Robert Ng

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Robert Ng Chee Siong
黄志祥
Born 1952 (1952) (age 65)
Singapore
Residence Hong Kong
Nationality Singaporean
Employer Sino Group
Known for 1987 Hong Kong Futures Exchange collapse
Net worth Increase $10.3 billion (July 2016, jointly with brother Philip Ng)[1]
Title Chairman
Spouse(s) Yeoh Saw Kheng
Children Daryl, Nikki, David, Alexander
Parent(s) Ng Teng Fong (deceased)
Relatives Yeoh Ghim Seng (father-in-law)

Robert Ng Chee Siong (Chinese: 黄志祥; Jyutping: wong4 zi3 coeng4, born 1952) is the chairman of Hong Kong property development conglomerate Sino Group, a position he has held since 1981.[2]

He is the eldest son of the late Ng Teng Fong, the Singaporean real estate billionaire. Forbes listed the two as the 30th richest people in the world in 1997.[3] As of January 2015, together with his brother, Philip Ng, he has an estimated net worth of $11.5 billion.[1]

Career[edit]

History[edit]

Ng was speculating in futures contracts on the Hong Kong Futures Exchange through two Panamanian-registered companies when the October 1987 global stock market crash began; his paper losses reportedly reached HK$1 billion. At first, Ng refused to pay, claiming to be protected by the limited liability of the companies through which he had traded.[4] This led to the collapse of the futures exchange; trading was also halted on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for four days.[5] An investigation by the Commercial Crime Bureau of the Royal Hong Kong Police revealed that Ng had avoided required margin calls through collusion with one of his brokers.[4] However, in the end, no charges were laid against Ng because the colonial government of Hong Kong felt that prosecuting him would pose a risk to overall market stability.[6] Instead, a deal was worked out which saw Ng repay HK$500 million, with Hong Kong taxpayers providing the rest of the funds needed by the Exchange through a government bailout.[5] Ng reportedly lost a total of US$250 million in his various investment holdings as a result of the crash.[7]

In June 1995, Ng took over as chairman of Yeo Hiap Seng (YHS), a Singapore-listed food and beverages company which had lost US$3.2 million in its previous year of operation. His chairmanship came at the same time as his family increased its stake in the company to 24.9%, just short of the 25% threshold above which they would be required by law to make an offer to buy out all other shareholders. This marked a step forward in his fight with Malaysian billionaire investor Quek Leng Chan for control of YHS and its land holdings in Singapore's Bukit Timah district, which could be worth billions of dollars were they redeveloped into residential real estate.[7] In the end, Ng and his father were able to successfully take advantage of squabbles within the Yeo family to buy up 86% of YHS' stock.[8] Their battle to gain control of the company was later described as "one of the most colourful take-over struggles in Singapore history" and led to YHS' transformation from a food company to a luxury real estate developer.[9]

The Sino Group also spun off their hotel interests into a new company, Sino Hotels, in that year; Ng became chairman of the board of the new company as well from its inception.[10] In early 1997, under Ng's direction, Sino Hotels made several acquisitions, including an 80% stake in the local branch of the Conrad Hotel for HK$2 billion. Ng also predicted that office properties would perform well during that year.[11] For the latter six months of that year, Sino Hotels reported a 66% fall in net interim profits and 80% fall in operating profit, which Ng attributed to lower contributions not just from hotels but from the company's Fortune chain of Chinese restaurants as well. However, the Conrad proved to be a resilient investment, with the average room rate increasing by 14.7% during the months in question.[12]

Positions[edit]

As of 2009, Ng is the director of a number of subsidiaries and associated companies of Sino Group:[13]

  1. Chairman of Tsim Sha Tsui Properties Limited, parent company of Sino Land
  2. Chairman of Sino Hotels (Holdings) Limited
  3. Independent non-executive director of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited
  4. Director of the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong
  5. Member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
  6. Non-executive director of SCMP Group Limited from May 2004 to May 2007
  7. Chairman of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong) since its inception in 1995

Voting and political views[edit]

Due to his business positions, Ng wields a significant amount of power under Hong Kong's functional constituency system. In 1998, he and companies owned by Sino Group controlled roughly 3–4% of the votes in the real estate constituency, and an additional two votes in the tourism constituency.[14][15] The voting power he wields through this system has been described as equivalent to anywhere from 6,100 to 15,940 votes in geographic constituencies, which has led to criticism by the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor.[15][16]

Ng has spoken out in support of the "Application List" system for the sale of government land and in 2008 remained publicly optimistic about the prospects for the Hong Kong property market.[17]

Family and personal life[edit]

Ng is married to Yeoh Saw Kheng (楊素瓊) a fellow ethnic Chinese of Cantonese descent, who is the 3rd daughter of Dr Yeoh Ghim Seng, the former Speaker of Parliament of Singapore[18]

Ng's eldest son Daryl Ng Win Kong (黃永光) was born in 1978. He holds Singaporean citizenship and joined the mandatory military service; at the same time, he speaks passionately about his Hong Kong root and childhood spent in Hong Kong, reminding that he was born at Queen Mary Hospital and attended Diocesan Boys' School rather than an international school in his youth.[19] He later studied in the United States, where he graduated from Columbia University in 2003, and after two years as a project manager in Sino Group was appointed an executive director in 2005. He is generally expected to be his father's successor.[2][20] In 2007 he began to take a more public role, first appearing at a land auction with his father in October that year. During his first time speaking with the media about the property market in March 2008, he spoke only briefly.[21] Since then he has spoken on various occasions and has taken up public duties. He advocates sustainability and heritage, and champions projects like mini hydro power,[22] food waste management, Tai O Heritage Hotel in Hong Kong and The Fullerton Heritage in Singapore. He is married with a son and a daughter. Ng also has two younger sons David Ng Win Loong (黃永龍) and Alexander Ng Win Yew (黃永耀).

Ng's eldest daughter, Nikki Ng Mien Hua (黃敏華) attended Yale University as an undergraduate, and went on to receive a master's degree from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.[23] She was later appointed to the position of general manager of the Sino Group.[24] Her activities outside of Sino Group include membership of the 11th Qingdao Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.[23] Ng also has two younger daughters Jeanne Ng Mien Yi (黃敏儀) and Christine Ng Mien Yin (黃敏音).[25]

Beginning in the late 1990s, the family became more active in the Hong Kong Jockey Club.[25] Daryl, Nikki, and Jeanne own four horses between them,[26][27][28][29] while the elder Ng himself owns eight and his wife one.[30][31] At one point in 2002, Ng was said to be interested in joining the 12-member board of stewards of the Hong Kong Jockey Club; however, some of the club's 200 voting members objected due to Ng's conduct during the futures market collapse in 1987.[32]

Both Daryl and Nikki are members of the five-person board of the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation.[23] The HKHCF was initially set up under the name Nice Brilliant Limited in December 2007, and changed its name in March 2008. In October 2008, the HKHCF made a bid for the revitalisation of the Old Tai O Police Station, with the intention of turning it into a boutique hotel; legislators looked suspiciously at the foundation's ties to the Sino Group, with Fernando Cheung accusing them of being a "one-man NGO" set up for business purposes rather than social service.[33] The HKHCF's bid was eventually successful; their conversion project is planned for completion at the end of 2011, with an estimated cost of HK$64.9 million.[34]

Ng's father Ng Teng Fong died in Singapore on 2 February 2010 at the age of 82 after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage. Ng said his father was "always optimistic and hardworking".[35]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Robert & Philip Ng". Forbes. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Management Profile, Sino Land Company Limited . Simplified Chinese version and Traditional Chinese version
  3. ^ "Biz Notes", The Oklahoma City Journal Record, 15 July 1997, retrieved 5 June 2009 
  4. ^ a b Studwell 2007, p. 116
  5. ^ a b "Remembrance of Things Past: Hong Kong’s market collapse of 20 years ago is worth recalling during the present turmoil", Asia Sentinel, 23 October 2007, retrieved 5 June 2009 
  6. ^ Studwell 2007, p. 117
  7. ^ a b "Tea for Two: Battle for a Great Name and Address", CNN Asianow, 28 July 1995, retrieved 5 June 2009 
  8. ^ Backman 2001, p. 96
  9. ^ Porter, Barry (1 June 1997), "Transforming a soft-drink sluggard", The Standard, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  10. ^ Management profile, Sino Hotels (Holding) Limited, retrieved 16 July 2009 
  11. ^ Guyot, Erik (27 January 1997), "Ng to Continue Prowl For Land in Hong Kong", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved 16 July 2009 
  12. ^ Cruz, Bayani (19 March 1998), "Tourism slump hits Sino Hotel earnings", The Standard, archived from the original on 7 January 2013, retrieved 16 July 2009 
  13. ^ "Sino Land Annual Report from HKEx" (PDF), HKEx, 2 October 2009, retrieved 31 December 2009 
  14. ^ "Rights Group Attacks Electoral System", South China Morning Post, 4 December 1998 
  15. ^ a b "Corporate Voting is Highly Corrupt", Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, December 1998, retrieved 14 July 2009 
  16. ^ Callick 1998, p. 148
  17. ^ "黃志祥讚勾地多元化", Ta Kung Pao, 2 March 2008, archived from the original on 14 May 2008, retrieved 14 July 2009 
  18. ^ "黃志祥家族谷草旺", Apple Daily, 11 February 2009, retrieved 15 July 2009 [permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "香港富豪第三代表現受關注/Performance of Hong Kong's third-generation tycoons closely watched", Ta Kung Pao, 21 June 2009, archived from the original on 1 August 2009, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  20. ^ "Citywalk開幕 信和接班人出席/Sino heirs appear at Citiwalk opening", Ming Pao, 31 July 2008, archived from the original on 29 January 2010, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  21. ^ "信和太子爺首評樓市 講完即閃/Sino prince's first time discussing the property market; finishes speaking and immediately disappears", Ming Pao Finance, 29 March 2008, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  22. ^ Sino Land boss Daryl Ng tries mini-turbines in taps to generate electricity, SCMP, 23 October 2013
  23. ^ a b c About us, Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  24. ^ "「大好友」第三代亮相「荃新天地」/Sino's third generation make public appearance at Citywalk", Wen Wei Po, 4 August 2008, archived from the original on 11 November 2009, retrieved 15 July 2009 ; includes a picture of Daryl and Nikki Ng at a ceremony after the opening of one of the Sino Group's new real estate projects
  25. ^ a b "黃志祥家族大反撲/Robert Ng's family makes a comeback", Apple Daily, 30 March 2008, archived from the original on 14 July 2011, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  26. ^ "North Hill (J082)", Racing Information: Horses, Hong Kong Jockey Club, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  27. ^ "Hawkes Bay (G064)", Racing Information: Horses, Hong Kong Jockey Club, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  28. ^ "Happee Gift (H313)", Racing Information: Horses, Hong Kong Jockey Club, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  29. ^ "Walkonthewildside (G033)", Racing Information: Horses, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  30. ^ "Robert Ng Chee Siong", Racing Information: Owner Search, Hong Kong Jockey Club, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  31. ^ "Yeow Saw Kheng", Racing Information: Owner Search, Hong Kong Jockey Club, retrieved 15 July 2009 
  32. ^ Pun, Pamela (18 June 2002), "HK Confidential", The Standard, retrieved 15 July 2009 [permanent dead link]
  33. ^ Ng, Joyce; Wong, Olga (8 October 2008), "Developer sets up NGO to bid for heritage site: Sino Land wants to turn Old Tai O Police Station into boutique hotel", South China Morning Post 
  34. ^ Batch I of Revitalisation Scheme: Result of selection, Commissioner for Heritage's Office, Development Bureau, 17 February 2008, retrieved 17 March 2010 
  35. ^ 林卓豪; 呂啟思 (February 2010), "封面故事: 過江龍打拼三十年 信置躍身四大", Capital Weekly (222), retrieved 8 March 2010 

Sources[edit]

  • Callick, Rowan (1998), Comrades & capitalists: Hong Kong since the handover, UNSW Press, ISBN 978-0-86840-728-9 
  • Backman, Michael (2001), Asian eclipse: exposing the dark side of business in Asia, J. Wiley, ISBN 978-0-471-47912-3 
  • Studwell, Joe (2007), Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, Atlantic Monthly Press, ISBN 978-0-87113-968-9