Rich list: HK property tycoons lead the way

Joseph Lau is followed by the likes of Li Ka-shing and the family behind the Chow Tai Fook empire as we run down the biggest dividend recipients from across the region.

Every year FinanceAsia compiles a list of Asia ex-Japan’s richest business families according to the dividends paid to them through their shareholdings in publicly listed assets. Hong Kong property developer Lau Luen Hung “Joseph” heads the list this year, knocking last year’s winners, the Cheng family of Hong Kong-based luxury retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, into second position.

Hong Kong property tycoons Li Ka-shing, Lee Shau Kee, and the Kwok family make up the rest of the top five.

Lau’s status as our richest person in Asia by dividends differs markedly from other rich lists that use net worth as a measure of wealth – he is 13th according to Forbes and 35th according to Bloomberg. However, we believe that our unique focus on dividend payouts provides a more dynamic picture of wealth creation and cash flow in the region than estimations of net worth.

“People tend to ignore dividends as a bit of a boring, minor increment,” said Geoff Bazzan, head of Asia Pacific equities at Sydney-based investment management firm Maple-Brown Abbott, “whereas in the long term it’s very powerful, particularly in lower-return environments, which, if you believe the consensus, that’s what we’re in for.”

We determined share count positions and ownership stakes by analysing annual reports and other company stock exchange filings. Where the holdings are opaque, such as complex cross-shareholding structures or shares owned collectively through trusts, the wealth is attributed to the family as a whole, while recognising the senior family member.

Total dividend payouts were derived using the regular dividends paid in the last fiscal year, plus the latest special dividends ended in July 2017. For the sake of consistency, we converted all non-US-denominated figures into US dollars based on the exchange rate as at December 30, 2016.

In some instances, individuals or families have been either combined with other family members or excluded from the list, after careful consideration of the nature of their holdings. This includes Kuok Khoon Hong, co-founder and chairman of Singaporean agriculture conglomerate Wilmar International, who is now included under his uncle Kuok Hock Nien “Robert”, and Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of holding company Tata Sons, who we’ve left off because the majority of Tata Sons is controlled by philanthropic trusts endowed by the Tata family.

While our methodology misses out on Asian wealth derived from non-incoming earning or wholly private assets, as well as publicly listed companies that didn’t pay dividends in the past year, it offers a convenient way of measuring wealth that reflects families’ asset values.

Winners and losers

A number of individuals and families in the FinanceAsia Rich List received significant increases in dividend payouts this year, most prominently in the property, information technology, and energy sectors.

The Kwok family of Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Properties jumped significantly on the Rich List, receiving $468 million in cash dividends, a 25% increase on the previous year as the property developer issued its highest dividend in the company’s history.

Yang Huiyan, the majority shareholder of China’s Country Garden, received $248 million in dividends, a bump up of 22.5% compared to the previous year. The Foshan-based property company stated a 24% jump in net profits last year, driven by a 35.4% increase in property development revenues, making Country Garden the third biggest Chinese developer in 2016 by sales.

The release of the iPhone 7 series in September 2016 boosted the dividends paid to AAC Technologies co-founder Pan Zhengmin and to Hon Hai Precision Industry’s chairman Gou Tai-Ming, better known as Terry Guo.

Pan took in $92 million in dividends, up nearly 50%, as his Chinese acoustics and haptics technology company reported a 30% increase in net profits. Taiwanese technology tycoon Gou paid himself $235 million in dividends, an increase of 33%, after Hon Hai Precision Industry recorded a record profit of $4.91 billion. The 2016 dividend issued by the electronics manufacturer, also known as Foxconn, was the highest in the company’s history.

In Southeast Asia the Chearavanont family, owners of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand, collected nearly $255 million in dividends, up 35% from the previous year, largely driven by their stake in Ping An Insurance. The Chinese financial company saw big gains in its life insurance and Internet finance segments as net profits increased by 15.1%.

Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India by net worth, received $226 million in dividend payouts this year, up nearly 15%, as energy conglomerate Reliance Industries improved profitability at its petrochemical and refining segments, with overall earnings up 18.8%.

Hong Kong’s Henry Cheng and family, who control Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group and New World Development, were the year’s big losers, taking 28% less in dividends than the previous year – a difference of $328 million.

A weak year in retail two years ago prompted Chow Tai Fook to issue special dividends to return excess cash to shareholders, according to the company’s annual report.

Last November, the luxury retailer slowed its revenue decline by negotiating lower rents and cutting the number of its outlets in Hong Kong and Macau, resulting in lower special dividends and, consequently, a lower dividend payout for the Cheng family.

Meanwhile, falling oil prices impacted Hong Kong’s richest person by net worth, Li Ka-shing, as his dividend payout fell by more than $257 million year on year.

Calgary-based energy company Husky Energy, of which Li is the controlling shareholder, has not declared a dividend since July 2015 after the oil price declined precipitously in the second half of 2014.

Wipro chairman Azim Premji’s dividends fell by more than $124 million following a 4.7% year on year drop in the company’s annual net earnings. Among the largest Indian IT companies, Wipro has been especially slow to adjust to the post-2008 recession shift towards cloud services, mobility management, and big data, according to a report by Indian business publication Outlook Business.

Chinese property developer Hui Kayan, the 5th-richest person in Asia last year, dropped off this year’s list completely after his Hong Kong-listed China Evergrande decided against issuing a dividend this year.

Hui is in the process of reorganising Evergrande’s real estate unit, moving its property holdings into a Shenzhen-listed shell company to take advantage of the higher valuations on the Chinese stock exchange.

The Rich List Asia's top 100 by dividend received
Rank Name Companies Location 2017 DVD Sector
1 Lau Luen Hung "Joseph" Chinese Estates Holdings Hong Kong & Macau 1,505,545,876 Real Estate
2 Henry Cheng & Family Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd, New World Development Co Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 844,970,963 Consumer Discretionary
3 Li Ka-shing (incl Victor Li) CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd, Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 630,536,784 Industrials
4 Lee Shau Kee Henderson Land Development Co Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 501,892,382 Real Estate
5 Kwok Brothers Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 468,439,231 Real Estate
6 Wang Jianlin Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, Wanda Film Holding Co Ltd China 448,515,165 Real Estate
7 He Xiangjian Midea Group Co Ltd China 331,177,000 Consumer Discretionary
8 Gou Tai-Ming "Terry" Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd Taiwan 314,716,924 Information Technology
9 Yang Huiyan Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd China 304,467,281 Real Estate
10 Shiv Nadar HCL Technologies Ltd India 300,895,934 Information Technology
11 Chan Chi-chung "Ronnie" & Family Hang Lung Properties Ltd, Hang Lung Group Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 295,573,853 Real Estate
12 Swire, Merlin Bingham Swire Pacific Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 290,688,719 Real Estate
13 Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi Thai Beverage PCL Thailand 277,057,341 Consumer Staples
14 Susilo Wonowidjojo & Family Gudang Garam Tbk PT Indonesia 267,774,944 Consumer Staples
15 Tsai Hong-Tu Cathay Financial Holding Co Ltd Taiwan 258,895,574 Financials
16 Pan Shiyi & Zhang Xin SOHO China Ltd China 256,549,517 Real Estate
17 Dhanin Chearavanont & Family CP ALL PCL, Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd, Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL Thailand 254,919,876 Consumer Staples
18 Mukesh Ambani Reliance Industries Ltd India 226,136,902 Energy
19 Hui Wing Mau Shimao Property Holdings Ltd China 225,347,881 Real Estate
20 Kuok Hock Nien "Robert" Kerry Properties Ltd, PPB Group Bhd, Shangri-La Asia Ltd Malaysia 215,043,245 Real Estate
21 Pallonji Mistry & Family Tata Consultancy Services Ltd India 196,399,193 Information Technology
22 Kadoorie Michael CLP Holdings Ltd, Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 185,862,421 Utilities
23 Lee Kun-hee Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Samsung Life Insurance Co Ltd Korea 184,904,322 Information Technology
24 Wee Cho Yaw & Family United Overseas Bank Ltd, UOL Group Ltd, Haw Par Corp Ltd Singapore 182,282,589 Financials
25 Liu Yonghao New Hope Liuhe Co Ltd, China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd China 177,176,815 Consumer Staples
26 Lo Ka Shui & Family Great Eagle Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 173,834,771 Real Estate
27 Wu Yajun Longfor Properties Co Ltd China 172,749,512 Real Estate
28 Zhou Jianping Heilan Home Co Ltd China 170,858,390 Consumer Discretionary
29 Jiang Nanchun Focus Media Information Technology Co Ltd Singapore 166,083,359 Consumer Discretionary
30 Hartono Brothers Bank Central Asia Tbk PT Indonesia 162,764,000 Financials
31 Krishnan Ananda Maxis Bhd, Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd Malaysia 159,968,093 Telecommunication Services
32 Li Sze Lim Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 155,522,544 Real Estate
33 Zhang Li Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd China 148,558,151 Real Estate
34 Wei Jianjun Great Wall Motor Co Ltd China 144,435,200 Consumer Discretionary
35 Xu Shihui Dali Foods Group Co Ltd China 144,195,128 Consumer Staples
36 Henry Sy, Sr. SM Investments Corp Philippines 143,753,611 Industrials
37 Wang Wenxue China Fortune Land Development Co Ltd China 143,217,503 Real Estate
38 Teh Hong Piow Public Bank Bhd, LPI Capital Berhad Malaysia 137,947,342 Financials
39 Zhang Shiping China Hongqiao Group Ltd, Weiqiao Textile Co China 124,837,257 Materials
40 Ding Lei "William" NetEase Inc China 121,721,600 Information Technology
41 Robert & Philip Ng Tsim Sha Tsui Properties Ltd, Far East Hospitality Trust, Sino Land Co Ltd Singapore 121,654,105 Real Estate
42 Qiu Guanghe Zhejiang Semir Garment Co Ltd China 118,791,750 Consumer Discretionary
43 Luo Jye Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co Ltd Taiwan 117,452,368 Consumer Discretionary
44 Ma Jianrong Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd China 116,115,455 Consumer Discretionary
45 Yeoh Tiong Lay YTL Group Malaysia 115,482,286 Utilities
46 Lui Che-woo Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, K Wah International Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 115,118,365 Consumer Discretionary
47 Guo Guangchang Fosun International Ltd China 112,563,424 Industrials
48 Barry Lam Quanta Computer Inc Taiwan 109,170,297 Information Technology
49 Lee Tih Shih & Family Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Singapore 108,906,551 Financials
50 Ding Shizhong ANTA Sports Products Ltd China 106,695,452 Consumer Discretionary
51 Lee Shin Cheng IOI Corp Bhd, IOI Properties Group Bhd Malaysia 104,728,575 Consumer Staples
52 Anil K. Agarwal Vedanta Resources PLC India 103,118,456 Materials
53 Tsai Eng-meng Want Want China Holdings Ltd Taiwan 100,520,091 Consumer Staples
54 Ronald McAulay CLP Holdings Ltd, Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 98,064,756 Utilities
55 Pan Zhengmin AAC Technologies Holdings Inc China 92,253,440 Information Technology
56 Kong Jianmin KWG Property Holding Ltd China 90,310,275 Real Estate
57 Quek Leng Chan Guoco Group Ltd, Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd Malaysia 88,269,372 Financials
58 Gong Hongjia Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd China 85,918,833 Information Technology
59 Chang Chien-Sheng "Jason" Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc Taiwan 84,428,097 Real Estate
60 Victor & William Fung Li & Fung Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 83,959,623 Consumer Discretionary
61 Keswick/Weatherall Jardine Matheson Holdings Hong Kong & Macau 82,331,604 Industrials
62 Li Tzar Kai "Richard" PCCW Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 81,710,451 Telecommunication Services
63 Anil Ambani Reliance Power Ltd, Reliance Capital Ltd, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd India 76,534,544 Utilities
64 Lee Yun Lien "Irene" Hysan Development Co Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 75,406,328 Real Estate
65 Pang Kang Foshan Haitian Flavoring & Food Co Ltd China 74,158,106 Consumer Staples
66 Jon Ramon Aboitiz Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc Philippines 73,349,120 Industrials
67 Chung Mong-koo Hyundai Motor Co, Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd, Hyundai Steel Co Korea 72,293,614 Consumer Discretionary
68 Lee Wan Keung Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 71,969,507 Materials
69 Tsai Ming-Chung "Daniel" & Richard Tsai Fubon Financial Holding Co, Taiwan Mobile Co Ltd Taiwan 69,770,300 Telecommunication Services
70 Ye Chenghai Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd China 69,303,269 Health Care
71 Sudhir & Samir Mehta Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Torrent Power Ltd India 68,518,322 Health Care
72 Chu Lam Yiu Huabao International Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 67,851,420 Materials
73 Tong Jinquan Viva Industrial Trust, IREIT Global, Jinmao Hotel and Jinmao (China) Investments and Management Limited China 65,303,160 Real Estate
74 Or Wai Sheun "Johnny" Kowloon Development Company Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 64,303,141 Real Estate
75 Ma Huateng "Pony" Tencent Holdings Ltd China 57,861,072 Information Technology
76 Lee Yin Yee Xinyi Glass Holdings Ltd, Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 57,728,737 Industrials
77 Woo Kwong-ching "Peter" Wheelock & Co Ltd, Longfor Properties Co Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 56,199,095 Real Estate
78 Benu Gopal Bangur Shree Cement Ltd India 54,485,296 Materials
79 Lu Guanqiu Hebei Chengde Lolo Co, Shunfa Hengye Corp, Wanxiang Qianchao Co Ltd China 52,863,886 Consumer Staples
80 Anant Asavabhokin Land & Houses Public Company Limited Thailand 51,924,013 Real Estate
81 Eka Tjipta Widjaja Golden Agri-Resources Ltd, Bund Center Investment Ltd, Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Corp Tbk PT Indonesia 51,852,073 Consumer Staples
82 David Consunji & Family DMCI Holdings Inc, Semirara Mining & Power Corp Philippines 47,050,671 Industrials
83 Wang Chuanfu BYD Co Ltd China 45,191,754 Consumer Discretionary
84 Hoi Kin Hong Powerlong Real Estate Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 44,738,274 Real Estate
85 Li Shufu Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd China 44,514,413 Consumer Discretionary
86 Wu Ying-sheun "Gordon" Hopewell Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 42,217,383 Real Estate
87 Tang Yiu Belle International Holdings Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 40,648,514 Consumer Discretionary
88 Pollyanna Chu Kingston Financial Group Ltd Hong Kong & Macau 40,637,733 Consumer Discretionary
89 Liu Ming Chung & Cheung Yan Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd China 40,155,719 Materials
90 Zhong Sheng Jian Yanlord Land Group Ltd China 39,893,760 Real Estate
91 Azim Premji Wipro Ltd India 39,744,000 Information Technology
92 Kushal Pal Singh DLF Ltd India 39,364,316 Real Estate
93 Lien Wen-Hsien "Margaret" United Overseas Bank Ltd Singapore 39,275,592 Financials
94 Wang Wei SF Holding Co Ltd China 38,877,300 Industrials
95 Kwek Leng Beng & Family City Developments Ltd, Hong Leong Finance Ltd Singapore 37,127,031 Real Estate
96 Pansy Ho MGM China Holdings Ltd, MGM Resorts International Hong Kong & Macau 36,816,224 Consumer Discretionary
97 Rahul Kumar Bajaj Bajaj Auto Ltd, Bajaj Holdings & Investment Ltd India 36,109,394 Consumer Discretionary
98 Pankaj Patel Cadila Healthcare Ltd India 36,059,866 Health Care
99 Jamie Zobel de Ayala Ayala Corp Philippines 35,264,875 Real Estate
100 Anthoni Salim First Pacific Company Limited Indonesia 34,763,295 Financials
SOURCE: FinanceAsia


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