Kwek/Quek family Asia's 7th richest: Forbes

Samsung's Lee family tops list a 2nd time with wealth of $41.6b

Singapore's Kwek family and their Malaysian cousins, the Queks - behind the Hong Leong Group - are Asia's seventh richest family, the 2016 Forbes ranking shows.

The family has a combined wealth of US$18.5 billion (S$26 billion), and it is down in the Forbes ranking from sixth place last year.

Topping the list for a second straight year is South Korea's Lee family behind the Samsung Group, with a combined wealth of US$29.6 billion. Thailand's Chearavanont family, which runs the Charoen Pokphand Group, rose to the No. 2 spot with a net worth of US$27.7 billion.

Indian families stood out, with 17 out of the top 50 families hailing from India, up from 14 last year.

Most families on the Forbes list have kept their flock together over the generations. But the 50 also includes those who have gone their separate ways in business or are entirely estranged. For example, India's Ambani family are No. 3 on the list with US$25.8 billion. The family combines the wealth of brothers Mukesh and Anil, who inherited most of their father's fortune on his death in 2002 but opted to do business separately.

Collectively, the families on Forbes' Asia's 50 richest list are worth US$519 billion.

Collectively, the families on Forbes' Asia's 50 richest list are worth US$519 billion.

Seven Singapore families made it to the 2016 list. They include the Kuok family at No. 15 with US$13.4 billion, whose founder Robert Kuok sold his stake in the South China Morning Post in the past year to Alibaba for US$265 million. The Kuok Group owns the Shangri-La hotel chain.

The Ng family is at No. 23 with US$8.7 billion. Patriach Ng Teng Fong's son Philip oversees Singapore developer Far East Organization. The Khoo family, at No. 29 with US$6.2 billion, own the Goodwood Park Hotel and others.

The Kweks in Singapore and Queks in Malaysia own and manage the Hong Leong Group founded by Kwek Hong Png and his three brothers. Today, the globally diversified conglomerate has assets of $25.87 billion with interests in property, financial services, consumer and industrial-goods trading.

Mr Kwek's eldest son, Mr Kwek Leng Beng, runs the Singapore operations. His cousin, Mr Quek Leng Chan, chairs its Malaysia business. Grandson Sherman, Leng Beng's son, was appointed deputy CEO of City Developments in April.

Forbes compiled its first list of Asia's richest families last year. To qualify, a family's wealth and participation in building that fortune has to extend at least three generations. Thus the family of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing is absent from the ranking as, while his sons are active in business, no grandchildren have yet taken serious roles. It is also why while many of Asia's richest families in Asia are of Chinese descent, none is based in China where family conglomerates are a more recent phenomenon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2016, with the headline 'Kwek/Quek family Asia's 7th richest: Forbes'. Subscribe