Gaming eclipsed property as the most lucrative path to wealth last year as Galaxy Entertainment Group (0027) chairman Lui Che-woo became Hong Kong's second richest man, just behind Li Ka- shing.
As of this month, Lui was worth US$21 billion, more than double his US$9.5 billion estimate of last year, Forbes magazine reported yesterday. Li, chairman of the SAR's largest developer by market value, Cheung Kong Holdings (0001), is now worth US$32 billion, up just US$2 billion from a year back.
But that was still enough for him to outperform other property magnates due to his investment in several US blue-chip technology stocks. Thanks to the 1.3 times hike in Galaxy's share price last year, 84-year-old Lui, also chairman of developer K Wah International (0173), climbed to the second spot from fifth.
Galaxy, like other local gaming firms, is riding on the boom in Macau's casino industry, where millions of mainlanders flock to gamble every day.
Property magnates, on the other hand, suffered last year from falling sales due to government-imposed curbs to rein in home prices.
The gaming boom also helped Pansy Ho Chiu-king become Hong Kong's richest woman with her net worth jumping 74 percent to US$6.8 billion.
She owns 27 percent of MGM China (2282) - a casino joint venture in Macau with Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts. The 51-year-old daughter of gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun is ninth on the local rich list.
Stanley Ho's fourth wife and SJM Holdings (0880) executive director Angela Leong On-kei climbed to 19th from 24th on a net worth of US$2.85 billion.
Stanley Ho's son, Melco International Development (0200) chairman Lawrence Ho Yau-lung, 36, became the youngest tycoon on the list, appearing for the first time. He was ranked 12th with a net worth of US$3.4 billion. Stanley Ho's third wife, Ina Chan Un-chan, also appeared on the list for the first time - at 46th.
Li Ka-shing's second son, PCCW (0008) chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai, meanwhile, slipped to 34th from 28th with a net worth of US$1.9 billion.
Lui replaced Henderson Land Development (0012) chairman Lee Shau-kee in the second spot. Lee took third with his net worth remaining unchanged at US$20 billion.
The net worth of Thomas Kwok Ping- kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016), fell by 10 percent to US$17.5 billion, putting them in fourth.
Shui On Land (0272) chairman Vincent Lo Hong-shui's rank plunged to 31st from 17th.