How rich is Robert Kuok?
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Robert Kuok Net Worth, Wiki & Biography in 2017
Robert Kuok Hok Nien was born on 6 October 1923 in Johore Bahru, Malaysia of Han Chinese (Fujian, China) descent, and is known as an entrepreneur with business investments widely spread in terms of industry and geographically. Forbes magazine ranks Robert as the richest person in Malaysia, and 110th richest person in the world in 2015.
So just how rich is Robert Kuok? Forbes estimates that Robert’s net worth is over $11 billion, accumulated from his varied businesses and investments over a period of more than 60 years.
Robert Kuok Net Worth $11 Billion
Robert Kuok was educated at the Raffles Institution and English College Johore Bahru, and started working for the Japanese rice-trading department of Mitsubishi in Singapore during WW2, a monopoly of the rice trade in Malaya during the occupation period, which he eventually headed, and then took the skills he learned into the family’s business in Johore after the war. No doubt this was some sort of start to Robert Kuok’s net worth.
Kuok senior died in 1948, and Robert Kuok his two brothers and a cousin founded Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd in 1949, trading agricultural commodities. Kuok’s relationship with the Japanese continued after Malaya gained independence, and in 1959 he formed Malayan Sugar Manufacturing Co. Bhd. together with two prominent Japanese partners, but was careful to appoint influential Malays as directors and shareholders, include UMNO politician and Malay royalty. Consequently, Kuok was granted a monopoly of sugar production in Malaysia, and continued to invest heavily in sugar refineries, controlled 80% of the Malaysian sugar market with production of 1.5 million tonnes, equivalent to 10% of world production, and so earned his nickname “Sugar King of Asia”, clearly contributing a huge amount to his net worth.
Robert Kuok began diversifying, most importantly into land, and in 1971 built the first of his Shangri-La Hotels in Singapore, and then in 1977 acquired land on the newly reclaimed Tsim Sha Tsui East waterfront in Hong Kong where he built the second hotel, the Kowloon Shangri-La. In 1993, his Kerry Group acquired a 34.9% stake in the South China Morning Post from Murdoch’s News Corporation. Robert Kuok’s net worth continued to grow.
Robert Kuok’s companies now have investments in many other countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Fiji and Australia. Businesses in China include 10 bottling companies for Coca Cola, and ownership of the Beijing World Trade Centre, and freight interests include Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad and Transmile Group. Needless to say, all these projects have benefited Robert Kuok’s net worth.
More recently, in 2009 PPB Group under Robert disposed of its sugar units along with land used to cultivate sugar cane for $800 million to the Malaysian government. The sugar unit and sugar cane plantation were the second largest business segment upon its grain and feed which were topping sales.
Robert’s political influence is widespread too, facilitating meetings between Malaysia and China governments leading to diplomatic cross recognition of the two countries. He was also one of the Hong Kong Affairs Advisors in the run-up to the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong.
In 2014 Kuok’s Singapore-based oil services company PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange but, for once, without conspicuous success although the target is to raise $400 million.
In his personal life, Robert Kuok has married twice; after his first wife died, Kuok married Ho Poh Lin, and has eight children. Kuok officially retired from the Kerry Group on 1 April 1993. One of his sons, Kuok Khoon Ean, now handles most of the day-to-day operations of his businesses. Robert Kuok has resided in Hong Kong for more than 40 years.