Do you really know Robert Kuok? Part 1

  • Wisdom
Reading Time for this post: 5 minutes

Born in 1923 on October 6th, having an age of 96 today, Robert Kuok is well known as “Sugar King of Asia”. Later on, he gained another address which is “Hotel King”. However, his business is not only in these two areas. The business Kuok’s family running covered the whole world. It is a big business kingdom. Other than holding different kinds of enterprises in Malaysia, Robert’s business can also be found in Singapore, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Fiji, Australia and etc. The types of enterprise he holding range from white sugar, hotel properties, real estate, ship business, and food oil. Not only he successfully built a big business country, but he also created some miraculous incidents in his whole life.

Robert Kuok has control over 80% of the raw sugar market in Malaysia. It even reached the world level sugar market by 20%. In the 70s, Robert advanced his career into the hotel and restaurant business. He founded the very well-known Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and expand it throughout the whole world. Most of its assets are located in Hong Kong such as grand residence, hotels, malls, office and etc.

Robert Kuok is the most successful Chinese entrepreneur in Malaysia. In 2019 The World’s Billionaires, he is placed 104th with total assets of 12.8 Billion USD, who are the richest individual in Malaysia. He is also the only rich person in Malaysia who has total assets exceed 10 Billion USD.

In 2012 December 12nd, Robert Kuok received the China Economic Person of the Year Award. In September 2018, he is one of the 10 World Most Influential Chinese Entrepreneurs according to REPORT ON DEVELOPMENT OF OVERSEAS CHINESE ENTREPRENEURS 2018.

In 1973, Robert Kuok suddenly received a mysterious call that requires him to go Bao Hua Building, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong to have a face to face business discussion. Immediately, he takes a plane from Singapore to Hong Kong. At there, he met two China Foreign Trade officers. They said that China is in shortage of money and sugar. They desired him to help China buying 3 Hundred Thousand Tons of white sugar. This is not a small amount of sugar at that time. No much place can reserve such amount of sugar. Therefore, Robert send his people to Brazil to buy sugar. At the same time, Robert attended a lot meetings related to sugar industry throughout the whole world so people won’t suspect him on buying sugar from Brazil. After 4 days, he immediately dispose all the sugar(Futures contract) he bought. He earned 0.005 Billion from this trade.

Robert Kuok did not use any of the money he earned. Instead, he transfers all the money back into China’s government bank account. Through this incident, Robert has become a trader who helped China in monopolizing the world white sugar. Relying on his business relationship with China, step by step, he has become the worldwide well-known “Sugar King of Asia”.

In 1983, Chinese economic reform occurred. To stimulate the economy, China government decided to build a trade center at Jianguo Gate, Beijing, China. At that time, China’s economy is not as advance as today. China is still poor at that time. They do not have enough money to build this building. But it is compulsory for Chinese economic reform. They try to find foreign investors however the terms and conditions they give are very mean. 

Again, Robert Kuok stands up as he heard the news. Without a doubt, he invests all the money (about 0.1 Billion) he saved in Bangkok Bank, Hong Kong into this building project. Out of the blue, due to political issues, this project has been delayed half a year and need another 0.1 Billion to sustain their progress. Robert becomes savior again this time. He uses his ownership of the sugar factory to borrow money from the bank. As Robert has a good reputation on his finances, his loan gets approved and use the money to support the delayed project.

From the stories above, we can see that Robert has his personality and charisma as a successful person. His view is not only on the present but the large business opportunity in the future. Helping China solving its financial crisis might not seem to be a smart move in the past and could be no avail to him. However, he successfully proved that his decision was correct.

In 1991, Robert Kuok release his very own Jin Long Yu brand cooking oil (famous in China) and other food product such as noodles, soybean, rice, etc. The Kuok Group a.k.a. Wilmar International is the first food oil company in China that approval from ISO 9000 family (food quality management standard) and ISO 22000 (food safety standard).

We hope that this post is insightful for you. Good luck and all the best!

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