The Chinese-Australian property billionaire has made huge strides in the past 12 months, as Frank Lowy drops down to fifth ahead of Unibail-Rodamco's takeover of Westfield.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on May 24, 2018

This time last year, self-made property magnate Hui Wing Mau was only the eighth richest Australian alive with a fortune touching $6 billion.

Fast forward 12 months and the Australian-Chinese businessman, once known as Xu Rongmao, has jumped even Sir Frank Lowy to sit in fourth place on the Financial Review Rich List.

It is the result of his net worth ballooning to $9.09 billion, edging the Westfield co-founder into fifth with $8.42 billion.

Lowy is now preparing for his next move after 97.5% of Westfield Corp’s shareholders this week voted in favour of the $32 billion takeover by Paris-based retail giant Unibail-Rodamco.

It’s Hui’s best result yet, having first made the BRW Rich 200 (as it was previously known) in 2013 at number 7, after it became clear that he had attained an Australian citizenship after moving to Darwin with his family in the 1990s, and studying for an MBA at the University of South Australia.

The chairman and founder of Hong-Kong based Shimao Property Holdings then climbed as high as number 5 with the release of the 2015 edition.

And with growth of more than $3 billion in the past year, he has shot back up into the top five. Only trailing Anthony Pratt and family, Harry Triguboff and Gina Rinehart.

The Financial Review reports that on top of Shimao, he owns more than 45,000 heads of cattle and a majority stake in NSW meat processor and exporter Bindaree Beef.

Mining magnate Rinehart was close to usurping property tycoon Triguboff into second place after adding more than $2 billion to her personal fortune.

But it’s Pratt who’s topped the list for the second straight year, and he’s been valued at a record net worth of $12.9 billion — up from $12.59b in 2017.

His family’s Visy cardboard box manufacturing and recycling business continues to flourish in Australia, and Pratt Industries is exploding in the lucrative American market.

Pratt now has 70 cardboard-box making and paper recycling factories placed around the United States.

Ten wealthiest Australians

  • Anthony Pratt & family — $12.9b
  • Harry Triguboff — $12.77b
  • Gina Rinehart — $12.68b
  • Hui Wing Mau — $9.09b
  • Frank Lowy — $8.42b
  • Ivan Glasenberg — $8.32b
  • John Gandel — $6.45b
  • Andrew Forrest — $6.10b
  • Vivek Sehgal — $5.88b
  • James Packer — $5.25b