Four big families of Hong Kong

The Four big families of Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港四大家族)[1][not specific enough to verify] was a term for four notable Chinese-Hong Kong business families in the era of British Hong Kong.[2] The four families were Li, Ho, Hui and Lo, respectively,[3][4] while some sources substitute Hui with the Fu family, headed by Fu Tak-iong [zh].[2] Other sources substitute Hui and Lo with the Chau and Lee families, notable for Chau Wing-tai [zh], Chau Sik-nin and Lee Hysan, etc.[5][6][7]

The head of four families are Li Sek-peng (李石朋), Robert Ho Tung (何東), Hui Oi-chow (許愛周) and Lo Cheung-shiu (羅長肇).[1] Today, the two families most recognizable by regular Hong Kong citizens are the Li and Ho group descendants.[1]


The following families and their descendants are listed below. Each indentation is at least one generation down, but not necessarily the next generation. Not all the descendants are shown. Most members of these families have reached tycoon status.

Li family notablesEdit

  • Li Shek-pang (李石朋, 1863–1916) also known as Li Pui-choi (李佩材) - Originally from Guangdong

Ho family notablesEdit

  • Robert Hotung (何東, 1862–1956) - Businessman, philanthropist
    • Victoria Hotung (何錦姿, 1897–92) ∞ Man-kam Lo
    • Edward Ho (何世儉, 1902–57)
      • Eric Ho (何鴻章, 1926–2017)
    • Robert Ho (何世禮, 1906–98)
    • George Ho (何佐芝, 1918–2014) - Founder of the Commercial Radio Hong Kong[12]
      • George Joseph Ho (何驥 1950–) - Chairman of the Commercial Radio Hong Kong
  • Ho Fook (何福, 1863–1926) - Businessman, philanthropist
    • Ho Sai-kwong (何世光)
      • Stanley Ho (何鴻燊, 1921–) - Head of Macau casinos
        • Pansy Ho (何超瓊, 1962–) - Actress and managing director of various casinos
        • Josie Ho (何超儀, 1974–) - Singer, actress
        • Lawrence Ho (何猷龍, 1976–) - Chief exec of Melco International development[13]
    • Ho Sai-chuen (何世全, 1891–1938) - Doctor and member of the Sanitary Board
    • Ho Sai-ki (何世奇)
      • Eric Peter Ho (何鴻鑾, 1927–2015) - Hong Kong government official
  • Ho Kom-tong (何甘棠, 1866–1950) - Businessman, philanthropist
    • Grace Ho (何愛瑜) ∞ Lee Hoi-chuen
      • Bruce Lee (李小龍, 1940–73) - Movie star and martial artist
        • Brandon Lee (李國豪, 1965–93) - Actor and martial artist

Hui family notablesEdit

Lo family notablesEdit

Other definitionsEdit

Victor Wan-tai Zheng, the co-author of Grand Old Man of Hong Kong: Sir Robert Ho Tung (2007)[18] and Opium King: Lee Hysan (2011)[19] listed 10 "Wealthy Chinese Family Busineses [sic] in Hong Kong" in the following order in his PhD thesis: Ho Tung Family, Li Shek-pang Family, Fung Pak-liu Family (note: 馮柏燎, co-founder of Li & Fung), Lee Leung-yick Family (note: father of Lee Hysan), Chau Wing-tai Family, Hui Oi-chow Family, Cheung Chuk-shan [zh] Family, Kowk [sic] (Wing On) Family, Fung Ping-shan [zh] Family and Tang Chi-ngong [zh] Family.[20]:52-62 In his thesis, he also listed families such as Wang Lo Kat [sic] (Wong Lo Kat) and Lee Kam Kee [sic] (Lee Kum Kee), etc. in a separate category.[20]:46–52 The thesis was modified and published as Chinese Family Business and the Equal Inheritance System: Unravelling the Myth in 2010.[21]

Other authors also introduced new Four big families for post colonial Hong Kong. However, much more variant existed. Such as Li Ka-shing, Kwok Tak-seng, Lee Shau-kee and Cheng Yu-tung families[22][23] or Tung Chee-hwa, James Tien, Henry Tang and Rong Yiren families.[24]

Some academic research even expanded into the big 10 families: Li Ka-shing family, Swire family, Keswick family, Kwok Tak-seng family, Pao Yue-kong family, Kadoorie family, Lee Shau-kee family, Cheng Yu-tung family, Chan Tseng-Hsi family and Ng Teng Fong family.[25] Most of the latter members are overlapped with another concept "real estate tycoons" (Chinese: 地產霸權; literally: 'property/real estate hegemony'), which popularize by Alice Poon's Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong. In her book, she listed the Lis [Ka-shing], the Kwoks [Tak-seng], the Lees [Shau-kee], the Chengs [Yu-tung], the Pao [Yue-kong] and Woo [Peter] and the Kadoories, as the powerful Hong Kong families who controlled "property-cum-utility/public services conglomerates".[26] The Chinese translation of the book, used 香港六大家族; 'Hong Kong "big 6" families', as section title.[27]

As of 2018, Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau-kee were ranked first and second in the Forbes' Hong Kong's 50 Richest respectively, while Thomas and Raymond Kwok brothers, sons of the late Kwok Tak-seng, were ranked 4th; their eldest brother, Walter Kwok (d. 20 October 2018), was ranked 10th alone. While Richard Li, the younger son of Li Ka-shing, was separately ranked as the 19th. Henry Cheng, son of the late Cheng Yu-tung, was ranked 49th. Some of the members of the aforementioned "new" families were also on the list, such as Peter Woo, son-in-law of the late Pao Yue-kong (6th), Michael Kadoorie (12th), Tung Chee-hwa and Chee-chen brothers (17th) and Chan Tan Ching-fen, widow of Chan Tseng-His [sic] (35th).[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Sing Tao Daily. Section C-4 HR news. 7/31/2007.
  2. ^ a b 香港商戰風雲錄 (in Chinese). 名流出版社.
  3. ^ "四大望族 李家縱橫政商界". Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Media Chinese International. 11 November 2011.
  4. ^ Ng Hong-mun (21 December 2011). 四大家族. 生活語絲 column. Wen Wei Po (in Chinese). Hong Kong. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  5. ^ 名門後人周嘉豪 涉騙1700萬貸款罪成候判. Bastille Post (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  6. ^ 新民周刊 (in Chinese). No. 26–52. p. 27 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Behind Brandon Chau's big name lies big ambition". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. 1 June 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2018. With their family legacy dating back to the mid-19th century, the Chaus rose at a time of other prominent local aristocrats: Lee Hysan, Li Shek-peng and Sir Robert Hotung. Under patriarch Chau Wing-tai, the family struck it rich trading gold and silver. The Chaus are widely considered to be one of the "Big Four" tycoon families of Hong Kong's colonial age that made their fortune alongside the British "hongs", or trade houses - names including Jardine, Russell, Butterfield & Swire and Wheelock.
  8. ^ Chinese university of HK. "" Opening Ceremony of Li Koon Chun Hall. The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  9. ^ Chinese university of HK. "" Mrs Daisy Li Woo Tze-ha. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ 港府救市事件簿. Wen Wei Po (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  12. ^ Hong Kong university. "" Jessie Ho Professorship in Neuroscience 何馮月燕基金教授席(神經科學). Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  13. ^ WhartonHK. "" Biography of Lawrence Ho. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  14. ^ The Standard HK. "The" Chief condemns stadium violence. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  15. ^ SFOC. "SFOC." Elected officer. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  16. ^ Lo and Lo. "Lo and Lo. Archived 4 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine." About us. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  17. ^ " Archived March 25, 2009, at" CE mourns Lo Tak-shing's death . Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  18. ^ 鄭宏泰; 黃紹倫 (2007). 香港大老:何東 (in Chinese). Joint Publishing (Hong Kong). ISBN 9789620426957.
  19. ^ 鄭宏泰 [Victor Wan-tai Zheng]; 黃紹倫 (2011). 一代煙王:利希慎 (in Chinese). Joint Publishing (Hong Kong). ISBN 9789620430664.
  20. ^ a b Zheng, Victor Wan-tai (2002). "A History of Old-established Families and the Chaozhou Community in Hong Kong". The Transfer of Ownership and Leadership: A Study of Chinese Family Business and Inheritance (PhD thesis). University of Hong Kong. hdl:10722/36034.
  21. ^ Zheng, Victor (2010). Written at Hong Kong. Chinese Family Business and the Equal Inheritance System: Unravelling the Myth (ebook). Routledge Contemporary China Series. Abingdon, New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group). ISBN 978-0-203-86141-7.
  22. ^ 【2015香港富豪排位】四大家族地位動搖. Orange News (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  23. ^ Sun, Nikki (18 April 2018). "After Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong's property tycoons inherit tough market". Nikkei Asia Review. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  24. ^ 李秀娟; 李虹 (September 2007). 富不過三代 [Wealth Doesn't Last 3 Generations: How Family Businesses Can Maintain Prosperity] (in Chinese). Singapore: 八方文化創作室 [Global Publishing] (World Scientific). ISBN 978-981-4139-75-5.
  25. ^ 香港的第三产业 (in Chinese). 广东人民出版社. 1992.
  26. ^ Poon, Alice (2011). "The Ruling Class". Written at Richmond (BC). Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong (hardback) (2nd ed.). Singapore, Hong Kong: Enrich Professional Publishing. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-981-4339-10-0. In all cases, these property-cum-utility/public services conglomerates are controlled by powerful Hong Kong families: the Lis of the Cheung Kong/Hutchison group, the Kwoks of the Sun Hung Kai Properties group, the Lees of the Henderson group, the Chengs of the New World Development group, the Pao and Woo of the Wharf/Wheelock group and the Kadoories of the CLP Holdings group.
  27. ^ 潘慧嫻 [Poon, Alice] (July 2010). 誰統治香港 [The Ruling Class]. Written at Richmond (BC). dei6 caan2 baa3 kyun4 地產霸權 [Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong] (in Chinese). Translated by 顏詩敏 (1st ed.). Hong Kong: 天窗出版社 [Enrich Publishing], Hong Kong Economic Journal (co-publishers). p. 45. ISBN 978-988-19218-7-1.
  28. ^ "Hong Kong's 50 Richest 2018". Forbes. Retrieved 18 October 2018.