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By Lee Kah WhyeSingapore, November 30 (ANI): Property and hotel investments is the key to the wealth of Asia's richest families with the exception of India.A report just published by Bloomberg revealed that the majority of Asia's top twenty wealthiest families derived their riches from property and hotel investments, including casinos in the case of one Hong Kong family. The three Indian family-owned companies featured on the list do not depend on real estate as their primary source of income although one, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, is involved in construction.Out of the twenty families listed by Bloomberg, at least 11 families derived their initial wealth from astute real estate investments or currently have property-related investments which underpin their wealth.Hong Kong is the country with the greatest number of families on the list. Six of its business families are among the top twenty and unsurprisingly, all of them have a significant part of their business in hotels and properties. Hong Kong has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. These six families on the Bloomberg list have a combined wealth of USD 123.8 billion.The wealthiest Hong Kong family is the Kwok family who has a significant stake in the publicly listed Sun Hung Kai Properties. Sun Hung Kai founded by Kwok Tat-seng, is largest real estate developer in Hong Kong and this business remains the primary basis of the family wealth. The family patriarch passed away in 1990 and left the business to his three sons Walter, Thomas and Raymond.Although some of these prosperous Hong Kong families did not initially become rich through the real estate market, they have subsequently invested in properties or hotels which are now a significant part of their assets. This includes the Cheng family and the Pao families.The Cheng family controls Chow Tai Fook Jewellery as well as New World Development, a property developer and is number seven on the top twenty list. They were originally a jeweller which started in 1929 in Guangzhou, China but branched out into the property business in the 70s. They also own the luxury hotel chain Rosewood Hotel Group.Pao Yue-kong started his shipping business in 1955 by purchasing a 28-year-old coal-burning 8,200-tonne freighter. He eventually grew the business into the Worldwide Shipping Group. Following its takeover of Norwegian shipper Bergesen d.y. ASA, it was renamed BW Group. Today, it has one of the largest oil and gas shipping fleets in the world. Recognising the need to diversify his business, Pao started in the property business in the 70s which has since grown to become Wheelock Properties.The only casino operating family on the list is the Ho family from Hong Kong whose patriarch, Stanley Ho passed away in May this year. The Ho family controls SJM Holdings which owns casinos and hotels including the Grand Lisboa in Macau.Another notable Hong Kong family on the list is the Lee family who inherited the Lee Kum Kee fortune made through the success of its eponymous oyster sauce which is hugely popular among the Chinese and its diaspora. They currently own substantial properties including the Walkie Talkie tower in London.The sixth Hong Kong clan is the Kadoorie family. Jewish brother Elly and Ellis arrived in Hong Kong in 1880 and eventually built a controlling stake inChina Light and Power company which is today called CLP Holdings. At the moment, the family has significant stakes in Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, the group that owns the Peninsula Hotel chain. Although only three Indian families are on the Bloomberg top twenty list, they rank number two in terms of the overall value of their assets at a total of USD 113.1 billion, just USD10.7 billion shy of the total amassed by the top six Hong Kong families.Leading the way is the Ambani family who sits on top of the list of Asia's wealthiest families. Although they became prosperous through the petrochemical and oil-refining business, of late, they are pivoting to technology and are becoming a major player in this space.Bloomberg values their family wealth to be worth some USD76 billion. The elder of the two sons of late patriarch and company founder Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh, was rated by Forbes in October 2020 as the sixth richest person in the world and richest in Asia. The Ambanis are twice as wealthy as the second place Kwoks of Hong Kong and have triple the wealth of the South Korea's Lee family which controls global electronics giant Samsung.While the Ambanis fortune appear unaffected by COVID-19, those of more than half those in the top twenty saw fortunes fall, especially those that were tied to real estate. Thailand's Chearawanonts lost more than USD6 billion and Hong Kong's Kwoks lost USD5 billion this year.The other two Indian families on the list are the Mistry family (Shapoorji Pallonji Group) with a fortune worth USD 22 billion and Hinduja family (Hinduja Group) with a net worth of USD15.1 billion.The other countries with more than one family on the list are Thailand with three, South Korea and Singapore both with two each.The three Thai families are the Chearavanonts whose food and retail businesses include the 10,000 Seven-Eleven stores in Thailand, the Yoovidhyas (TCP Group) who became wealthy as a result of Red Bill energy drink and the Chirathivats (Central Group) who are into real estate and retail.The two Singapore representatives on the list are the Ng family whose company Far East Organisation is a property developer and the Kwek or Quek family (different translation of the same Chinese name) who are into property and hotel development as well as finance.Besides Samsung, the other South Korean family who made the list is the Chung family who controls Samsung, the shipbuilding, construction and automotive conglomerate.The Bloomberg ranking of Asia's richest families was compiled as of November 13. It excludes first-generation wealth such as that of Alibaba Group Holdings' Jack Ma, as well as those in the hands of a single heir. As a result, the list does not have any families from mainland China where fortunes are relatively young and focused on tech. (ANI)

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