequently, his ouster as chairman in 2008. Walter said that Thomas and Raymond had him removed from his position because they thought he was suffering from a mental illness, which he had denied. Hong Kong's Standard newspaper reported Walter was forced to go on leave after a disagreement with his brothers over a female friend's growing influence in the company. He later sued his siblings for libel.

Their mother Kwong Sui-hing took over as chairman and Thomas and Raymond later became co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai. 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 four months later. According to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Thomas, Raymond and two other men conspired to provide Rafael Hui, the city’s former No. 2 government official, with free use of two apartments and two unsecured loans for unspecified favors. The Kwoks have denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty in March 2013. 

The company later named Adam Kwok, Thomas's son, and Edward Kwok, Raymond's son, as alternate directors. Thomas was sentenced to five years in jail in 2014.

Milestones
  • 1950 Walter 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 Becomes Sun Hung Kai chairman after his father’s death.
  • 1997 Kidnapped by Hong Kong gang boss nicknamed "Big Spender."
  • 2008 Mother replaces him as chairman of Sun Hung Kai.
  • 2011 Younger brothers Thomas, Raymond take over as company co-chairmen.
  • 2012 Thomas, Raymond charged with bribery by anti-graft agency.
  • 2014 Resigns as non-executive director of Sun Hung Kai.
  • 2014 Thomas receives five-year prison sentence, Raymond found not guilty.