Comics artist Ma Wing-shing, famous for his works such as The Chinese Hero and Wind and Cloud series, is also a savvy investor. He owns over 30 properties and his personal wealth is estimated to be at least a couple of billion Hong Kong dollars.
Ma started to produce The Chinese Hero series when he was 20. At the age of 23, sales of his comic books surpassed those of his boss, Wong Yuk-long, often referred to as the godfather of Hong Kong comics.
Wong disclosed in 1989 that Ma was already earning HK$6 million a year at the time.
Back then, one could own a two-bedroom flat in Taikoo Shing for only HK$1 million, which means Ma could buy six of those flats with his income.
Ma later started his own studio and produced the even more popular comics series Wind and Cloud, further boosting his wealth.
Though Wong was able to build his own business empire and successfully had it listed, he then suffered badly from his stock investments, and was put behind bars for four years after he was found guilty of embezzling HK$30 million from his listed company.
Wong managed to stage a comeback in 1993, but Ma was already far ahead of him in terms of personal wealth.
The two stars of Hong Kong comics have very different personalities and approaches to wealth management.
Wong is said to be more into short-term trading, with a tendency to overlook risks and become too optimistic at times.
Ma invests in both properties and stocks, but mostly properties.
The only two stocks he holds at the moment are HSBC Holdings (00005.HK) and the Hong Kong Tracker Fund (02800.HK). One probable reason for his focus on properties is the fact that he also dabbles in interior design as a hobby.
Ma regards each of his property holdings as a long-term investment.
He only buys properties that he likes. “Not everybody can catch the best timing, and I never aim to fish the bottom. The only thing I care is whether it’s worth it or not,” he said.
His ability to remain calm and patient has enabled him to land bargain deals from time to time. He bought a luxury house at Severn 8 on the Peak for HK$76 million right after the 2008 financial crisis. Now the value of that house has already more than doubled.
He was also able to sail through difficult times, such as in 1997, 2003 and 2008, thanks to the stable cashflow from his own business and previous investments.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 18
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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