Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Billionaires: Chinese 24-year-old is given $3.8bn in shares by his parents​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

In our latest fortnightly roundup, Eric Tse becomes an overnight billionaire and Lebanon’s richest man is indicted

The founder of Sino Biopharmaceutical and his wife are transferring about a fifth of the company’s share capital to their son Eric Tse. Photo: Instagram
The founder of Sino Biopharmaceutical and his wife are transferring about a fifth of the company’s share capital to their son Eric Tse. Photo: Instagram

Eric Tse

One of China’s richest families gave their 24-year-old son a $3.8 billion (Dh13.9bn) gift, turning him into a billionaire overnight.

The founder of Sino Biopharmaceutical and his wife are transferring about a fifth of the company’s share capital to their son Eric Tse.

The grant of 2.7 billion shares, detailed in a Hong Kong exchange filing last week, adds to a tsunami of Asian wealth that’s being passed down to the next generation. In 2018, four Chinese tycoons placed more than $17bn into family trusts, while many of Hong Kong’s biggest developers are engaged in succession planning. One major advantage is that Hong Kong has no tax on gifts or inherited wealth.

The son of Tse Ping and Cheng Cheung Ling, Eric Tse was born in Seattle, attended primary school in Beijing and secondary school in Hong Kong, then graduated with a finance degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He established the China Summit Foundation, a charitable organisation that supports education and cultural initiatives, and was a Schwarzman Scholar at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

Eric is also active on Instagram, where he shares photographs of himself parasailing and partying with the pop star Rihanna. Other selfie-mates include model Bella Hadid, basketball star Yao Ming and Monaco’s Princess Charlene. His most recent post is from Beijing, where he attended the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

He made clear though that he’ll try to keep a low profile and “will endeavour not to participate” in efforts by news organisations to include him individually on global wealth rankings, and would recommend instead that the fortune be ascribed to “the Tse Ping family,” according to a statement.

Outside of his parents, that includes older sister Theresa. The combined value of Sino Biopharmaceutical shares held by the four is about $8.5bn, Bloomberg calculations show.

Sino Biopharmaceutical also named Eric an executive director and member of the company’s executive board committee, effective the same day. His compensation is set at HK$3.9 million (Dh1.83m) a year, plus discretionary bonuses.

Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank (right) and president and chief operating officer Patrik Frisk (left) in Dubai in March. Mr Frisk will replace Mr Plank as CEO January 1. Leslie Pableo / The National
Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank (right) and president and chief operating officer Patrik Frisk (left) in Dubai in March. Mr Frisk will replace Mr Plank as CEO January 1. Leslie Pableo / The National

Kevin Plank

Under Armour founder Kevin Plank is stepping aside as head of the company he started in his grandmother’s basement, with the hand-picked executive he brought in two years ago promising a “louder brand” for the athletic-apparel maker.

Patrik Frisk, Under Armour’s president since 2017, will become chief executive on January 1, the company said. Mr Plank, 47, will remain head of the board, taking the title of executive chairman.

The chief executive change comes at a logical time. Mr Plank led Under Armour through a multiyear restructuring that he’s called one of the most challenging periods for the company. Mr Frisk, an apparel industry veteran, came aboard in June 2017 to retool Under Armour’s distribution strategy and develop its long-term growth plan.

“It’s something that we’ve been working on for a while, really since Patrik joined here two and a half years ago,” Mr Plank said.

Mr Frisk, 56, has been in the apparel and footwear industry for more than three decades, including a three-year stint as chief executive of Aldo Group.

“As we turn the corner into 2020, what you’ll see from Under Armour is a louder brand,” Mr Frisk said. “We believe the transition now really sets us up to be able to have continuity in leadership, consistency in execution and ultimately enables us to win.”

Mr Plank has been chairman and chief executive of Under Armour since 1996. He also served two stints as company president, from 1996 to 2008, and again from 2010 to 2017. He’s overseen the company’s move to Baltimore — from a Washington row house owned by his grandmother — and its expansion into a multibillion-dollar business.

Under Armour went public in 2005 and experienced rapid growth, with sales increasing to $5bn in 2017 from $1.1bn in 2010. But increased competition at home has led to falling domestic sales — and little growth over the past two and a half years. The stock, once a high flier, fell a total of 65 per cent in 2016 and 2017.

Mr Plank has a net worth of $1.9bn, according to Forbes.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk is donating money to plant one million trees towards a global reforestation campaign. Photo: Reuters
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk is donating money to plant one million trees towards a global reforestation campaign. Photo: Reuters

Elon Musk

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk isn’t just rolling out electric cars, he’s planting trees too.

Mr Musk — who temporarily changed his Twitter name to “Treelon” — tweeted last week that he would donate money to plant one million trees after some of his followers encouraged him to join an environmental conservation initiative named Team Trees.

The Team Trees campaign, which aims to plant 20 million trees by 2022, was created by US YouTube content creator Jimmy Donaldson to mark a personal milestone of garnering 20 million subscribers on his channel. Mr Donaldson, known as “MrBeast” on the video-sharing platform, says one tree will be planted for every dollar donated.

Team Trees is the latest in a growing trend of young adults taking environmental matters into their own hands. They’ve got ready-made allies in tech billionaires like Mr Musk, 48, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, 42.

Mr Donaldson partnered with non-profit organisation Arbor Day Foundation on the reforestation project. The pledged trees will be planted throughout the year starting in January and will be completed no later than December 2022, according to the campaign website.

Their collective goal is to plant trees in forests in need on every continent except Antarctica. Planted at least 2.4 metres apart, they would cover a combined area more than twice the size of Manhattan, New York. Since launching on October 25, the social media campaign has received donations to plant almost eight million trees. Mr Donaldson’s original YouTube video has acquired almost 27 million views.

Updated: November 5, 2019 04:21 AM

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