Behind the curtain: ASEAN’s 4 most secretive tycoons

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bullion“To be rich is glorious!” China’s Deng Xiaoping once famously exclaimed.

Many in Asia would still agree – but wouldn’t be as bold to say it.

The reformist Chinese leader’s staunch judgments at the command of China are held responsible for ushering in the economic surge better known as globalisation.

In ASEAN in particular (not discounting China and India), a potent cocktail blending the benefits of export-led economies and under-the-table government support has bred a nebulous class of tycoons that prefer to enjoy their prosperity in secret.

Their shyness in public may be well founded, because as aggregate economic growth comes to Asia, so has greater income inequality.

“Rising inequality in developing Asia is closely associated with rapid increases in the very top income groups – that is, the rich are getting richer much faster,” the Asian Development Outlook 2012 reported produced by the Asian Development Bank recently revealed.

Below are four ASEAN businessmen that have been fruitful in this economic order, so much so that they prefer not to draw unnecessary attention.

dhanin-chearavanontDhanin Chearavanont

Dhanin Chearavanont is the patriarch of a Thai-Chinese business family renowned for rarely making media appearances. Named the richest man in Thailand by Forbes several years running, he is the leader of CP Group, one of Asia’s largest conglomerate that has vast stakes in its neighbours, including Malaysia, where it is the largest producer of aquaculture.

As Deng Xiaoping was leading its opening up and liberalisation policies in China to the north, CP Group became the favoured partner in Thailand for international brands such as Honda, Walmart, and Tesco. Today CP Food, the agricultural arm of CP Group, is undergoing massive expansion in the Philippines, as well as at home in Thailand, while the group is looking to close a rural finance deal in China.

Mr Dhanin is worth $7.4 billion.

CEO's And Corporate Executives Gather For Annual Allan And Co Gathering In Sun ValleyAnanda Krishnan 

Malaysia’s richest man since Robert Kuok left for Hong Kong, Ananda Krishnan has been accused by the media for playing a double role as an undercover politician, shuns the lime light and retains a well-crafted low profile. What little the media does know of is that of his extravagance: Krishnan possesses as private jet, a huge yacht and homes in Switzerland, Australia and London, Joe Studwell in his 2007 biography Asian Godfathers pointed out.

Krishnan is a real estate, telecommunications and media tycoon that has known business stakes in Astro, Maxis, Sri Lanka Telecom, and was a founding director of state oil giant Petronas. But, most notably, he is credited with building the Petronas Towers, briefly the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. Krishnan also held a monopoly franchise on Malaysia’s racetrack betting, where a steady supply of cash was used to grow his portfolio.

Mr Krishnan is worth $9.9 billion.

Quek Leng ChanQuek Leng Chan

Although not among the top 10 wealthiest in the region, Quek Leng Chan has groomed the archetypal image of the tucked-away tycoon persona. Chairman and CEO of Hong Leong Group, Quek is nonetheless one of the richest people in Malaysia.

Quek is near pathologically adverse to public appears and said to prefer the confines of his penthouse, located at the top of the Hong Leong office tower in Kuala Lumpur. Quek works in partnership with his cousin, Kwek Leng Beng, a real estate tycoon who oversees the Singaporean operations of Hong Leong – an even more secretive billionaire who is infamous for taken pre-written scripts to shareholder meetings.

Mr Chan is worth $2.9 billion.

lucio-tan1Lucio Tan 

Lucio Tan is a Chinese immigrant that found his wealth in the Philippines under the Marcos regime, when he started Fortune Tobacco, the country’s largest tobacco company. Although a non-smoker himself, his reach in the tobacco and alcohol business represent the strong lobby the Philippines carries today, named the strongest in Asia.

Tan owns Tanduay Holdings, one of the world’s largest rum makers, Asia Brewery, the second largest brewer in the Philippines, and is the primary stockholder of Philippine National Bank. His shadowy days under the Marcos regime and history of non-assimilation to Philippine culture have made him weary of media contact.

Tan is the Philippines second richest man at $4.5 billion.

 

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

“To be rich is glorious!” China’s Deng Xiaoping once famously exclaimed.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

bullion“To be rich is glorious!” China’s Deng Xiaoping once famously exclaimed.

Many in Asia would still agree – but wouldn’t be as bold to say it.

The reformist Chinese leader’s staunch judgments at the command of China are held responsible for ushering in the economic surge better known as globalisation.

In ASEAN in particular (not discounting China and India), a potent cocktail blending the benefits of export-led economies and under-the-table government support has bred a nebulous class of tycoons that prefer to enjoy their prosperity in secret.

Their shyness in public may be well founded, because as aggregate economic growth comes to Asia, so has greater income inequality.

“Rising inequality in developing Asia is closely associated with rapid increases in the very top income groups – that is, the rich are getting richer much faster,” the Asian Development Outlook 2012 reported produced by the Asian Development Bank recently revealed.

Below are four ASEAN businessmen that have been fruitful in this economic order, so much so that they prefer not to draw unnecessary attention.

dhanin-chearavanontDhanin Chearavanont

Dhanin Chearavanont is the patriarch of a Thai-Chinese business family renowned for rarely making media appearances. Named the richest man in Thailand by Forbes several years running, he is the leader of CP Group, one of Asia’s largest conglomerate that has vast stakes in its neighbours, including Malaysia, where it is the largest producer of aquaculture.

As Deng Xiaoping was leading its opening up and liberalisation policies in China to the north, CP Group became the favoured partner in Thailand for international brands such as Honda, Walmart, and Tesco. Today CP Food, the agricultural arm of CP Group, is undergoing massive expansion in the Philippines, as well as at home in Thailand, while the group is looking to close a rural finance deal in China.

Mr Dhanin is worth $7.4 billion.

CEO's And Corporate Executives Gather For Annual Allan And Co Gathering In Sun ValleyAnanda Krishnan 

Malaysia’s richest man since Robert Kuok left for Hong Kong, Ananda Krishnan has been accused by the media for playing a double role as an undercover politician, shuns the lime light and retains a well-crafted low profile. What little the media does know of is that of his extravagance: Krishnan possesses as private jet, a huge yacht and homes in Switzerland, Australia and London, Joe Studwell in his 2007 biography Asian Godfathers pointed out.

Krishnan is a real estate, telecommunications and media tycoon that has known business stakes in Astro, Maxis, Sri Lanka Telecom, and was a founding director of state oil giant Petronas. But, most notably, he is credited with building the Petronas Towers, briefly the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. Krishnan also held a monopoly franchise on Malaysia’s racetrack betting, where a steady supply of cash was used to grow his portfolio.

Mr Krishnan is worth $9.9 billion.

Quek Leng ChanQuek Leng Chan

Although not among the top 10 wealthiest in the region, Quek Leng Chan has groomed the archetypal image of the tucked-away tycoon persona. Chairman and CEO of Hong Leong Group, Quek is nonetheless one of the richest people in Malaysia.

Quek is near pathologically adverse to public appears and said to prefer the confines of his penthouse, located at the top of the Hong Leong office tower in Kuala Lumpur. Quek works in partnership with his cousin, Kwek Leng Beng, a real estate tycoon who oversees the Singaporean operations of Hong Leong – an even more secretive billionaire who is infamous for taken pre-written scripts to shareholder meetings.

Mr Chan is worth $2.9 billion.

lucio-tan1Lucio Tan 

Lucio Tan is a Chinese immigrant that found his wealth in the Philippines under the Marcos regime, when he started Fortune Tobacco, the country’s largest tobacco company. Although a non-smoker himself, his reach in the tobacco and alcohol business represent the strong lobby the Philippines carries today, named the strongest in Asia.

Tan owns Tanduay Holdings, one of the world’s largest rum makers, Asia Brewery, the second largest brewer in the Philippines, and is the primary stockholder of Philippine National Bank. His shadowy days under the Marcos regime and history of non-assimilation to Philippine culture have made him weary of media contact.

Tan is the Philippines second richest man at $4.5 billion.

 

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