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Not yet 25 and already a billionaire, thanks to parents’ gift

HONG KONG (Oct 25): If you were slogging away to make sure you make enough to cover this month’s rent, you might want to consider skipping this news.

A silver spoon-fed son has just been gifted with US$3.8 billion (RM15.94 billion), and it wasn’t even his birthday. The overnight billionaire is only 24.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the founder of China’s Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, Tse Ping and his wife are transferring 2.7 billion shares, which is about a fifth of the company’s share capital, to their son Eric Tse on Tuesday. Effective the same day, Eric was also named an executive director and member of the company’s executive board committee, with an annual remuneration of HK$3.9 million (RM2.08 million), plus discretionary bonuses.

He also holds the director position in at least five other company boards in Hong Kong, “including Charoen Pokphand Skyland Group Ltd, a firm that uses the name of the conglomerate of Thailand’s richest family”.

Sino Biopharmaceutical stated the purpose of the share transfer is “to refine the management and inheritance of the family’s wealth”. Tse Ping, who has been a national committee member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s top political advisory body, will remain president of the firm.

Eric’s shares will be held via holding companies Thousand Eagles Ltd and British Virgin Islands-based Remarkable Industries Ltd.

The grant is one of the latest in a deluge of dough being handed over to future heirs in Asia. Last year, four Chinese tycoons placed more than US$17 billion into family trusts, while several major Hong Kong developers are working on succession plans. A significant benefit in Hong Kong is that gifts or inherited wealth is not taxable.

Eric was born to Tse Ping and Cheng Cheung Ling in Seattle. His primary and secondary education were in Beijing and Hong Kong respectively. He holds a finance degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and was a Schwarzman Scholar at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. He supports education and cultural initiatives through his charitable organisation named China Summit Foundation.

His Instagram shares include shots of him parasailing and partying with Rihanna, and selfies with model Bella Hadid, basketball star Yao Ming and Monaco’s Princess Charlene. The latest post shows him attending the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.

However, the statement said that Eric will try to keep a low profile and “will endeavor not to participate” in individual global wealth rankings by media establishments, preferring instead for the fortune to be ascribed to “the Tse Ping family”, which besides his parents, also includes his older sister Theresa.

Bloomberg calculates the combined value of Sino Biopharmaceutical shares held by the four to be about US$8.5 billion.

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