Rich List: Taiwan tycoons ride mobile boom

Taiwanese tycoons continue to benefit from robust demand for mobile devices and electronic gadgets, allowing them to amass vast wealth.
Terry Guo
Terry Guo

Terry Gou, holding 19th place in FinanceAsia's 2015 Rich List, is boss of the world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision, better known by its tradename Foxconn, continued to prosper despite the poor publicity his company frequently receives for its labour practices.

Demand for Apple gizmos, for which it is the main supplier, keeps the company and Gou rich if not popular. Foxconn is planning to expand into other software development.

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering chairman Jason Chang (45) and his brother Richard benefited from the company’s rapid ability to introduce technology that reduces the costs of electronics, as well as their investments in property development.

The Wang family (23), who control Formosa Petrochemical, has been tied up in a protracted internecine legal battle over assets the group’s founder Y. C. Wang should probably have assigned before he died in 2008. But he didn’t make a will, and his son Winston, who now runs the business, is in dispute with his half-sisters over the whereabouts of assets he claims belong to him. 

 
 

Nevertheless, Formosa Petrochemical is a leading plastics and chemical manufacturer in the region and continued to be a source of immense wealth for the Wangs.

 

The Tsai family (36), who control Fubon Financial, saw the share price of the financial services group soar and their business generate strong revenues, boosting the wealth of brothers Daniel and Richard who have been at the helm since their father died in October 2014.

 

 

Tsai Eng-Meng’s Want Want China Holdings (33) suffered a sharp drop in revenues due to weaker consumer demand for its drinks and snacks as well higher costs for its milk products. Weaker demand for fast foods also hurt another Taiwanese family, the Wei brothers, who control instant noodle firm Tingyi.

Examining dividend income to determine rich list

FinanceAsia analyses the publicly listed assets of Asia (ex-Japan)’s leading business families and aggregates the dividends paid to them through their shareholdings or to their trusts or charitable foundations.

This methodology provides a more dynamic picture of wealth in the region than can be achieved by estimates of net worth, but clearly underestimates the fortunes of individuals and families whose wealth is mainly derived from non-income earning or wholly private assets. We identify a large universe of companies with large or controlling shareholders and gather information on ownership stakes and dividend payouts based on statements made to stock exchanges, newswires and, in the first instance, declarations made in annual reports.

Some holdings are opaque because of complex cross-shareholding structures such as the Lee family’s control of Samsung and the Keswick’s control of Jardine Matheson, so there are inevitable instances of under-reporting of some tycoon’s wealth.

 

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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