One would think that Alex Shih, heir to the largest real estate agency in Hong Kong, might be a little peeved about the fact that he won’t inherit his dad’s portion of the Centaline Group agency, said to be worth in-and-around $400 million (USD), as his dad has donated his and his siblings portions to charities years ago.
While many offspring of tycoons within Hong Kong are handed over the family business as a certain point in their lives, Shih has come to accept that he would not be just given these opportunities; it’s something he and his other two siblings learnt from a young age. Their father let them know early on that he believed one shouldn’t live a comfortable life in one shot, and that his kids would treasure more things if they earned it one step at a time.
Still, Shih’s not doing too shabby for himself. At the beginning of 2019, he was named vice-chairman of Centaline, and is currently running the agency that handles about two of five property transactions in Hong Kong. He’ll become chairman soon enough when his dad, Wing-Ching Shih, 70 years of age retires; which is expected to happen shortly.
While the agency rolls out million-dollar deals daily, Shih is said to earn a regular salary, with his friends that chose the finance field earning more than him. His office is small, with humble décor, and while he came from the lap of luxury, he believes to be much like the average citizen in Hong Kong.
And perhaps it is because of his modest upbringing, and the fact that his father avoided elite schools for his children that sometimes are favored by the wealthy, where Shih has grown up so level-headed. He and his siblings attended government-subsidized schools in the area, and were raised learning that money should be used to help those in need.
In fact, his $400-million inheritance has been donated was given to a foundation that aims to eliminate poverty within rural China; from supporting education for under-privileged kids to building infrastructure.
According to Bloomberg, Shih began his career as a real estate agent when he first joined the family business, and like many other young professionals his age, living in a city that ranks as the least-affordable in the world, he’s still saving for his first home.
However, unlike some of his age, Shih is being realistic; looking for a small two-bedroom apartment to help him enter the real estate market.
Looks like despite growing up with wealthy, this young man remains grounded.
Dorathy has an economics minor from York University in Toronto, Ontario and worked for one of Canada’s largest banks. She will share her own financial tips and keep you updated on current finance news.