"Be courageous doing business or you'll be poor forever."
Called the 'sugar king' and 'hotel king', Robert Kuok rarely appears in the media. He lives a life away from the media and is still a mysterious figure in the eyes of the public. According to 'Forbes', Robert Kuok's net worth is estimated to be around $14.7 billion on Feb 2012, making him the richest person in Malaysia and second richest in Southeast Asia.
Although already born wealthy, Kuok's courage, talent and superior judgement helped him to achieve his dreams of becoming the person he is today. He researched many business areas but decided to settle on the sugar industry.
"If children threw tantrums at night, the adults just needed to give them some sugar and they would remain quiet. Granulated sugar was cheap so it was a business that could earn profits." Kuok's early career focused on the sugar industry and founded the first homemade sugar factory in Malaysia. He saw the opportunity to quickly establish a sales network throughout Malaysia and is now controlling about 10% of the world's total sugar demands.
Of course, Kuok's flair for entrepreneurship didn't just stop there. His diverse business expanded to other industries including industrial, plantation, shipping, mining, real estate, international trade, insurance, security and
construction, among others. He eventually expanded into the hotel industry. In 1971, Kuok built his first Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. Six years later, in 1977, he opened the Hong Kong outpost of Shangri-La. In 2011, Shangri-La Asia, the region's largest luxury hotel group, managed 72 hotels, with half of them located in China.
Though Kuok officially retired in 1992, he has not stopped going into the office. His vigour, though already 90, is seen even as of 2014 and has instilled a sense of respect and responsibility among his employees. He is a shining beacon to all and has thought many people that success ultimately comes from determination and persistence.