22 October 2016
After spending two months to practice a 15-second dance routine, young tycoon Lau Ming-wai changed his Facebook profile pic into a dancing monkey. Credit: Facebook
After spending two months to practice a 15-second dance routine, young tycoon Lau Ming-wai changed his Facebook profile pic into a dancing monkey. Credit: Facebook

Why Lau Ming-wai still has the best ‘package’

Lau Ming-wai may not be the best paid company executive in Hong Kong, but he certainly seems to have the best overall “package” that any corporate big shot could have in Hong Kong.

The son of flamboyant real-estate tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung made HK$14.21 million in 2015, up 14.3 percent from the previous year, according to the annual report of Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd. (00127.HK).

The younger Lau is non-executive chairman of the group property flagship.

The youth icon, for sure, is not making more than some of his rich second generation business peers.

New World Development (00017.HK) vice chairman Adrian Cheng Chi-kong, who is one year older than Lau, for instance, made as much as HK$21.7 million last year.

Also, Lau’s salary is just a fraction of what the city’s best-paid executive, CK Hutchison group (00001.HK) managing director Canning Fok Kin-ning, takes as annual compensation.

Fok, who has dominated the best-paid list in town since making it to the nine-digit bracket in 1999, broke through the HK$200 million mark last year.

The 35 year-old Lau, who heads Hong Kong’s Commission on Youth, has a long way to go in terms of leaping to the top of salary charts, but he is still regarded as having the best overall “package” — in terms of his appeal to the opposite sex.

A few months ago, Lau participated in an RTHK reality show “Who am I” where a couple of contestants, without revealing their identities, had to answer questions from a group of women who were tasked with picking an “alpha male”. 

In the contest, Lau was pitted against young actor Neo Yau Hok-sau for the women’s vote.

Yau won the first round, but when the ladies were asked to vote again with the identities of the pair known, Lau got the top marks.

One of the women who switched sides justified her decision by pointing to Lau’s better “package”.

The young tycoon later commented in a Facebook post that the young women appeared to have taken an extremely “realistic” approach.

Not many young rich bachelors have the kind of curriculum vitae that Lau possesses.

He has a PhD in Law – a real degree, not an honorary title – from King’s College, London and is also a certified financial analyst.

Before being appointed to the chairman’s post at Chinese Estates last year, Lau had worked at Goldman Sachs.

Interestingly he does not seem to want to focus only on his family business. Lau was appointed to various other positions, including vice chairmanship at Ocean Park two years ago.

According to Chinese Estates’ annual report, its chairman didn’t show up for four ad hoc meetings of the firm and also missed a special shareholders’ meeting.

On Sunday, Lau appeared at a tap dance group performance show organized by Youth Outreach in Shatin, an event that Chief Secretary Carrie Lam also attended.

Lau said he picked up some tap dance moves after intense practice. His dialogue with the youth was also entertaining, with a participant referring to him as a “Male God”.

“Why did you join us? Do you know how to dance?” a member of the dance group asked.

Lau replied: “I was invited to join… I don’t know how to dance. I am 35, but I never dance.”

“Well, you rich second generation can have what you want,” a person remarked.

Lau then came up with this rejoinder: “Well, although we have a different upbringing, I am eager to know about youngsters. And through dancing, I can know a bit more about you.”

“My dancing is definitely not No.1, and perhaps someone would laugh at me forever watching this on YouTube. But at least I conquer my fears from the bottom of my heart.”

We’re sure the youth appreciated Lau’s humble gestures and remarks.

Still, it is doubtful if the young tycoon was able to dispel the common misgivings about our second-generation rich. 

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EJ Insight writer

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