Tycoon Payson Cha is reported to have passed away at age 77 due to a recurrence of pancreatic cancer, according to an account in Hong Kong’s Sing Tao daily.
Cha, who chaired developers Hong Kong Resorts International (HKRI) and Hanison Construction Holdings among other leadership positions, achieved reknown as the creator of Discovery Bay, a 649 hectare (1,603 acre) residential community on Lantau island, and was the son of local industrialist Cha Chi-ming, who passed away in 2007.
HKRI, Hanison, and other companies within the Cha family empire have yet to make any statements regarding the reports of the patriarch’s death, but are said to be preparing announcements for release on Monday. The Sing Tao report indicates that Cha passed away on Saturday, however, inquiries by Mingtiandi to HKRI representatives went unanswered at the time of publication.
A Lantau Empire
Among Hong Kong’s lower profile business kingpins, Cha became a member of HKRI’s board in 1989, some 16 years after the developer was founded. As eldest son of HKRI’s founder Cha Chi-ming, Payson Cha became deputy chairman of the developer of Discovery Bay in 2001 and succeeded to the top role in 2007.
In addition to running HKRI, Payson Cha led Hong Kong-listed Hanison Construction, which specialises in redevelopment of commercial properties in Hong Kong, as chairman since 2001.
Apart from real estate, Cha was also chairman of HKEX-listed Million Hope Industries, a manufacturer of building materials established in 1990. The real estate baron also served as trustee of Oregon State University where he achieved a bachelor’s degree before becoming a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University’s business school.
In addition to his executive responsibilities, Payson Cha served as a board member of Eagle Asset Management, which manages Champion REIT, as well as holding a seat on the REIT’s board. Cha also held a non-executive, independent director’s position on the board of New World Development.
A former member of mainland political advisory body the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, Payson Cha is estimated to have had a personal net worth of around HK$4.7 billion ($606 million) at the time of his death, based on the value of shares held in listed companies.
Cha is known to have been treated for pancreatic cancer at Stanford University Medical Center in 1999. The illness is said to have recurred this year with Cha having travelled to the US in recent months for treatment.
In mainland China Cha’s HKRI is known for its partnership with Swire Properties in developing the HKRI commercial project on Shanghai’s West Nanjing Road, and the company also controls the Sukhothai Hotel chain.