When most of us think of rich families, celebrities and big names in the entertainment industry come to mind but in actual fact, their wealth doesn’t come close to the families on this list. As Asia’s economy continues to prosper, so does the number of wealthy families. These clans are worth billions of dollars and have kept their wealth close to home by having their children, grandchildren and other family members continue to carry on with the family business. Here, Top 10 of Asia takes a look at its list (arranged in random order) of Asia’s Top 10 Richest Family-Owned Businesses.
- Reliance Industries Limited – Ambani family (India)
Reliance Industries Limited, a holding company which owns businesses engaged in energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail and communications, is a Fortune Global 500 company and India’s most valuable and profitable company by market value. The Ambani family topped Forbes 2017 list of Asia’s richest families for the first time with a net worth of over $44 billion. It was co-founded by brothers Dhirubhai and Ramnikbhai Ambani, and has now been taken over by Dhirubhai’s son, Mukesh who is now the Chairman and Managing Director. Third generation family members are also involved in the business. Mukesh currently resides at the Antilia Building which is one of the world’s most expensive private residences with a value being close to $1 billion.
2. Samsung – Lee family (South Korea)
Multinational conglomerate and South Korea’s largest business group Samsung was founded by the country’s most successful businessmen, Lee Byung-chul. What started off as a modest trading company 80 years ago evolved into a large empire and is now the world’s largest maker of smartphones and TVs. His son Lee Kun-Hee who was named the Chaiman of the company suffered a heart attack back in 2014 and still remains in a coma. The conglomerate split into 4 entities during the 90s, and it is run today by the second and third generation of the Lee family.
3. Sun Hung Kai Properties – Kwok family (Hong Kong)
Founded by Kwok Tak Seng, public listed corporation Sun Hung Kai Properties was reported by BBC News to be the second most valuable real estate company in the world. After Kwok passed away from a heart attack, his eldest son Walter took over the position of Chairman and was replaced by Kwok’s wife Kwong Siu-hing a few years later. His youngest son Thomas Kwok is now the Chairman and Managing Director of the company and runs the business together with his two brothers Walter and Raymond. Together, the Kwok brothers were listed in the Forbes 500 listing of the richest people in the world with a combined net worth of $19 billion.
4. Charoen Pokphand Group – Chearavanont family (Thailand)
Thailand’s largest private company and one of the world’s largest conglomerates was founded by Chinese immigrant brothers Chia Ek Chor and Choncharoen Chiaravanont almost 100 years ago. It is one of the world’s largest producers of animal feed and livestock, and got a $9 billion boost to its wealth in 2017. The group today is led by Chia Ek Chor’s son Dhanin who currently serves as the Senior Chairman and shares the fortune with his 3 brothers and other relatives. Recently, Dhanin gave his eldest son Soopakij and youngest Suphachai the positions of Chairman and CEO respectively.
5. Djarum – Hartono family (Indonesia)
Oei Wie Gwan, an ethnic Chinese businessman, bought a cigarette company in Central Java with a brand called Djarum Gramofon, which he shorted to Djarum. It was successful in the market, but the company nearly went bankrupt when a huge fire destroyed the factory which resulted in the death of Ooi Wie Gwan. However, his sons Robert and Michael Hartono took over and rebuilt the company. Djarum is now one of the largest makers of clove cigarettes and the company recently grabbed shares from successful cigarette firm, Sampoerna. As of 2018, the Hartono brothers are reportedly the richest men in Indonesia with a combined wealth of $25 billion.
6. Henderson Land Development – Lee family (Hong Kong)
Third largest Hong Kong real estate developer Henderson Land Development is controlled by Dr Lee Shau Kee who is the Chairman but plans to retire gradually. The company’s business consists of property development and investment, project management, construction, hotel operation, department store operation, finance, investment holding and infrastructure. Dr Lee’s son who is the Vice Chairman oversees the family’s real estate giant while his other son Peter takes care of operations in China. His daughter Margaret is also part of the company as an executive. The third generation is projected to join the business, with the eldest grandchild Kristine currently looking after the mall business.
7. Hong Leong Group – Kwek family (Malaysia)
Founded as a trading company in the 60s and now grown into a conglomerate, Hong Leong Group currently controls 14 listed companies involved in the financial services, manufacturing, distribution, property and infrastructure development and are listed on stock exchanges of Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and Europe. Although owner Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan’s net worth has decreased over the years, he still remains one of the richest men in Malaysia today. More than 15 members of the family control Hong Leong Group which ranges from finance to property.
8. Chow Tai Fook – Cheng family (Hong Kong)
Billionaire Cheng Yu-tung’s family owns a conglomerate engaged in property development, hotel, casino, transportation, jewelry, port and telecommunication businesses. Cheng passed away in 2006 but positioned his eldest son Henry as Chairman and Executive Director of the company. Henry’s daughter Sonia oversees the hospitality and son Adrian runs New World which is one of the leading property developers under Chow Tai Fook. Cheng’s other son Peter heads New World China Land, which holds most of their father’s mainland China businesses. Cheng was a one-time real estate investment partner of United States president, Donald Trump.
9. SM Investments Corporation – Sy family (Philippines)
SM Investments Corporation is the largest company in the Philippines in terms of market capitalization and has been ranked as top company in the country in the Forbes Global 2000. It is a holding company with businesses in shopping mall development and management, retail, real estate, banking and tourism. The corporation was founded by richest man in the country, Henry Sy, which started off with a small shoe store in the city and evolved into a mall development. His 6 children are involved in the business and grandchildren have active roles.
10. Central Group – Chirathivat family (Thailand)
Thailand’s Central Group of Companies was founded by Tiang Chirathivat, an immigrant from China and has now taken been over by his grandson, Tos. Tiang set up his first shop on the outskirts of Bangkok but moved to a better location where he opened a new one with his eldest son, Samrit. In 1956, they opened Thailand’s first department store in Chinatown. Central Group has come a long way, now being a holding company that is involved in merchandising, real estate, retailing, hospitality and restaurants. 30% of its $9.6 billion revenue comes from outside of Thailand.