Joseph Lau is a Hong Kong businessman and entrepreneur. He is currently the Chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company primarily involved in property investment and development
Lau was born on July 21, 1951, in the city of Canton (now Guangzhou), China. He started his career in the garment industry in Hong Kong in the 1970s. He directed his focus to the property market in the 1980s, where he gained considerable success. In 1985, he founded Chinese Estates Holdings, which has since become one of Hong Kong's leading property developers.
Lau has also invested in a range of other industries, including media and entertainment. In 1999, he acquired a majority stake in Next Media, a Hong Kong-based media company, which publishes several popular newspapers and magazines, including Apple Daily. In recent years, Lau has also been involved in the art world, amassing a large collection of valuable works and making high-profile purchases at auctions.
Lau is one of Hong Kong's wealthiest people, with a net worth of over US$16 billion as of 2021, according to Forbes. He is known for his extravagant lifestyle, including his collection of luxury cars, yachts, and private jets. Despite his wealth, Lau is also known for his philanthropy. He has donated large sums to charitable causes in Hong Kong and beyond.
Lau has been involved in several high-profile legal battles over the years, including disputes over property ownership and business deals. In 2012, Joseph Lau was charged with bribery and money laundering for allegedly offering HK$20 million to Macau's former public works chief in exchange for winning the bid for five plots of land. Lau was sentenced to five years and three months in prison in 2014. However, the entrepreneur appealed the decision. In 2015, the Court of Second Instance rejected his appeal, and Lau remains a fugitive, having evaded extradition due to the lack of an extradition treaty between Macau and Hong Kong.
In 2014, Joseph Lau made headlines when he purchased a rare blue diamond for a record-breaking US$48.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva. The purchase made the diamond, which was subsequently renamed the "Blue Moon of Josephine," one of the most expensive gems ever sold.