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Asia's titans: 10 Asian family businesses you should know about

Asian family businesses are not only making a difference to the sectors they operate in, but are also influencing the evolution of the family business model in AsiaCampdenFB takes a look at some of the fastest growing and most exciting.
Bakrie & Brothers headquarters in Jakarta

Asian family businesses are not only making a difference to the sectors they operate in, but are also influencing the evolution of the family business model in Asia. CampdenFB takes a look at some of the fastest growing and most exciting.



Bakrie & Brothers
• FAMILY: Bakrie
• SECTOR: Commodities, telecommunications and property
• COUNTRY: Indonesia

 Bakrie & Brothers started out as a general merchants in 1942 before branching out into steel pipe manufacturing. It is now one of the largest commodity trading conglomerates in Indonesia with interests in coal, infrastructure, agribusiness, oil and gas, telecommunications, property and metal.

Today it is co-chaired by second-gen brothers Nirwan and Indra Bakrie, sons of the firm’s founder Achmad. Scandals surrounding the financing and management of Bumi, Bakrie & Brothers’ coal subsidiary in partnership with the Rothschild family, has rocked the company in recent years, but its finances have since stabilised, and it reported revenues of IDR15.5 trillion (€1 billion) in 2012.

Coopers Brewery
• FAMILY: Cooper
• SECTOR: Brewing
• COUNTRY: Australia

Coopers Brewery is the last major family-owned brewery in Australia, and the incumbent generation has a legacy to maintain. Since its foundation by Thomas Cooper in 1862, the business has stuck to what it knows – brewing beer.

Although it hasn’t diversified, Coopers has continued to grow, with revenues increasing 7.6% from 2011 to 2012 to reach a record AUD$186.3 million (€130.3 million). Fifth-gen Tim Cooper currently heads the business, and many sixth-gens fill senior roles. At the beginning of the year Coopers undertook an AUD$20 million expansion project at its Adelaide headquarters to allow it to more than double its production capacity from 71 million to 134 million litres annually.

Daphne International
• FAMILIES: Chang and Chen
• SECTOR: Footwear, apparel and accessories
• COUNTRY: Hong Kong

Founded in 1987, footwear manufacturer and distributer Daphne International revealed first half profits of HKD$5.2 billion (€505 million) for 2013. Daphne is its core label, but it also owns several others and distribution rights for a number of international footwear brands. The company has close to 6,000 directly managed stores and almost 900 franchises.

Not one, but three families have a significant interest in the company with the largest stake (24%) held by the Chang family. The family of chairman and chief executive, Eddie Chen, also have a 9% stake. Another Chen family controls a further 10% and is represented on the board by cousins Tommy Chen and Ying-Chieh Chen.

DMCI Holdings
• FAMILY: Consunji
• SECTOR: Construction, real estate and commodities
• COUNTRY: The Philippines

DCMI Holdings founder David Consunji has been nicked named the “father of construction” in the Philippines, as his company has done more than most to transform the country’s skylines. Starting out in 1954, armed only with a truck and a cement mixer, his small building business grew into a vast conglomerate with subsidiaries in mining, real estate, power, water and, of course, construction.
The 91-year-old Consunji still serves as chairman, while his son Isidro is chief executive and several of his eight children hold senior positions in the company. It reported revenues of PHP51.7 billion (€886.3 million) in 2012, up from PHP47.8 billion in 2011.

Genting Group
• SECTOR: Resorts, gambling, plantations, power generation, oil and gas
• COUNTRY: Malaysia

The Genting Group story begins with a mountain resort opened in Malaysia in 1971. The company wanted to offer locals refuge from the summer heat, and the company has since expanded from leisure and hospitality to casinos, power generation and oil and gas exploration.

Led by Lim Kok Thay, the second son of founder Lim Goh Tong, the company saw its revenues more than double between 2009 and 2011 to MYR19,559 million (€4.6 billion). Its interests in hospitality and leisure are still very strong, and the company’s portfolio now includes 4,500 hectares of prime resort land, including its first flagship resort.

Hero MotoCorp
• FAMILY: Munjal
• SECTOR: Motorcycle and scooter manufacturer
• COUNTRY: India

Hero MotoCorp is already the largest two-wheeler manufacturing company in the world, a position it has held since 2001, but that has not stopped it developing bold expansion plans. Earlier this year it celebrated the production of its 50 millionth vehicle and hopes to double that by 2020. In that same year it also plans to be operational in 50 countries.

Founded in 1984, the company is part of Hero Group – established by the four Munjal brothers in the 1950s, a few years after the partition of India. Its two-wheelers proved popular in India due to their low price and fuel economy and their popularity continues today – for the 2012 financial year its total income was INR23,944 crore (€2.9 billion), up 21.6% on the previous year.

Murugappa Group
• FAMILY: Vellayan
• SECTOR: Cycles, insurance, fertilisers, sugar, automotive parts
• COUNTRY: India

Founded in 1900, Murugappa Group is one of India’s oldest family businesses, with fourth-gen Arunachalam Vellayan currently at the helm. It started in Burma as a money lending operation, but during the Japanese invasion in World War II, the family was forced to flee to India. Since then it has diversified into fertilisers, sugar, cement, real estate, engineering and insurance.

Between 2009, when Vellayan took over from his uncle, and 2011 the company saw its revenues grow 64%. Among the company’s top performing businesses are Coromandel International, one of the largest producers of fertilisers in the country, and TI Cycles – the second-largest maker of bicycles in India. In 2013 it saw turnover of INR22466 crore (€2.7 billion).

New World Development
• FAMILY: Cheng
• SECTOR: Property, infrastructure and telecommunications
• COUNTRY: Hong Kong

New World Development, based in Hong Kong, saw its revenues increase 28% year-on-year in 2012, to HK$24.5 billion (€2.3 billion). Founded in 1970, the property and infrastructure company’s latest large-scale developments include Hong Kong residential properties The Signature and The Riverpark.

At the helm is chairman Henry Cheng who succeeded his father and company founder, Cheng Yu-tung, last year following 13 years as managing director. Cheng takes a philosophical approach to business, referencing German phenomenologist Edmund Husserl in his statement to shareholders this year.

Other appointments in last year’s succession shake up included third-gen family member Adrian Cheng, who became joint general manager, and his sister Sonia, who was appointed to the post of executive director.

Taihan Electric Wire
• FAMILY: Sull
• SECTOR: Telecommunications, wiring and cables
• COUNTRY: South Korea

Taihan Electric Wire built its fortunes manufacturing different types of electric wire and cable for the various industries that fuel South Korea’s economy including power, telecommunications and heating.

Controlled by the Sull family, descendants of Taihan’s founder Sull Won-Ryang, the businesses saw revenues of KRW2 trillion (€1.4 billion) in 2012. It was founded in 1955 in the aftermath of the Korean War, coinciding with Korea’s economic boom. Revenues have dipped in recent years due to stagnation in the South Korean economy, but in the future Taihan is looking to drive growth through the development of its fibre optic and communications-related products.

Tat Hong Holdings
• SECTOR: Crawler and mobile crane rental
• COUNTRY: Singapore

Tat Hong Holdings, controlled by the Ng family, saw astonishing growth of 67% for the financial year ended 31 March 2013, reporting revenues of SGD$836.9 million (€495.7 million). The company feels there is reason for further optimism, with chief executive Roland Ng saying increased urbanisation in China and a huge pipeline of infrastructure and power generation projects would support growth momentum. The company, established in the 1970s, is already the number one crane owning company in the Asia Pacific region and the number one crawler crane company in the world. It serves industries such as infrastructure, oil and gas, resources, construction and engineering sectors across Asia, Australia and China.

Images copyrighted to Newscom/ Reuters

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