Lui Che Woo – A Remarkable Journey from Street Vendor to Billionaire Magnate
Lui Che Woo is a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. As the founder and chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group and K.Wah International Holdings Ltd., he has left an indelible mark on the business and entertainment landscapes.
As per Forbes, his entrepreneurial prowess and strategic leadership have earned him recognition as the seventh richest man in Hon Kong. However, Lui’s success extends beyond financial achievements.
Under his guidance, K.Wah International Holding Ltd. has flourished into a multinational conglomerate interested in gambling, property, entertainment and leisure, construction materials, and hotels.
Boasting a staggering portfolio of over 200 subsidiaries and employing more than 33,000 individuals, Lui’s empire and influence span from Macau's gambling market all the way to the entertainment industry in North America.
His contributions have not gone unnoticed by the British monarchy. In 1982, he was bestowed the prestigious honor of being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth. Additionally, he was appointed as a justice of the peace (JP) in 1986, further attesting to his influential standing.
This text delves into Lui Che Woo net worth and his captivating biography, tracing his remarkable journey as a business titan, philanthropist, and key player in the gambling industry.
Lui Che Woo Highlights
- 7th richest man in Hong Kong with an estimated net worth of $14.2 billion
- Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
- Named the Business Person of the Year at the DHL/South China Morning Post Hong Kong Business Awards in 2007
- Member of the standing committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jiangmen, People's Republic of China
Lui Che Woo Early Years and Upbringing
Lui Che Woo was born in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, on August 9, 1929. His family’s eventful journey shaped his early years.
After amassing a fortune running a laundry business in San Francisco, his family relocated to China. However, due to the upheaval caused by war, they sought refuge in Hong Kong in 1934. Facing financial challenges, young Woo stepped up at the tender age of 13 to support his family. He took to the streets of the British baloney, selling food to make ends meet.
The early experience instilled in him a sense of resilience and determination that would define his future endeavors.
In the 1950s, Woo ventured into the construction industry by importing surplus materials from the US Army to Hong Kong. However, faced with the unexpected challenge of unsold stone crutches, he swiftly adapted and transformed the situation into an opportunity.
This led to establishing his own quarrying business, marking the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey.
Woo’s humble beginning and ability to seize opportunities in the face of adversity laid the foundation for his future success. From these early years, he developed the skills and tenacity that would enable him to build an empire and leave an indelible mark on the world of business and philanthropy.
Lui Che Woo Investment Career and Ventures
At the age of 25, Lui Che Woo founded K. Wah Group, which would go on to become the largest quarrying operator in Hong Kong, showcasing his ability to spot opportunities and build successful ventures.
Not content with his accomplishments in quarrying, Woo ventures into property development. In 1962, he made his first foray into residential projects, setting the stage for his future success in the real estate industry.
In 1979, Woo embarked on his first hotel project, transforming an existing East Tsim Sha Tsui property into what is now the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong. This marked his entry into the hospitality sector and set the tone for his future endeavors.
Expanding his reach beyond Hong Kong, Woo made a significant move into the U.S. hotel business in 1985 with the establishment of Stanford Hotels, showcasing his global ambitions.
One of the billionaire’s most significant achievements came in 2022 when he and Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sans secured a gaming concession in Macau after the four-decade monopoly of local tycoon Stanley Ho ended.
However, within a year, differences in strategy led to a split in the partnerships. Woo’s approach focused on catering to Asian tastes, while Adelson sought to replicate the Las Vegas experience in China.
In 2011, Woo’s Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited unveiled the impressive Galaxy Macau casino and hotel, featuring 2,200 rooms, 50 restaurants, 450 gambling tables, and even an artificial beach with a wave pool, solidifying his presence in the land-based casino industry.
Continuing his upward trajectory, he surpassed Sands China in 2016, cementing Woo's position as Macau's market leader and further solidifying his legacy.
“If you don't take risks, you won't be able to do anything. I was confident I could use my experience to change and improve the way Macau worked.”
A Family Business
While in his nineties, Lue Che Woo shifted his focus towards the gold course, leaving the operations of his casino business to his eldest son Francis.
Meanwhile, his younger son, Lawrence, takes the helm at Stanford Hotels. This San Fransicso-based company owns eight Hiltons, two Sheratons, and three Marriotts across the United States.
Alexander, Lui’s third son, holds the executive director position at K.Wah International, overseeing the management of their Hong Kong properties.
Joining the family in their business endeavors is also Paddy, his eldest daughter. She serves as an executive director at both K.Wah International and Galaxy Entertainment.
His youngest daughter, Eileen, contributes to Galaxy Entertainment as the director of human resources and administration.
Philantrophy, Awards and Other Recognitions
In addition to his successful business ventures, Woo has dedicated himself to supporting education, medical research, and worthwhile causes. His philanthropic efforts and contributions to various institutions have earned him numerous awards and recognitions.
Woo holds esteemed positions in various tertiary institutions, exemplifying his commitment to education.
He serves as the founding honorary president of the University of Hong Kong Foundation of Educational Development and Research. He is a member of the board of trustees of the United College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Lui Che Woo's generosity extends beyond Hong Kong’s borders. In 1999, Woo provided funds to establish the Lui Che Woo Research Laboratory at the Stanford University Medical Centre.
He also facilitated academic exchanges by establishing the Lu Che Woo Awards for CUHK/Cornell Student Exchange Programme in Hospitality Management in 2002.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong has also benefited greatly from Woo’s philanthropy. In 2012, he donated to the establishment of the Lui Che Woo Institute of Innovative Medicine.
Furthermore, in 2015, he pledged a substantial amount to support outstanding medical research students pursuing further studies overseas.
Woo’s massive philanthropy contributions have not gone unnoticed, resulting in numerous honorary degrees and prestigious awards. He has been conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the University of Victoria and the degree of Doctor of Social Science, Honoris Causee, by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In recognition of his philanthropy and overall contributions, Queen Elizabeth made Woo a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBA) in 1982. She also appointed him as a Justice of the Peace in 1986.
He was also awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star (GBS) in 2005 and named Business Person of the Year at the DHL/South China Morning Post Hong Kong Business Awards in 2007.
The HKSAR government honored him with the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 2012 for his significant contributions to Hong Kong.
Lui Che Woo Net Worth and Wealth
Lui Che Woo net worth is a result of his entrepreneurial achievements and strategic investments. His journey toward becoming a self-made billionaire began supplying gravel during Hon Kong’s postwar construction boom, where he made his initial mark.
Woo is the chairman of two prominent companies listed in Hong Kong: Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group and property developer K.Was International Holdings.
He holds a substantial ownership stake in both entities, with 37 percent ownership in Galaxy Entertainment and 53 percent in K.Wah International.
With his significant business holding, Woo has secured his place among the world’s wealthiest individuals. Forbes ranked Woo as the 128th richest person in the world and the seventh richest person in Hong Kong, boasting a staggering net worth of $14.2 billion.
Where Is Lui Che Woo Today?
Today, Lui Che Woo continues to hold the position of chairman at both Galaxy Entertainment Group, a Macau casino operator, and K.Wah International Holding, a property development company.
While he has delegated most of the day-to-day operations to his children, he remains actively involved in key decision-making processes.
Apart from his business responsibilities, Woo enjoys spending significant time playing golf.
Despite his less hands-on approach, Woo’s presence is still felt, as he retains the final say in important matters, ensuring his continued influence and guidance in the companies he has built.
What Is Lui Che Woo Net Worth?
According to Forbes, Lui Che Woo ranks as the 128th richest person in the world and the seventh richest person in Hong Kong, boasting a staggering net worth of $14.2 billion.
How Did Lui Che Woo Make His Money?
Lui Che Woo earned his first significant money supplying gravel during Hon Kong’s postwar construction boom. He made the rest of his wealth in the entertainment and hospitality industry.
Does Lui Che Woo Have Any Children?
Lui Che Woo is married and has five children involved in the family business. His son Francis runs the casino business, his younger son Lawrence runs the hospitality business, and his third son Alexander handles the construction companies.
His daughter Paddy is an executive director in his Macau companies, while his youngest daughter Eileen takes care of administration.