Robert Kuok: A Journey from a Migrant to Sugar King

They say,” When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” so did Robert Kuok when his family shifted base from China to Malayan. Being the youngest of the three brothers, after completion of his education, he started work as an office boy in Japan-controlled rice trading Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha. After the rice-trading business and marketing in the company, when Japan retreated, Robert seized the chance to start his own rice-trading company.

Kuok and his two brothers founded Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd in 1949, trading agricultural commodities further expanding it into many avenues including sugarcane plantations, sugar refineries, flour milling, animal feed, oil, mining, finance, hotel, property, trading, freight, and publishing. Owing to his good relations with the Japanese, he co-founded a company with few of his Japanese friends as well.

Due to his heavy investments in sugar and its products all around India as well as Asia, he was called, ‘Sugar King Of Asia’. Robert then went on to broaden his horizons in real estate and acquiring land to build his first Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. His companies have investments in many countries, including Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Fiji, and Australia. Owing to such a large empire, he played a catalyst to bind China and Malaysia together. On the other hand, Kuok’s freight interests include Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad and Transmile Group. His largest stake of wealth derived after a dealership with Wilmar International making them the largest processor of edible palm oil globally. Robert Kuok currently resides in Hong Kong, married two times, and blessed with eight children.