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The view of the Hong Kong skyline from the Ocean Terminal at Harbour City. The shopping mall is operated by the Woos' Wharf REIC.

The view of the Hong Kong skyline from the Ocean Terminal at Harbour City. The shopping mall is operated by the Woos' Wharf REIC.

Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

Wealth
Living

Hong Kong Family’s $3 Billion Buyout Windfall Keeps Paying Off

Woo’s strategic shift has boosted the dynasty’s fortune to $20.2 billion

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Nine months ago, Douglas Woo sparked a $3.2 billion overnight surge in his family’s wealth by unveiling plans to take the centerpiece of their Hong Kong property empire private.

The biggest decision of the 42-year-old scion’s career is now looking savvier than ever.

Woo’s buyout of Wheelock & Co. not only lifted the valuation of a company that had long been saddled with a conglomerate discount, it also shifted the clan’s holdings toward the resilient residential real estate sector. The buyout was funded in part by family stakes in companies with exposure to retail and commercial properties, which have suffered far more from the pandemic and Hong Kong’s anti-government protests.

It may be the start of a broader push by Woo to re-orient his family’s fortune, according to Peng Qian, director of the Tanoto Center for Asian Family Business and Entrepreneurship Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The family’s net worth was valued at $20.2 billion in this year’s Bloomberg Billionaires Index list of Asia’s richest dynasties, up $3.5 billion from a July 2019 ranking.