The Rich List: Familiar faces retain spots

From Indonesia to Taiwan, tycoons continue to reap the benefits of empires that span the region even as they face new threats at home and abroad.
Jay Lee: on the rise at Samsung
Jay Lee: on the rise at Samsung

While China and Hong Kong propety tycoons continue to dominate the top spots in FinanceAsia's rich list - even though Li Ka-shing has lost his usual place at the top of the table - the picture in India is more fluid, with new names climbing the list

Elsewhere in the region, the leading tycoons retained their prominence in their home countries, although of course their business empires are more far-reaching.


In Indonesia, Susilo Wonowidjojo’s (17) stock in cigarette maker Gudang Garam recovered sharply as floods receded and clove prices fell. On the other hand, Eka Tjipta Widjaja’s (56) Golden Agri-Resources was hurt by lower palm oil prices but an acquisition spree, including the takeover of Berau Coal Energy, has boosted the family’s wealth.

Indonesia's top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Susilo Wonowidjojo Gudang Garam $259.105
2 Eka Tjipta Widjaja Golden Agri-Resources $109.126
3 Robert Budi Hartono Bank Central Asia $64.872
4 Anthoni Salim First Pacific $43.853
5 Martau Sitorus Wilmar International $25.462


Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor are still Korea’s leading chaebols, despite falling export demand for electronic goods and cars. Since his illness, Lee Kun-Hee (29) has handed over the running of Samsung to his son and heir apparent Jay Y. Lee, while Chung Mong-Koo (64) remains very much in charge of Hyundai.

Korea's top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Lee Kun-Hee Samsung $186.455
2 Chung Mong-Koo Hyundai Motor $91.806
3 Koo Bon-Moo LG $70.510
4 Chey Tae-Won SK $39.268
5 Cho Yang-Rai Hankook Tire $23.555


In scandal-mired Malaysia, Robert Kuok (16) and Ananda Krishnan (23) head the rich list. Kuok sold Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post to Alibaba for $265 million, but Ananda’s pay TV operator, Astro Malaysia, is facing a challenge from Netflix.

Malaysia's top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Robert Kuok Kerry Group $268.115
2 Ananda Krishnan Maxis $217.912
3 Yeoh Tiong Lay YTL $167.385
4 Teh Hong Piow Public Bank $148.735
5 Lee Shin Cheng IOI $118.898


Henry Sy Sr (33) is still the richest man in the Philippines, and continues to look for profitable opportunities in the retail and property sectors, while David Consunji’s (51) construction and mining interests benefit from the country’s much vaunted infrastructure projects.

Philippines top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Henry Sy Sr SM Investment $166.371
2 David Consunji DMCI $113.194
3 Jon Ramon Aboitz Aboitz Equity Ventures $73.205
4 Ty Siao Kian (George) Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company $40.736
5 Andrew L. Tan Alliance Global  $39.996


In Singapore, Wee Cho Yaw (21), chairman emeritus of United Overseas Bank, comes out on top, despite a hit to the share price of Singapore’s third-largest bank by market capitalisation due to flat domestic earnings and the impact of the Brexit vote on the lender’s property business. Meanwhile, Singapore developer Kwek Leng Beng (37) is making canny overseas property purchases through his City Developments.

Singapore top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Wee Cho Yaw UOB $232.443
2 Kwek Leng Beng City Developments $145.122
3 The Lee family Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp $111.894
4 Jason Chang Sino Horizon $91.358
5 Robert Ng Tsim Sha Tsui Properties  $68.013


Tsai Hong-tu (15), chairman of Cathay Financial Holdings, has successfully stewarded the financial services company his father founded to ensure his family is the wealthiest in Taiwan.  Meanwhile, Terry Gou (20), chairman of Hon Hai Precision, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, appears to have shrugged off declining smartphone sales and widely-reported discontent at his mainland factories.

Thailand's top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Dhanin Chearavanot CP All Public $354.323
2 Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi ThaiBev $244.521
3 Anant Asavabhokin Land and Houses $50.507
4 Tos Chirathivat Central Pattana $34.734
5 Krit Ratanarak Siam City Cement  $26.149


Finally, in Thailand, Dhanin Chearavanont (11), boss of agribusiness conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, hasn’t lost his energy for deal-making, most recently paying more than $3 billion to buy 4G spectrum licenses in government auctions. Rival tycoon, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi (19), matches Dhanin for action, further growing his retail business with the purchase of a majority stake in hypermarket operator Big C Supercenter Thailand.

Taiwan's top five
Rank Leader of the family Companies Dividends
(2015, $million)
1 Tsai Hong-Tu Cathay Financial $268.907
2 Terry Gou Hoi Han Precision Industry $235.634
3 Barry Lam Quanta Computer $132.977
4 Tsai Eng-Meng Want Want China $130.551
5 Luo Jye Cheng Shin Rubber  $119.462

Read more stories from FinanceAsia's annual Rich List.


Correction: This list previously identified Lee Tih Shih as the leader of the Lee family. He is a son of the late Lee Seng Wee, the former chairman of OCBC. Lee Seng Wee was, in turn, one of three sons of Lee Kong Chian, a rubber and banking magnate. But since there are several other elder members of the Lee family, it was incorrect to identify Lee Tih Shih as the family leader. This reference has now been removed.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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