Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Robert Kuok

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Nyongesa Sande
Nyongesa Sandehttps://bizmart.africa
Nyongesa Sande is a Kenyan blogger, Pan Africanist,c olumnist Political Activist , blogger, informer & businesman who has interest in politics, governance, corporate fraud, human rights and television personality.

Robert Kuok Hock Nien (simplified Chinese: 郭鹤年; traditional Chinese: 郭鶴年; pinyinGuō HèniánFoochow RomanizedGuóh Hŏk-nièng; born 6 October 1923), is a Malaysian business magnate and investor. Since 1973, Kuok has lived in Hong Kong. According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at $11.8 billion as of April 2023, making him the wealthiest Malaysian and 96th wealthiest person in the world. As of April 2023, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2023, Kuok has an estimated net worth of $17.7 billion, making him the 97th richest person in the world.

Kuok is media-shy; most of his businesses are privately held by him or his family. Apart from a multitude of businesses in Malaysia, his companies have investments in many countries throughout Asia. His business interests (collectively known as the Kuok Group of Companies) range from sugarcane plantations (Perlis Plantations Bhd)sugar refineriesflour millinganimal feedoilminingfinancehotel (Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts)property (Kerry Properties)tradingfreight (Kerry Logistics) and publishing.[9] His biggest source of wealth is a stake in Wilmar International, the world’s largest listed palm oil trader company.

In 2018, Kuok was appointed to the Council of Eminent Persons to advise Ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

The majority of Kuok’s fortune is derived from assets he controls through a network of closely held vehicles, including Kuok (Singapore), Kuok Brothers in Malaysia and Kerry Group in Hong Kong. Corporate filings disclose as many as a hundred shareholders within the network. Because individual stakes can’t be determined, the wealth is considered a family fortune and attributed entirely to the billionaire, who is the founder and patriarch.

Through the holding companies, the family controls 51% of conglomerate PPB Group, whose interests range from agriculture to property, according to its July 22, 2022 filing.

The family also owns 60% of Hong Kong-listed real estate developer Kerry Properties according to its 2022 semi-annual report, and 50% of Shangri-La Asia according to the company’s 2022 semi-annual report.

Other publicly traded assets include palm oil trader Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm-oil refiner, as well as stakes in Hong Kong-based logistics services provider Kerry Logistics and Sydney-based coal producer Whitehaven Coal.

Singapore-based property developer Allgreen Properties is valued using the average price-to-book value and price-to-earnings multiples of three publicly traded peer companies: GuocoLand, UOL Group and Frasers Property.

Kuok (Singapore), a sea freight provider, is valued based on the average price-to-book ratios of three publicly traded peers: Olam International, Wilmar and Misc.

He’s collected about $5.1 billion in dividends, according to company filings and an analysis of Bloomberg data. The value of Kuok’s cash investments is based on these proceeds as well as insider transactions, taxes and market performance.

Kuok declined to comment on the calculation of his net worth in an email.


Education: Royal College of Surgeons/United Kingdom, Raffles College

Kuok was born in 1923, in the southernmost Malaysian state of Johor, the youngest of three brothers. His father, an immigrant from China’s Fujian province, was a trader of agricultural commodities. In 1941, Kuok was a student at Raffles College in Singapore when the Japanese bombed the island and declared war. He returned to Johor and worked in the local office of Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corp., heading the rice department.

After his father died in 1948, he established Kuok Brothers with other family members. The company traded rice, sugar and wheat flour. He set up Malaysian Sugar Manufacturing in 1959, which became the Southeast Asian nation’s biggest refiner, controlling 60 percent of the domestic sugar supply. By the 1970s, he was known as the “Sugar King” after amassing control of 5 percent of the world market. In 1963, Kuok profited from bets in the physical sugar and futures markets when a hurricane damaged Cuba’s sugarcane plantations and mills. The billionaire exited Malaysia’s sugar industry in 2009. Kuala Lumpur-based PPB Group, which he and his family control, sold its sugar investments for $380 million in 2009 to Felda Global Ventures.

In 1971, Kuok built his first Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, and followed with the Kowloon Shangri-La in Hong Kong six years later. Hong Kong-listed Shangri-La Asia, the region’s biggest luxury hotel group, managed 98 hotels — half in China — as of July 2016.

Kuok moved his headquarters to Hong Kong from Singapore and Malaysia in 1974, and set up Kerry Holdings. Kuok and his family own many of his assets in Hong Kong and China, including developer Kerry Properties, through the holding company.

During China’s crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square, the billionaire continued to build the China World Trade Center, a partnership with the government in Beijing. Kuok’s Kerry Group started a bottling venture with Coca-Cola in 1993. The world’s biggest soft-drink maker gradually bought out Kerry’s stake in the venture starting in 2006.

In 2007, Kuok merged his plantations, edible oil and grains businesses with Singapore-based Wilmar International, transforming it into the world’s biggest palm-oil processor. The company is run by his nephew Kuok Khoon Hong.

The billionaire, who has been married twice and has eight children, lives in Deep Water Bay on Hong Kong island. Some of his children run the companies he controls, including Kuok Hui Kwong, chairman of Shangri-La Asia, and Kuok Khoon Ean, chairman of Kuok Singapore.


  • 1923 Born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
  • 1949 Sets up Kuok Brothers trading commodities.
  • 1953 Expands into Singapore with Kuok (Singapore).
  • 1971 Builds his first Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.
  • 1974 Sets up Kerry Holdings in Hong Kong.
  • 1977 Buys land in Hong Kong and builds Kowloon Shangri-La.
  • 1993 Buys controlling stake in South China Morning Post.
  • 1996 Kerry Properties sells shares in Hong Kong.
  • 2009 Exits Malaysian sugar industry by selling investments.
  • 2014 PACC Offshore Services starts trading in Singapore.
  • 2017 Daughter Kuok Hui Kwong takes over as chairman of Shangri-La Asia


His political influence is attested by his selection as one of the Hong Kong Affairs Advisors in the run-up to the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong, and his minority stake in CITIC Pacific. He was also instrumental in conveying information and setting up the meetings between Malaysian and Chinese governments leading to full diplomatic cross recognition of the two countries.

On 12 May 2018, in the aftermath of the Malaysian general election that year, Kuok was appointed to the five-member Council of Eminent Persons along with Tun Daim Zainuddin, Tan Sri Datuk Seri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Tan Sri Hassan Marican and Jomo Kwame Sundaram to advise the new Pakatan Harapan federal government.

Personal life

Kuok has been married twice. His first wife was Joyce Cheah and his second wife is Pauline Ho Poh Lin. He has eight children from the marriages. His son, Kuok Khoon Ean born in 1955 married Kuok Cheng Sui and holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Nottingham, England. His other son, Kuok Khoon Ho is the chairman of Kuok Brothers, born in 1951 and holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, Canada. Kuok Hui Kwong, his daughter, is the managing director and chief executive of SCMP Group and chairperson of Shangri-La Asia. One of his sons, Kuok Khoon Ean, handles most of the day-to-day operations of his businesses. He currently resides in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuok’s brother, Philip Kuok Hock Khee was a former Malaysian Ambassador to GermanyYugoslaviaNetherlandsBelgiumLuxembourg and Denmark. Philip married Eileen Kuok and had two sons and two daughters. Philip Kuok died in 2003. Another brother, William Kuok Hock Ling, was a member of the Malayan Communist Party and was killed during the Malayan Emergency in 1952. According to his memoir, Kuok described that of all the brothers, his mother Zheng Ge Ru doted on and adored William the most, and was heartbroken when she received news of William’s death.

His nephew, Kuok Khoon Hong is the chairman of Wilmar International, and one of the richest people in Singapore. Kuok Khoon Hong’s father, Kuok Hock Swee, was an older cousin of Robert Kuok.

His grand-nephew, Kuok Meng Ru, is in the music retail industry, owning Swee Lee music company.

Kuok is a follower of Buddhism. He lives in the Deep Water Bay neighbourhood on Hong Kong Island

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