Quang Tri born Kieu Hoang among 25 newcomers on list of America's 400 richest people.
Vietnamese American Mr. Kieu Hoang, founder of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, is in 149th place in the Forbes 400 (the 400 richest Americans), with a net worth of $3.8 billion, and is the richest of the 25 newcomers to the list announced on September 29.
The bulk of Mr. Hoang’s wealth comes from his stake in the publicly-listed Shanghai RAAS, which he founded in 1992 after partnering with the Shanghai Blood Center in 1987. With $214 million in sales and an eye-popping $17.7 billion market capitalization, the company was ranked 20th on the Forbes Most Innovative Companies list and appeared on Forbes’ Asia’s 200 Best Under a Billion in 2015. He owns 35 per cent of the Shezhen-listed company and his wealth has more than tripled in the past year along with the company’s rise in value. The rest of Mr. Hoang’s wealth is in the Agoura Hills, California-based Rare Antibody Antigen Supply (RAAS), which he founded in 1985, and the winery he purchased and opened last year.
Mr. Hoang was born in 1944 in the village of Bich Khe in central Quang Tri province. His early childhood was spent barefoot and shirtless, with a machete in hand to chop down small trees for his mother. “Life was very difficult in those years,” he remembers. It got easier when he moved to then Saigon at the age of five to live with his uncle, Hoang Thi, a renowned Vietnamese composer. He helped Mr. Hoang through school, where he studied science at university for a year before the US War began. Having reached draft age, Mr. Hoang joined the US Special Forces as a “chief combat interpreter”. That experience, he says, gave him the self-reliance that would carry him through many of the other challenges in life, including building a plant for Shanghai RAAS in the early 1990s with little to no mechanical equipment.
Among the 24 newcomers to the Forbes 400 are 21 men and three women. Sixteen are self-made billionaires and the other seven inherited their wealth.