Robert Kuok is a Malaysian Chinese billionaire businessman, known as the chairman of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Chain as well as the richest man in Malaysia. A number of listed companies in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore is controled by his Kuok Group. His business mainly focuses on sugar, palm oil, shipping to real estate. A big source of wealth is a stake in palm oil giant Wilmar International, which is run by nephew Kuok Khoon Hong, a Singapore billionaire. With net worth of 17.3 billion based on Bloomberg Billionaires Index in December 2012, he became the 40th richest person in the world.
He worked for the rice-trading department of Japanese industrial conglomerate Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha during the period 1942-1945. After that, he returned to his family's business in Johor. In 1949, together with his two brothers and a cousin Kuok Hock Chin, he founded Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd, trading agricultural commodities. Ten year later, he cooperated with two prominent Japanese partners to established Malayan Sugar Manufacturing Co. Bhd. His first Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore and the second, Kowloon Shangri-La, in Hong Kong was built in 1971 and 1977 respectively.
He has eight children after experiencing two marriages. His nephew is
Kuok Khoon Hong-a Singapore billionaire.