Hong Kong’s Oldest Jeweler to Become World’s Richest Chinese

December 7, 2011 11:23 pm Last Updated: December 7, 2011 11:23 pm

Hong Kong’s largest retail jeweler has announced an Initial Public Offering that is expected to be worth $2.8 billion when it is listed on Dec. 15.

This IPO, combined with other holdings, will likely move the store’s patriarch, Cheng Yu-Tung, into the top spot as the wealthiest Chinese, surpassing Kashing Li, Chairman of Hutchinson Whampoa Limited.

Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Company has been in business for over 80 years, and outpaced Tiffany’s in revenue last year with $813 million coming in.

The company has 1500 stores, 89 in Hong Kong and Macau and the rest in mainland China.

Over one billion shares will be offered at about two dollars per share, which will value the company at over US$20 billion when it begins trading on the Hong Kong Exchange. However, nearly 90 percent of the company will still remain closely held.

The event has attracted the attention of noted investor George Soros, who, anticipating a strengthening demand for gold and jewelry among Chinese, intends to purchase 40 million dollars’ worth of shares, Dow Jones Newswire has reported.

Since opening a branch of the Quantum Fund last year in Hong Kong, this is Soros’ largest investment to date.

According to official statistics, gold exports from Hong Kong to mainland China in September were five times higher than last year, and the demand is expected to keep increasing.

Forbes calculates Cheng Yu-tung’s personal net worth to be around nine billion dollars this year.

Cheng Yu-tung was born on Aug. 26, 1925 in Lunjiao, Shunde District of Foshan in Guangdong Province. He is a Hong Kong businessman and president of the New World Group. In the January 2008 issue of Forbes Magazine he was ranked as the fourth richest person in Hong Kong.

Read the original Chinese article.