PETALING JAYA: The Hong Leong group’s Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan and his family are the seventh-richest family in Asia this year, with a combined net worth of US$18.5bil, according to Forbes’ latest list.
More than 15 family members control the Hong Leong group, which is primarily involved in finance and property.
The Quek/Kwek family based in Malaysia and Singapore was ranked sixth wealthiest last year, with a combined wealth of US$18.9bil.
“The family traces its fortune back to 1941 when Kwek Hong Png founded the company with three brothers.
“Hong Png’s eldest son, Kwek Leng Beng, runs the operations in Singapore.
“Leng Beng’s cousin Leng Chan runs the group’s Malaysia dealings.
“Meanwhile, grandson Sherman was appointed deputy CEO of the group’s property unit in April,” said Forbes in a webpage on the Quek/Kwek family.
First on the list for the second year running is South Korea’s Lee family of the Samsung Group, with a combined wealth of US$29.6bil, up from US$26.6bil last year.
The family derived 35% of its fortune from Samsung Electronics.
“Chairman Lee Kun-hee remains in a coma, while his only son and heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong, faces his biggest test yet amid a global recall of Samsung’s latest Galaxy phone.
“Despite that, Samsung shares are up 20%,” said Forbes.
Thailand’s Chearavanont family rose to the second spot, with a net worth of US$27.7bil.
The family owns Charoen Pokphand Group, one of the world’s largest producers of animal feed and livestock.
As for the third-richest, India’s Ambani family, which has a combined net worth of US$25.8bil, saw its wealth rise from US$21.5bil last year.
“Dhirubhai Ambani started the business trading spices and yarn and built Reliance into one of India’s biggest private-sector businesses.
“After his death in 2002, brothers Mukesh and Anil divided the empire.
“Mukesh’s twins work at telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Retail, while Anil’s son works at Reliance Capital,” said Forbes.
Forbes Asia editor Tim Ferguson said that sources of Asian wealth are broadening.
“You can see that among the rich families here, and even within many of the families, no particular sector of the economy dominate.
“For those aiming to be among Asia’s richest, it is a very wide world,” said Ferguson.
The minimum net wealth to qualify for the list was US$3.4bil, up from US$2.9bil a year ago.
Collectively, the Top 50 families are worth US$519bil.
Indian families stood out on the 2016 Forbes list of Asia’s Richest Families, with 17 out of the Top 50 families hailing from India.
While the Top 50 families are rooted in Asia, their conglomerates have worldwide footprints.
Asia’s Richest Families list used stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Oct 28, 2016.
Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded.
To qualify, a family’s wealth must be rooted in Asia and participation in building that fortune has to extend at least three generations.
On the same list, were the Kuoks of the Kuok Group which came in at number 15 with a combined wealth of US$13.4bil and Genting group’s Lim family at number 44 with total wealth of US$4.25bil.